Psychiatric Nurses’ Perceptions about Physical Restraint; A Qualitative Study

Document Type: Original article


1 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Nursing, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences (USWR), Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Nursing Management, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: The use of physical restraint as an intervention in the care of psychiatric patients dates back to the beginning of psychiatry. Although it is a challenging question, it is still one of the common procedures in psychiatry. Considering that very little research has been done in Iran in relation to physical restraint, this qualitative study aimed to investigate the experiences of nurses working in psychiatric wards regarding physical restraint. Methods: This qualitative study was done on 14 nurses working in the psychiatric hospitals of Ahvaz city, southern Iran, during 2011-2012. The participants were selected by purposive sampling. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection, which were continued until data saturation and emergence of themes. Inductive content analysis was used to analyze the data.Results: Four categories emerged: (1) Restraint as a multi-purpose procedure, (2) Processing of physical restraint, (3) Restraint as a challenging subject and (4) The effects of restraint on the spectrum. Each category has several different sub-categories.Conclusion: The participants described using physical restraint as one of the main strategies to control psychiatric patients, and despite having negative consequences, it is extensively used. Given the risks and challenges of using physical restraint, nursing education should find alternative methods.