This study aimed to enhance the conceptual understanding of the working alliance in the context of nursing care for people experiencing suicidal ideation.
A qualitative study based on grounded theory was conducted.
Two authors conducted individual semi‐structured interviews from September 2017–January 2019. Twenty‐eight nurses in 13 wards of four psychiatric hospitals participated. The Qualitative Analysis Guide of Leuven was used to support constant data comparisons and the cyclic processes of data collection and data analysis.
The nurses’ perspectives revealed that the working alliance can be understood as an interpersonal and collaborative relational process. This relational process highlighted the core variable ‘seeking connectedness and attunement with the person at risk of suicide’. The core variable underpinned three clusters: investing in the foundations of the working alliance, nourishing the clinical dimension of the working alliance and realizing an impact with the working alliance.
This study highlights the importance for nurses to assess, evaluate and respond to persons’ suicidal ideation in harmony with a commitment to connect with them and attune to their perspective.
The relational process uncovered through this study offers valuable insights to support advanced nursing practice, where nurses meaningfully integrate relational elements of care with their contributions to suicide prevention and treatment.