The impact of patients and student mental health nurses sharing time together in forensic units

Jones, Emma orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2153-2781, Wright, Karen Margaret orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0693-7294 and Mckeown, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0235-1923 (2024) The impact of patients and student mental health nurses sharing time together in forensic units. Journal of Forensic Nursing . ISSN 1556-3693

[thumbnail of AAM] PDF (AAM) - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 October 2024.


Official URL:


Student mental health nurses have greater patient contact than registered nurses, and this is appreciated by patients. This phenomenological study explored the impact of patients and student mental health nurses’ time shared on forensic units for men carrying a personality disorder diagnosis. Phenomenology was the underpinning philosophy of this research. Patients and student mental health nurses in forensic hospitals participated in unstructured hermeneutic interviews. The time students and patients shared together was considered a gift, enabling them to feel that they were ‘just people’ and valued, strongly impacting on their sense of person. The impact the students have on patients’ quality of life is meaningful. When the students and patients connected, it had powerful implications for their sense of humanness and value, highlighting the reciprocal impact they each have on another and the importance of having student nurse clinical placements in forensic wards and facilities.
Implications for Clinical Forensic Nursing Practice: This article offers a unique contribution to forensic practice by exploring the experiences of the time patients and students share together in forensic units. Students, who often have the greatest contact with patients, represent the present and future of nursing, and their time is appreciated by patients. Previous research focuses on attitudes and therapeutic relationships, rather than the impact of shared contact. In addition to this, patients in forensic services with personality disorder diagnoses can be the most stigmatised group in mental health care and exploration of their experiences is lacking. These experiences must be shared.

Repository Staff Only: item control page