'Promoting positive and safe care in forensic mental health inpatient settings: Evaluating critical factors that assist nurses to reduce the use of restrictive practices and improve staff health and safety' event hosted by Forensic Mental Health Nurse SIG

Presenter: Lesley Barr

Lesley Barr has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years working in the United Kingdom and Australia (Victoria and Western Australia). She is passionate about nursing and has held senior nursing and managerial positions in correctional healthcare and public health. Lesley is a PhD student at Curtin University (Western Australia) and undertakes research in forensic mental health nursing with a specific focus on reducing restrictive/coercive practices and improving the mental health care for Aboriginal Australians.

Presentation Summary:

Patient aggression, which can lead to the use of seclusion and restraint, threatens the health and safety of staff in inpatient forensic mental health settings. Despite initiatives to address these occupational health issues, forensic mental health services continue to report high rates of aggression, seclusion and restraint. This research aimed to detail the findings of research that examined the experiences of nurses working in the inpatient forensic mental health setting and (i) document the experiences of nurses working in the forensic mental health setting, (ii) articulate their perceived unique skill set to manage challenging patient behaviours, and (iii) determine how their experiences and skill set can inform practice changes to reduce aggression and the use of restrictive practices. Thirty-two nurses were recruited from one Australian forensic mental health service. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed using inductive content analysis. Four categories were identified that influenced practice experiences: (i) working in a challenging but interesting environment, (ii) specialty expertise, (iii) exposure to aggression and resilience as a protective factor, and (iv) the importance of effective teamwork and leadership. Whilst high rates of aggression may be linked to the unique characteristics of forensic patients, training, teamwork, and leadership are critical factors influencing ward milieu and staff safety.


Wednesday 2 November 2022


6pm - 7pm (AEDT)




Free for members


1 CPD Point


Australian College of Mental Health Nurses event

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