A MAJOR nursing association is drawing up guidelines on the care of mentally-disturbed patients, and is calling for psychiatric training to be made mandatory for all nurses. Last week a court ordered the United Christian Hospital to pay more than $2 million in damages to the family of a patient who committed suicide in 1987 by jumping from the window of a fourth floor ward. The chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, Michael Ho Mun-kar, said it had decided to issue guidelines to nurses because many lacked the psychiatric training to assess patients' mental condition. Mr Ho, who is also the Legislative Council nursing representative, said nurses could take measures that would protect them in court and show they had done their best for the patient. ''In my guidelines, I will advise nurses to keep a complete record of what they have observed,'' he said. ''Even if they are not psychiatrically trained, they can record what they have observed - even if they can't interpret it - and can inform their supervisors and medical officers. ''If the supervisor, medical officer and the hospital don't do anything, then that has got to be the hospital's responsibility.'' Mr Ho said nurses should note the patient's mental state as well as the treatment given. They should also inform their supervisors of their concerns - and record they have done so. ''They should record the sort of action taken, whether the doctor came, what time, and what the doctor's judgment was,'' he said. In the first case of its kind in Hong Kong, United Christian Hospital was found on Tuesday to have been negligent in failing to take adequate steps to prevent Tsang Kwong-chak from killing himself, even though the hospital knew he was suicidal. Tsang wasput into a general ward and jumped to his death that night. Although the incident occurred before the Hospital Authority was established, Mr Ho said the authority should review its psychiatric provision. He called for all nurses to receive psychiatric training. ''There are still a lot of nurses who are generally trained and who have no knowledge of psychiatry and no exposure to psychiatric nursing,'' he said. ''I cannot accept a modern nursing curriculum without psychiatric training [for all nurses].'' The Nursing Board is currently reviewing nurse training overall. Hong Kong Government Doctors Association president Dr Chu Kin-wah said current procedures for handling disturbed patients were adequate in most cases. He said formal Hospital Authority guidelines would not help because each case involved the doctor's professional judgment. All doctors received some psychiatric training and could call on psychiatrists when necessary. ''Having said that, if one person is determined to take their life, it is very difficult to prevent it,'' he said. The only way to prevent a repeat of the United Christian Hospital incident would be to admit all mentally-disturbed patients to a psychiatric hospital.