Nursing in secure mental healthcare settings

Geoffrey L. Dickens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter appraises the evidence for nursing care in secure mental health environments as a specialty branch of mental health nursing. It opens with a brief history of nursing in secure and forensic mental health settings in England, describes the claims made for specialist status and identifies the main definitions and theories of mental health nursing in secure care. The worldwide empirical research evidence about the distinguishing features of the role is reviewed. It is concluded that nursing in secure care requires specialist skills and knowledge related to security, risk, therapeutic activity and clinical specialism. However, nurses working in secure services share many key mental health nursing attributes with those working in mainstream mental health services. Shared characteristics include teamwork, communication and professional development. Core values of both include a recovery and equality focus and commitment to evidencebased practice. Nurses should utilise the best evidence from all settings to support their practice, adapting where necessary to meet the clinical and security needs of the diverse groups for whom they provide care.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of secure care
EditorsGeoffrey L. Dickens, Philip A. Sugarman, Marco M. Picchioni
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRCPsych Publications
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781909726369
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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