Contextualising and defining child abuse - How nurses' experiences, values and beliefs influence their assessment of children

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Date
2018-11-5
Authors
Lines, Lauren
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Flinders University
Rights
Copyright © 2018 the author. All rights reserved.
Rights Holder
The author
Abstract
Aims and Objectives To report on how nurses' experiences, values and beliefs impact upon their assessment of child abuse and neglect. Background To reduce harm to children, nurses must be able to identify and address child abuse and neglect. It is not known how nurses' experiences, cultural values and beliefs influence their assessment of abuse and neglect. Design Qualitative research design using social constructionism. Methods Twenty-one in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurses who work with children. EQUATOR guidelines for qualitative research (COREQ) were used to report this research. Results Nurses who work with children had difficulty defining abuse and needed to contextualise abuse within the child's unique situation. To understand the complexity of their role, nurses compared and contrasted the level of abuse experienced by the child with their own values and beliefs which stemmed from their personal and professional experiences of parenting. Assessments were particularly challenging when nurses were faced with cultural values and practices different from their own. Conclusions Assessments of abuse and neglect are inextricably linked to nurses' personal values and beliefs which they developed from their personal background and context. As such, nurses are working from their own values base rather than always taking an evidence-informed approach to assessing for abuse and neglect. Relevance to clinical practice Nurses who work with children can make a difference for children experiencing abuse and neglect. There was inconsistent evidence that nurses explicitly reflect on how their personal values and beliefs influence their practice. We propose that this is a missing aspect of child safe practice. Including reflection on the impacts of personal and professional values and beliefs on the ability to implement evidence-informed approaches will increase nurses' capacity to maintain a child-focus.
Description
This abstract was prepared for the inaugural 'HDR Student Conference', Flinders University, November 2018. Copyright © the author
Keywords
Nursing, Child abuse, Parenting, Values and beliefs
Citation
Lines. Lauren (2018, November) Contextualising and defining child abuse - How nurses' experiences, values and beliefs influence their assessment of children Paper presented at 'HDR Student conference', Flinders University, Bedford Park.