Myths and stereotypes: how registered nurses screen for intimate partner violence

J Emerg Nurs. 2010 Nov;36(6):572-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jen.2009.09.008. Epub 2009 Nov 12.


Introduction: Intimate partner violence, sometimes referred to as domestic violence, is a prevalent problem in the United States and across the world. Emergency nurses are often the first health care providers to ask individuals about this health issue and are often the first to offer intervention and prevention measures.

Methods: This study used a phenomenological qualitative approach to examine the role of the registered nurse in the emergency setting as it relates to intimate partner violence. Thirteen emergency nurses from the South Central United States were interviewed for this study.

Results: Four major themes emerged during analysis of the interviews. The 4 themes were (1) myths, stereotypes, and fears; (2) demeanor; (3) frustrations; and (4) safety benefits.

Discussion: This study suggests that emergency nurses are not screening for intimate partner violence based on a protocol as suggested by many professional organizations but rather are screening certain patients for violence based on the nurses' perception of whether particular patients are likely to be victims of violence.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Behavior
  • Emergency Nursing / methods*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / nursing
  • Mythology
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Spouse Abuse / diagnosis*
  • Stereotyping*
  • United States