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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2002 Apr;9(2):199-209.

HOVIS -- The Hertfordshire/Oxfordshire Violent Incident Study.

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West Herts Community Health NHS Trust, St Albans, Oxford, UK.


Violence in psychiatric inpatient units is a major and growing problem. Research interest has primarily focussed on patient characteristics. The role of staff factors and the antecedents of violent incidents has been neglected, despite the fact that staff factors and behaviour may be more readily amenable to change than patient characteristics. The HOVIS study sought to obtain the views of a sample of mental health nurses in current clinical practice about staff-related factors, which they perceive to contribute to, or protect against, the occurrence of violent incidents. A total of 108 nurses working in psychiatric acute admission, intensive care and low secure units, in two NHS Trusts were interviewed using a specially designed semistructured interview schedule. These nurses identified a variety of behaviours, clinical skills, personal characteristics and interpersonal skills that they believe impact on the occurrence of violent incidents. These findings are discussed in relation to their possible training and managerial implications.

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