Mason, Tom; Mason-Whitehead, Elizabeth; Thomas, Mike (Blackwell, 2009)
Special observations in psychiatric practice may create tensions for both the patient under surveillance and the staff undertaking the procedure. This study reports on special observations undertaken in forensic settings focusing specifically on the gender sensitive issues. The aim of the study was to investigate the specific gender issues relating to special observations in relation to those under the procedure and those engaged in observing. Three medium secure units in the UK formed the sampling frame, and the population studied was eight female and seven male clinical Registered nurses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, audio tape recorded and transcribed for analysis. The analysis involved a Grounded Theory approach to explicate categories and formulte two overarching themes: (1) the psychosocial fusion; and (2) the private as spectacle. There are implications for practice in relation to policy formulation and the implementation of special observations following risk assessment and individual skill identification. It is concluded that gender issues are extremely important for all concerned in this intrusive practice.
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