Challenges faced by inpatient child/adolescent psychiatric nurses

J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2008 Feb;46(2):21-4. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20080201-04.


Inpatient nurses work to engineer an environment in which patients and staff are physically and psychologically safe. A recent research study on an adult psychiatric unit examined the dimensions involved in keeping the unit safe. The four dimensions included ideology, people (staff and patients), space, and time. In this article, we discuss how these dimensions apply to real-world efforts to keep child and adolescent inpatient units safe. We also discuss the challenges nurses face within each of these safety dimensions, including those arising from fluctuating acuity, staffing formulas, surveillance of physical space, and entrenched unit cultures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Psychiatry / organization & administration*
  • Adolescent, Hospitalized / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Psychiatry / organization & administration*
  • Child, Hospitalized / psychology
  • Clinical Competence
  • Health Facility Environment / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Inpatients* / psychology
  • Interior Design and Furnishings
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Organizational Culture
  • Personal Space
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Philosophy, Nursing
  • Psychiatric Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • Time Management
  • Total Quality Management / organization & administration