Patient suicide is a tragic occurrence, and it can be a demoralizing experience for medical residents. Few studies, however, have assessed suicide management skills among these front-line healthcare professionals. This study evaluated the self-assessed competence and confidence of medical residents with regard to the management of potentially suicidal patients and assessed the correlation with the residents’ background characteristics.
The authors conducted a multicenter, cross-sectional survey of 114 medical residents in Japan, using a modified version of the Suicide Intervention Response Inventory (SIRI−2), the Medical Outcomes Study 8-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF−8), and a 5-point Likert scale to assess confidence in suicide management.
A majority (89.5%) of the residents rated their confidence in managing suicidal patients as Not At All Confident or Rather Not Confident, although most were close to completing their psychiatric rotation. Results on the SIRI−2 suggested intermediate competence in managing suicidal behavior, as compared with that of other healthcare professionals. Competence as indicated by the SIRI−2 score was weakly and negatively correlated with the score for self-perceived Vitality on the SF−8 scale.
Insufficient skills and lack of confidence in the management of suicidal patients was observed in this sample of Japanese medical residents, thus highlighting the need for improved suicide-management programs for junior medical residents in Japanese hospitals.