Training needs analysis of nurses caring for individuals an intellectual disability and or autism spectrum disorder in a forensic service

Date25 January 2020
Published date25 January 2020
AuthorDominic Burke,Angela Cocoman
subjectMatterHealth & social care,Learning & intellectual disabilities,Offending behaviour,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Deviant behaviour,Education,Special education/gifted education,Emotional/behavioural disorders
Training needs analysis of nurses caring
for individuals an intellectual disability and
or autism spectrum disorder in a forensic
Dominic Burke and Angela Cocoman
Purpose Examining the education and training needs of forensic nurses is paramount as services
move from the older institutions to new care settings. The purpose of this study was to identify Irish
Forensic nurses perceived deficits in their knowledge and skills to assist them to provide effective
seamless care for individuals with an intellectual disability within their forensic mentalhealth service, so
that appropriatetraining could be provided.
Design/methodology/approach Training needs analysis (TNA) procedures are used as a way of
establishing thecontinuing processional development of staff,as they seek to identify the gaps between
the knowledgeand skills of an individual and the need for further training. A trainingneeds tool developed
by Hicks and Hennessy (2011)was used and completed by nurses working in an Irish forensic mental
healthservice. A total of 140 surveys were circulated and 74 were completed(51 per cent response).
Findings The top prioritytraining needs identified were for additionaltraining in research and audit and
in the use of technology. Other self-identified training needs included additional training in behavioural
management for challengingbehaviour, understanding mentalhealth and intellectual disability and dual
diagnosis, training in enhancing communication skills and how to work with patients who have an
intellectual disabilitypatients specific training on autistic spectrum disorders anda guide and template
for advance individual care planning and for caring for the physical health needs and promoting the
physicalhealth needs of these patients.
Originality/value Despite there being a vast rangeof training issues identified, the majority of nurses
appear to have a clearidea of their training needs to ensure the provisionof seamless care for individuals
with an intellectual disabilitywithin a forensic mental health setting. This TNA has identified the specific
needs of nursing staff working at different positions across the interface of intellectual disability and
forensicmental health care.
Keywords Training needs analysis, Forensic nursing, Mental health, Intellectual disability,
Autism spectrum disorders
Paper type Technical paper
Background to forensic care in Ireland
Ireland has just one forensic hospital formally called the Central Mental Hospital (CMH)
which was established in 1850 to provide for the detention in custody of persons indicted
and acquitted on the grounds of insanity at the time of commission of the crime (Brennan,
2006). This Victorian hospital provides 84 beds and is the national forensic mental health
service for a population of approximately 4.8 million. Currently, the primary nursing
qualification to work in this Irish forensic service is that of Registered Psychiatric Nurse;
Dominic Burkea is
employed a clinical nurse
specialist in the Irish Health
Service Executive, Dublin,
Ireland. Angela Cocoman is
a lecturer at the School of
Nursing, Psychotherapy
and Community Health,
Dublin City University,
Dublin, Ireland.
Received 29 October 2019
Revised 18 December 2019
Accepted 21 December 2019
The authors wish to thank the
Director of Nursing and
management team who
facilitated this study and to
nurses those who participated
to this TNA.
DOI 10.1108/JIDOB-10-2019-0024 VOL. 11 NO. 1 2020, pp. 9-22, ©Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2050-8824 jJOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES AND OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR jPAGE 9

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