Sample Essay on Patient’s Safety in Mental Health Nursing

Most of the general patient safety issues that are in the medical field apply to mental health nursing. However, the mental health department has several exclusive safety issues that vary from those in general medical health. The effects of isolation, self-injury actions and suicide, lack of self-support, escaping are very common to mental health patients. The patients’ population and the environment also make mental health nursing unique in addition to the diagnosis and the mental health setting. The subsequent segments are a discussion on the safety issues in the mental health nursing.

According to the National Patients Safety Agency (NPSA) report in the United Kingdom, in 2006, patients’ safetyoccasions that were frequently reported involved falling because of slips, escaping, hostility, self- harm and suicide. The others, although minor incidents, included mistreatment of patients and improper diagnosis. Further NPSA indicated that mental health nurses had ignored the emotional and psychological damages that always affect a mentally ill person. The report also revealed that mental health nurses pay much attention to the bodily illness and forget the psychological treatment that is significant to the patients.

The issue of patient’s freedom also causes an ethical dilemma in the mental health sector as the nurses have limited the patients human rights by locking patients in lonely units that cause them more psychological harm yet it is on the policies to lock those causing damage.

The most significant stage of patient’s safety is the diagnosis by the psychiatrist, as it may affect the medication and further the communication between the patient and the nurse to seek assistance may be limited by the mental condition of the patient is not stable. Due to fear of violence and damage, the nurses may also administer an excess dose of medicine to the patients to help in cooling them to allow communication.

The mental health departments need to improve the physical conditions in which the patients are subjected to, for example, there should be a female-only department to reduce the cases of sexual harassment, provision of enough and clean toilets and washing facilities, safe and spacious sleeping rooms (Elder, Evans & Nizette,2009).

According to Mental Health Act Commission, 2008, the patients’ sleeping rooms should have doors that allow the patient to lock from inside and allows health staff like nurses to access the rooms from outside. Where possible, these doors should be removable to avoid an obstruction in emergency times(Basavanthappa,2007).In addition, the mental health staff should be careful when dealing with mentally ill persons as they may cause violence and even attempt to rape the female nurses.

The rooms should have elevated ceilings, be quite and have proper illumination to reduce lighting in the case of violent actions. On minimizing instances of hanging, the rooms should have a limited opening to reduce chances of patients hanging themselves on the window. Nurses should also ensure that there are no fittings, such as curtains rails, open pipes, and others, in the patients’ rooms to reduce cases of self-harm and suicide(Vincent,2010).

Lack of proper communication strategies among nurses and between the health care, patients and the family members also worsens occasions of patients’ safety and mostly resulting to self- injury or even suicide.

According toVincent (2010),“for patient’s safety to improve in the mental health department, the patients, and the health staff needs to be examined in agreement with the occasions of patients’ safety”. It would assist in building a just society that will help mentally ill people access quality and safe care and not discriminate against mentally ill individuals hence avoiding the stigmatization of the people with mental illness.


Basavanthappa, B. T. (2007). Psychiatric mental health nursing. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers.

Elder, R., Evans, K., &Nizette, D. (2009).Psychiatric and mental health nursing. Sydney: Mosby Elsevier.

Vincent, C. (2010). Patient Safety. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.