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Forensic mental health nursing, nurse education, systematic review, trauma-informed care



  1. Maguire, Donna MSc


Background: Engaging in trauma-informed approaches in nonforensic mental health settings improves therapeutic relationships, promotes healing, promotes posttraumatic growth, improves staff well-being, and fosters hope and empowerment, yet little is known of its influences in forensic settings. This literature review explores trauma-informed education and its training implications for nurses working in forensic mental health.


Method: Using a range of electronic databases, a systematic search of literature was carried out focusing on trauma-informed practice in adult forensic mental health settings. Before searching, predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria were agreed.


Findings: After duplication removal, abstract review, and full screening, nine articles met review criteria for inclusion. A thematic analysis of the literature identified two key themes: "education for trauma-informed practice" and "applying theory into practice." Each had several subordinate themes.


Implications for Forensic Practice: Organizations and their staff must recognize that operational change and ongoing training will be required. By adopting a trauma-informed approach, forensic mental health nurses can better understand their patients' traumatic experiences, improve their therapeutic relationships, and engage patients in collaborative care. Training in trauma-informed care should start with nurses who will change their personal practice and can support and train their colleagues.