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  1. McCain, Michelle MSN, RN,BC, FNP
  2. Kornegay, Kathryn PhD, RN, CARN-AP


Psychiatric nurses are faced with the challenge of using behavioral health restraints to ensure client safety while following changing policies and procedures regarding restraint use. This phenomenological study examined how eight seasoned psychiatric nurses experienced the therapeutic use of physical behavioral health restraint in their current practice settings. Data collected by audiotaped interviews were analyzed using qualitative methodology. Eight themes emerged from the analysis of the nurses' experiences that described the beliefs that use of behavioral health restraints should be resorted to only after less restrictive measures, safely implemented, failed to control potentially harmful behavior, avoided through early recognition and the subsequent implementation of less restrictive interventions. Furthermore, the participants believed that behavioral health restraint should never be employed in a punitive manner and being involved in a therapeutic restraint incident is a painful experience for clients and staff.