This study considered patients admitted to hospital following deliberate self-poisoning. The characteristics of the patients and the outcomes of assessments by trainee psychiatrists and a mental health nurse were compared.
There were no significant differences in the outcome of 68 assessments performed by a trainee psychiatrist and 77 by a mental health nurse. The nurse assessment service was well-received by the poisons unit, a medical ward specialising in overdose treatment, and trainee psychiatrists.
Psychosocial assessments following self-poisoning can be provided by appropriately trained and supervised mental health nurses. The introduction of a nurse-led service should enhance relationships with the local poisons unit and reduce the workload of junior doctors without compromising their training needs.
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