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Nurse accuracy of recalling adverse psychiatric incidents

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Psychiatric nurses working with inpatients are accurate informants on adverse events, a small study by US researchers suggests.

The study, which involved 36 nurses, looked at how well they recalled physical restraint episodes and assaultive/aggressive episodes in a psychiatric city hospital inpatient setting in Archives of Psychiatric Nursing.

Philadelphia researchers found that despite differences in nurse characteristics, their recall was reliable. Most of the nurses recalled the exact number of events they had prospectively documented – 88% had reliable recall for physical restraint episodes at two weeks with 86% at four weeks, while 74% had reliable recall for assaultive/aggressive episodes at two weeks and 72% at four weeks.

‘Using verbal reports of nurses for adverse outcomes data is a feasible and reliable method,’ the authors said.

Archives of Psychiatric Nursing (2008) 22: 95-103

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