A postal questionnaire survey was employed in regional secure and psychiatric intensive care units in England and Wales, in respect of mental health nurses' training in the use of physical restraint. The nurses' views were sought relating to their last experience of implementing the procedure. Whilst most nurses (n = 259, 96.3%) reported positive outcomes in so far that the incident was brought under control, the views of the aftereffects of the procedure were of concern and ambivalence. The literature suggests that service users did not necessarily hold the same positive views. A range of alternatives, which were consistent with the literature, was made by staff to improve intervention in the management of violence. Negative aspects relating to the use of physical restraint were also highlighted. They included procedural, injury, clinical and management issues. Some respondents also expressed concerns about the negative attitudes of their colleagues. The findings of this aspect of the survey highlights that the therapeutic value of physical restraint can only be achieved with appropriate monitoring and with emphasis on psychological intervention in the prevention and management of violence.