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Sch Inq Nurs Pract. 1990 Spring;4(1):65-82; discussion 83-6.

Violent psychiatric inpatients in a public hospital.


Violence in inpatient psychiatric settings is a clinically significant and relevant problem requiring attention by the psychiatric community. Despite the prevalence of research on violent behavior, few nursing studies have been conducted that explore the components of nursing care that may influence the amount of violence occurring in inpatient psychiatric settings. The purpose of the study was to identify the characteristics of violent patients and the components of nursing care that are related to violent patient behavior. A qualitative study was conducted using participant observation and grounded theory methodology. Data were collected in a metropolitan public hospital over a 9-month period. Six categories of violent patients were identified during data analysis: (1) the user, (b) the outlaw, (c) the rebel without a cause, (d) the little big man, (e) the child, and (6) the vamp. Implications of the study for clinicians working in inpatient psychiatric settings are discussed.

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