Student nurses' knowledge and attitudes towards domestic violence: results of survey highlight need for continued attention to undergraduate curriculum
Doran, F & Hutchinson, M in press, 'Student nurses' knowledge and attitudes towards domestic violence: results of survey highlight need for continued attention to undergraduate curriculum', Journal of Clinical Nursing.
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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To gain a comprehensive understanding of undergraduate nursing student attitudes and views towards domestic violence, and employ the findings to inform undergraduate curriculum development.
BACKGROUND: Nurses have an important role in identifying people who are victims of domestic violence through screening and facilitating their access to assistance and support. Undergraduate nursing education is key to shaping attitudes and facilitating the development of a comprehensive understanding of domestic violence. Little research has been undertaken exploring nursing students' attitudes towards domestic violence.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of undergraduate nursing students enrolled in a three-year Bachelor of Nursing programme across three campuses of a regional university in NSW, Australia. Students completed a pen and paper survey during class time and descriptive and comparative analysis was undertaken.
RESULTS: The majority of respondents were female, first year students females aged 17-26 years. Many students understood the nature and consequences of domestic violence, yet others across the course of the programme demonstrate attitudes that reflect a lack of understanding and misconceptions of domestic violence. Stereotypical and gendered attitudes that normalise violence within intimate partner relationships and sustain victim-blaming attitudes were evident across the cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: It is important for nurses to understand the relationship between exposure to violence and women's ill health, and be able to respond appropriately. Undergraduate programmes need to highlight the important role of nurses around domestic violence and address stereotypical conceptions about domestic violence.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Continued effort is required to address domestic violence in undergraduate nursing education so that nursing graduates understand the association between violence exposure and poor health and are able to assess exposure and respond appropriately in the clinical environment.