Attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and associated factors among nursing professionals: A quantitative study

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Abstract

Background

The attitudes towards suicide of emergency nurses may affect the care provided. However, the factors associated with these attitudes remain unclear.

Objective

To investigate attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and associated factors among nursing professionals working in emergency settings.

Methods

A cross-sectional observational study including 28 nurses and 118 who were nursing assistants employed at two emergency services in Brazil was conducted. Data were collected in 2015 using a self-administered sociodemographic questionnaire and the Suicide Behavior Attitude Questionnaire (SBAQ).

Results

The majority of participants reported having no experience or training in mental health or suicide. They reported more negative feelings towards the patient and a lower self-perception of professional competence regarding suicidal behaviours, and these attitudes seemed to reinforce each other. Nurses who worked in mental health services reported less moralistic/judgemental attitudes. Working in prehospital services was associated with having a lower self-perception of professional competence. There were professionals who reported thinking seriously about committing suicide.

Conclusion

When combined with support and training, practicing mental health nursing may serve as an opportunity to develop favourable attitudes and emotional competences, and these issues need to be addressed in suicide education strategies.

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