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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2014, Article ID 905741, 10 pages
Research Article

Mental Health Nurses’ Experiences of Caring for Patients Suffering from Self-Harm

1Lovisenberg Diaconal University College, Oslo, Norway
2The Department of Health and Care Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, The Artic University of Norway, Norway
3Faculty of Health Sciences, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, Norway

Received 29 June 2014; Accepted 23 October 2014; Published 13 November 2014

Academic Editor: Maria Helena Palucci Marziale

Copyright © 2014 Randi Tofthagen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study was to explore mental health nurses’ experiences of caring for inpatients who self-harm during an acute phase. The setting was four psychiatric clinics in Norway. Fifteen mental health nurses (MHNs) were recruited. Semistructured interviews comprised the method for data collection, with content analysis used for data analysis. Two main categories emerged: challenging and collaborative nurse-patient relationship and promoting well-being through nursing interventions. The underlying meaning of the main categories was interpreted and formulated as a latent theme: promoting person-centered care to patients suffering from self-harm. How MHNs promote care for self-harm patients can be described as a person-centered nursing process. MHNs, through the creation of a collaborative nurse-patient relationship, reflect upon nursing interventions and seek to understand each unique patient. The implication for clinical practice is that MHNs are in a position where they can promote patients’ recovery processes, by offering patients alternative activities and by working in partnership with patients to promote their individual strengths and life knowledge. MHNs strive to help patients find new ways of living with their problems. The actual study highlighted that MHNs use different methods and strategies when promoting the well-being of self-harm patients.