AIM To investigate the supportive work carried out by a health psychologist working with nurses in an A&E department caring for patients with sickle cell disease, some of whom are known to present with difficult and challenging behaviour. METHOD A sample of 21 female nurses who had all taken part in the support group completed questionnaires concerning perceptions of the usefulness of the sessions, attitude changes, degree of the perceived benefit derived, degree of perceived comfort in the group and views about whether the sessions should continue. RESULTS Most nurses found the support group useful and, since attending the group, many reported more sympathetic attitudes towards sickle cell disease patients. The forum was observed to promote reflection in practice and offered a degree of social support, as well as giving the nurses more confidence in dealing with 'difficult' patients generally. Most nurses were happy with the format of the support group. CONCLUSION The support group was found to provide the nurses with emotional support as well as boosting their confidence in dealing with this patient group. This will have an impact on the quality of patient care they are able to deliver.