Nurses’ perceptions of responding to Intimate Partner Violence in the United Kingdom. An Exploration of the literature.
Objectives: Intimate Partner Violence is a global public health concern with devastating consequences for individuals and for wider society. Nurses are uniquely placed to provide support for victim/survivors. The study explores nurses’ perceptions of responding to intimate partner violence in the United Kingdom. Methods: Literature review of the current qualitative research of nurses’ responses to intimate partner violence using the key words ‘Intimate partner violence, domestic violence OR abuse, nurse, nursing, experience, attitudes, belief, education, preparedness’. Search of the electronic databases CINHAL Plus, ProQuest Central, MEDLINE, BMJ Best Practice, BioMed Central, Cochrane Library, PubMed, ScienceDirect also Queen Margaret University library, Royal College of Nursing library, snowballing from references in the text and personal expertise. Findings then synthesised into themes and key concepts. Results: 5 studies were selected to be included in this review. Varying levels of knowledge and understanding were described by the nurses. Most nurses had not had formal education or training on the topic. The majority of studies report that nurses prefer victim/survivors disclose intimate partner violence and feel anxious enquiring about it. Assorted attitudes towards the women were expressed by the nurses including some stereotypical beliefs towards victim/survivors. Environmental factors, fears for personal safety and emotional burden were also cited as barriers to providing effective care. Conclusion: Nurses’ express anxiety and a lack of confidence over managing cases where women experience IPV. Much of this is due to insufficient knowledge. By introducing formal education into the nursing curriculum and compulsory training for qualified nurses this can improve the care women receive.