Suicide Assessment and Nurses: What Does the Evidence Show?

Bolster, Cindy; Holliday, Carrie; Oneal, Gail; Shaw, Michelle
January 2015
Online Journal of Issues in Nursing;Jan2015, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Suicide is at epidemic proportions both in the United States and across the globe. Yet, it is a preventable public health problem. Nurses practice on the front-lines and have the greatest number of opportunities to identify and intervene with suicidal patients. Most registered nurses (RNs) have little or no training in how to assess, evaluate, treat, or refer a suicidal patient. Because of this lack of training, RNs feel ill-prepared and afraid to talk to patients about suicide. The purpose of this article is to review the state of the science of suicide assessment training for nurses. Training RNs in how to assess, evaluate, treat, and refer a suicidal patient is key to suicide prevention. Research suggests that once RNs are trained in suicide assessment, they realize it is no different than assessing for any other type of illness and are then able to help those with suicidal tendencies. The article conclusion offers implications for education, research, and practice.


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