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The objective of this descriptive research was to study nurses’ practices in respecting psychiatric patients’ autonomy in psychiatric hospitals, southern Thailand. Samples were 144 registered nurses, using Krejcie and Morgan’s Table (cited in Bunchom, 1995). The inclusion criteria were working experience with psychiatric patients with more than 6 months. The subjects were selected using proportional random sampling methods from two psychiatric hospitals in southern Thailand. The tool was a questionnaire covering general data profile and nurses’ practices in respecting psychiatric patients’ autonomy in psychiatric hospitals. The tool was verified by three experts for content validity. The reliability of nurses’ practices were tested by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, yielding a value of 0.91. Data were analyzed using frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation.
The results showed that the registered nurses in psychiatric hospitals, southern Thailand had a high level of overall practice in respecting psychiatric patients’ autonomy (M = 3.27, SD = 0.38). For each phase, the mean scores were at a high level as follows: disclosure of information (M = 3.52, SD = 0.35), assessment of understanding of information (M = 3.32, SD = 0.71), assessment for competence (M = 3.24, SD = 0.51), respect for autonomous action (M = 2.96, SD = 0.66), and respect for autonomous decisions (M = 2.94, SD = 0.65). The results can be used for developing nursing practice guidelines in respecting psychiatric patients’ autonomy.