Forensic mental health nursing is a complex role and there is a tension between maintaining safety and promoting a therapeutic and patient centred approach. The use of restrictive practises such as seclusion is an issue. Two focus groups with registered nurses exploring attitudes and factors used in decision-making about seclusion use were analysed using interpretive description. Participants described the need to reduce the use of seclusion and the problematic nature of its utility as an ongoing intervention in contemporary mental healthcare. It was clear that there were complexities and competing variables involved in the decision-making process.