Evidence-based Suicide Screening and Prevention Protocol for Licensed Nursing Staff

Rose Zhang



Suicide is a serious public health crisis that affects over 1,000,000 adults in the U.S every year.

Suicide rates are rising, and it is a major problem encountered by licensed nursing staff working in psychiatric settings. On estimate, there are 1,500 suicide deaths on inpatient psychiatric units each year in the U.S. A third of these patients are on every 15-minute checks or one-to-one level of observation (Busch, Fawcett, & Jacobs, 2003).


The aim of this manuscript is to identify evidence-based best practices for suicide prevention that can be used in psychiatric emergency services and inpatient psychiatric units.


A systematic search of literature was conducted to determine evidence-based best practices in suicide prevention. PubMed, DynaMed, and CINAHL databases were searched using the following key words: suicide prevention, interventions, and suicide in adults. Results were limited to English only publications focusing on suicide prevention for adults 18 and older.


The search yielded over 6000 articles which were narrowed by adding a peer review limitation. This yielded 234 articles which were scanned for relevance to the topic of interest such as suicide prevention, treatment of mental illness, and suicide screening. There was a final yield of 8 articles that were included in this review.


Only research published in English was selected, and no articles over 10 years old were included.


Clients at-risk of suicide assessed in psychiatric emergency services or admitted to inpatient psychiatric units, need to receive evidence-based care effective in preventing suicide.