Ethical issues experienced by mental health nurses in the administration of antipsychotic depot and long acting intramuscular injects: A qualitative study

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The ethical issues experienced by mental health nurses in administering antipsychotic depot and long-acting intramuscular injections (LAI) were explored in the present study. Mental health nurses face ethically-difficult situations when administering these medications. A phenomenological research method guided by Max van Manen's human science approach describes and interprets the ethical issues involved in performing the procedure. Purposive and snowball sampling was used to select eight participants from two mental health hospitals. Semistructured interviews were carried out to collect data. A thematic analysis was conducted on the data. The four main themes that emerged from the analyses were: (i) lack of alternatives; (ii) safety; (iii) feeling uncomfortable; and (iv) difficulty maintaining the therapeutic relationship. The findings suggest that mental health nurses face ethical challenges in administering LAI. The findings raise much needed awareness of the need for mental health nurses and nurse educators to consider the ethical issues experienced while performing the procedure. There is a need for nurse education providers and organizations to provide opportunities for mental health nurses to address their ‘lived experiences’. Educational courses are needed to equip mental health nurses with the technical and critical thinking skills to administer safe and effective antipsychotic depot and LAI.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date14 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015