Nurses’ discourses of challenging behaviour in inpatient mental-health services [2018]

Nurses working in acute mental-health services are vulnerable to occupational stress. One stressor identified is the challenging behaviour of some service users (Jenkins and Elliott, 2004). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the discourses drawn on by nurses to understand challenging behaviour and talk about its management.

Nurses working on acute and psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) wards were interviewed, and data were analysed using discourse analysis.

Biomedical and systemic discourses were found to be dominant. Alternative psychosocial and emotional discourses were drawn on by some participants but marginalised by the dominant biomedical construction of challenging behaviour.

Existing studies have not considered how discourses socially construct challenging behaviour and its management in inpatient mental-health services.

Amy Mellow, Anna Tickle, David M. Gresswell, Hanne Jakobsen

Mental Health Review Journal, 2018