Background There is growing global interest into the attitudes and clinical management of persons who have attempted suicide. Aims The principal purpose was to determine senior nursing staff attitudes towards patients who had attempted suicide from a professional and cultural perspective, which might influence care following hospital admission. The focus concerned nursing staff interactions at a psychological level that compete with physical tasks on general hospital wards. Methods A qualitative methodology was employed with audio-taped interviews utilising four level data coding. This paper reports on a group of 15 nursing staff from a large general hospital in Mysore, Southern India .Results Findings suggested that patient care and treatment is directly influenced by the nurse’s religious beliefs within a general hospital setting with physical duties prioritised over psychological support, which was underdeveloped throughout the participant group. Conclusion The results allow a series of recommendations for educational and skills initiatives before progressing to patient assessment and treatment projects and cross cultural comparison studies. In addition interventions must focus on current resources and context to move the evidence base suicide prevention forward.