Violence Risk Assessment in Forensic Nurses’ Clinical Practice: A Qualitative Interview Study

  •  Helén Olsson    
  •  Lisbeth Kristiansen    


BACKGROUND: The legislation of Swedish forensic psychiatric care states that the risk of further violence must be assessed before a patient is granted release from a forensic psychiatric hospital. The aim of the study was to describe the experiences of forensic nurses with in-patient risk assessment processes, and their implication for daily clinical forensic praxis.

METHOD: Semi-structured interviews with staff who were involved in the patients risk assessment process. The interview texts were analyzed using qualitative latent content analysis.

DISCUSSION: The forensic nursing staff has to deal with many contradictory realities. The description was about being able to balance between supporting their work with an EBP approach of risk assessment while trying to establish interpersonal relationships and to allow for positive meetings with the patient. The study indicated that staff used a multiple sources of knowledge in order to make credible and accurate risk assessments.

CONCLUSIONS: If the risk assessment process are to be used in a legally secure manner, the staff must receive regular support from team leadership that can provide both guidance and training. Based on a holistic approach, the link between the instinct of staff and their work with structured risk assessment must be founded on routines and solid platforms.

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