Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Violence and the Nursing Curriculum: Nurse Educators Speak Out

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Violence and the Nursing Curriculum: Nurse Educators Speak Out

Article excerpt

VIOLENT CRIME IN THE UNITED STATES IS INCREASING AT AN ALARMING RATE. NURSES ARE THE FIRST TO ENCOUNTER ITS VICTIMS--BUT ARE THEY PREPARED FOR THEM? TWO ACTIVITIES AT THE 1995 NLN CONVENTION GATHERED THE OPINIONS, CONCERNS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF NURSE EDUCATORS ABOUT HOW EDUCATION CAN BETTER EQUIP NURSES TO PERFORM THE ROLE OF VIOLENCE PREVENTER AND CARE PROVIDER.

The frequency of violent crime in the United States is increasing at an alarming rate. A National Crime Victimization Survey estimated that Americans sustained almost 19 million violent crime victimizations in 1990 (Bachman, 1992). Women, children, and elders are often the victims of physical abuse and family violence. * The statistics are frightening! Approximately 3 to 4 million women are physically battered by their partners each smear (American Medical Association, 1992) with sexual assault reported as the most frequently committed and fastest growing crime (Dunn & Gilchrist, 1993).

Ullmann and Knight (1991) state that rape is endemic to life in today's s society; most victims of rape are women. In a recent year, nearly one million children experienced demonstrable harm as a result of abuse (Mason, 1993). Furthermore, Furniss (1993) reports that between 30 and 40 million adults were previously abused as children. Abuse against elders is referred to in a report by the American Academy of Nursing (1993) that estimates that from 700,000 to 1.2 million elders are abused annually. Not surprisingly, elderly persons were found to be more likely to suffer more harmful consequences of victimization than younger people (Bachman, 1992).

Nurses, because of their role and presence in all clinical settings, are often the ones who have the greatest opportunity to identify and assess violence victims (Hoff, 1992; Ryan & King, 1993). Nurses need to be aware of the possibility of abuse history in even health encounter (Furniss, 1993). However, if nurses are to function effectively in preventing violence--by identifying and assessing victims and implementing appropriate intervention--the educational system must provide the knowledge and skills that equip nurses to perform this role. The major question confronting nursing educators is whether their own preparation gives them the ability to provide students with the requisite knowledge and skills to function effectively in violence prevention and care of violence victims. The question facing nursing education in general is whether it can develop and implement relevant nursing programs that provide this learning.

The incorporation of such material has been suggested in the past, but the literature is not extensive. Ryan and King (1993) identified strategies for various types of educational programs to improve the identification, assessment, and intervention skills of nurses in addressing the problem of violence against women. Tanner (1993) emphasized the need for nursing education to respond to the public health problem of violence and recommended that violence "should earn significant attention in the nursing curriculum." Whitley, Jacobson and Gawrys (1996) provided a review of the literature related to violence toward nurses, contributing factors, and management of potentially violent episodes. They included a discussion of assessing, planning, and intervention strategies to assist students to prevent or intervene where aggression occurs in a health care setting.

Kerr (1992) described the integration of content related to violence against women into the undergraduate curriculum at Capital University. Student experiences included clinical placement in various inpatient and outpatient settings. Impact of learning experiences, teaching methods, and evaluation of curriculum goals were also discussed. Campbell (1992) proposed planned learning experiences for nursing students that would prepare them to be responsive to women as victims and for their role in preventing violence. …

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