Mental health nurses' PRN psychotropic medication administration practices

Usher, Kim J, Lindsay, David, and Sellen, Judith (2001) Mental health nurses' PRN psychotropic medication administration practices. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 8 (5). pp. 383-390.

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PRN psychotropic medications (medications given with the aim of changing the patient's mental state on an 'as needed' basis) are frequently prescribed and administered in mental health facilities. Their administration is largely an autonomous nursing role. However, little research has explored this important area of nursing practice in any detail and therefore the use of this intervention by mental health nurses is not fully understood. A descriptive project was undertaken to explore the factors involved in the administration of PRN psychotropic medications. It utilised a retrospective chart audit, conducted at one regional and one urban setting in Queensland, Australia. The results indicate a lack of clarity surrounding psychotropic PRN medication administration practices, confusion surrounding decision-making processes related to this intervention, and poor documentation practices. The study found a high incidence of PRN psychotropic medication administration when compared to similar studies, and an excessive reliance on the use of typical antipsychotics over benzodiazepines. This practice is not supported by contemporary literature. As a result of our findings, we recommend further studies in areas of related importance, in order to increase our understanding of the complexities surrounding this important nursing intervention, and an investigation into documentation practices in inpatient mental health settings.

Item ID: 779
Item Type: Article (UNSPECIFIED)
ISSN: 1365-2850
Keywords: Mental health, Nursing, PRN, Psychotropics
Additional Information:

Copyright 2001 Blackwell Publishing. The definitive version is available at

Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2006
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111005 Mental Health Nursing @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
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