Suicide in older people, attitudes and knowledge of emergency nurses: A multi-centre study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Emergency Nursing, 2019, 43 pp. 113 - 118
Issue Date:
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© 2019 Introduction: Suicide in older people is a public health concern. Emergency nurses are ideally placed to identify suicide risk. Therefore, the aim of this research was to explore emergency nurses’ knowledge, confidence and attitudes about suicide in older people. Methods: This descriptive exploratory study was conducted in four emergency departments in Sydney, Australia. Data were collected using a 28-item survey from a convenience sample of emergency nurses. Descriptive quantitative statistics and conventional content analysis were performed. Ethics approval was provided. Results: The response rate was 58% (n = 136); the majority were female with an average of seven years emergency experience. The majority (n = 124, 91%) reported that they frequently managed suicidal behaviour and recognized suicide as a common event (80%). 51% (n = 69) recognized that suicide was a common event for older people. Only 16% (n = 22) reported receiving suicide prevention training with 11% feeling confident in managing suicidal behaviour. Conclusion: The findings contribute to the discourse on how suicide in older people is recognised by emergency nurses. Few nurses considered it a problem for older people and were not confident about their knowledge. There is a need for suicide prevention training as a priority particularly to identify risks in older people.
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