Mental Health Nurses’ Experiences of Risk Assessments for Care Planning in Forensic Psychiatry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The risk of patients committing violence implies major challenges throughout the care process in forensic psychiatry and brings risk assessments to the fore. The aim was to explore nurses’ experiences of risk assessments for their care planning and risk management in forensic psychiatry. Data were collected through focus groups with 15 nurses. The qualitative content analysis followed a deductive approach guided by the person-centered philosophy. When exploring nurses’ reasoning on risk assessment, units related to person-centered principles were identified. The findings showed that nurses made great efforts to confirm the unique person behind the patient, even when challenged by patients’ life histories of violence. They also regarded therapeutic alliance as crucial, although this needed to be balanced between caring and restricting actions. A fruitful strategy to preserve therapeutic alliance may be to increase the use of a structured focus on protective factors in treatment plans towards promoting recovery-oriented policies and practices.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing
  • Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


  • care planning, forensic psychiatry, Person-centered care, qualitative content analysis, risk assessment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Issue number2
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch