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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 1993 Jan-Mar;14(1):67-84.

Promoting nursing students' positive attitudes toward providing care for suicidal patients.


Nurses may encounter patients who are suicidal in most clinical settings, yet many nurses report a negative attitude toward providing care for these patients. Nursing programs, in which students learn about suicide and develop skills in assessing and intervening with patients who are suicidal, are opportune settings for promoting a positive attitude toward providing care for suicide attempters. An experimental study compared the effectiveness of an interactive teaching strategy known as "structured controversy" with a lecture on promoting a positive attitude. A questionnaire based on Ajzen and Fishbein's (1980) theory of reasoned action was used to measure attitude, and was completed by 51 senior nursing students following a suicide class session. Students who had participated in structured controversy on suicide were significantly more positive on the stress/frustration factor extracted from a scale of attitude items. Students who had listened to the suicide lecture held significantly more positive beliefs about providing care for suicidal patients. Implications for education and practice are discussed.

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