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Suicide Assessment by Psychiatric Nurses

The article is qualitative research, as evidenced by the fact that there is no evidence of statistical data analysis. Indeed, the research is based on suicidal assessments, something that is hard to measure empirically. Its analysis is done in a narrative form or in words, as opposed to the use of numerical data.

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Published in 2010, the article titled, ‘Suicide Assessment by Psychiatric Nurses: A Phenomenographic Study’ was published in the Journal of Issues in Mental Health Nursing. John Aflague and Ginette Ferszt are the authors of the article. Its aim entails describing “How psychiatric nurses conceptualize suicide assessment using phenomenography” (Aflague & Ferszt, 2010, p.255). This aim stems from the fact the authors identified a gap in past researches that have not included nurses in suicide assessment studies. Therefore, they seek to seal this gap.

Every research in any discipline of study, including nursing, is designed to resolve a certain problem. In the case of Aflague and Ferszt (2010) research, the main problem is that past research in nursing literature lacks nurses’ inclusion in the studies on suicidal assessment.

This situation suggests that nurses have not been regarded as likely agents who can participate in the prevention of suicidal ideation or even committing suicide among people who seek treatment in primary care facilities, yet they are always in direct contact with such patients. The authors note the intensity of this challenge since they reckon that a large proportion of people seek care from primary health amenities before proceeding to psychiatric medical facilities. Therefore, nurses are important in the successful prevention of suicide through their assessments.

The article reckons different approaches to the assessment of suicidal behavior adopted by psychiatric nurses. However, the authors note that the phenomenographic approach to such evaluation has not been studied before. Therefore, the purpose of the research is to study how this approach can be deployed to successfully appraise suicidal behavior in mental care nursing settings.

Qualitative research may be designed to take different approaches, including phenomenological, grounded theory, or ethnographical techniques. Aflague and Ferszt’s (2010) research has adopted the phenomenological design. The researchers collect data from participants while paying attention to ensuring that their preconceived ideas do not influence their interpretation of the data. Although this attribute may be shared by research that is designed to uphold the grounded theory, Aflague and Ferszt’s (2010) study involves not only interviews but also observations and audiotaped data. Nevertheless, the specific focus of the researchers is on the data acquired from the participants’ life experiences.

Research methodology describes the design, data collection, sampling, and analysis approaches. Aflague and Ferszt’s (2010) research is designed as an inductive qualitative study, which is descriptive in nature. It uses the approaches of phenomenology. The participants of the research include nurses of psychiatric mental healthcare recruited through the snowball sampling technique. It uses only a sample size of six nurses. Data collection was conducted through interviews, observations, and audio-tapings. The seven-step approach to phenomenological research developed by Martons was deployed in the data analysis.

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The inclusion and exclusion criterion for data acquired through observation for use in the analysis is based on the participant’s age, ability to speak English, and competency to provide consent in case the researchers are required to make observations of nurses as they attend to their patients. Indeed, the researcher could only agree to observe a nurse attending a patient in case such an individual (patient) was not only above 18 years old but also met the other two requirements. The researchers also took adequate measures to protect the identity of the participants through pseudonyms.

After completing the research, Aflague and Ferszt (2010) confirm the existence of variations in suicide assessments among nurses. They suggest the need for a normative theory to prepare nurses for gaining an in-depth understanding of suicide assessment. They propose the establishment of educational programs that can help to prepare undergraduate students in psychiatric nursing to adopt the best practices in the suicidal assessment as one of the critical determinants of successful suicidal prevention.

Reference List

Aflague, J., & Ferszt, G. (2010). Suicide assessment by psychiatric nurses: A phenomenographic study. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 31(1), 248-256.

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