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Am I doing the right thing? Plunket nurses' experience in making decisions to report suspected child abuse and neglect


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Suspected child abuse and neglect is not a new phenomenon in community nursing. Child abuse and/or neglect is prevalent globally and is a major community concern. Plunket Nurses have a primary responsibility to protect the health and well being of the women and children with whom they come into contact. Detecting suspected child abuse and/or neglect and making decisions to report to Child, Youth and Family, New Zealand’s Statutory Agency, is difficult. There are professional, legal, ethical and moral complexities in this work. Boyne (2003) states that there has not been enough research about what it is like to work with and manage risks in child protection work. This study set out to report these experiences in view of understanding them and finding possible gaps in literature, policy, and education.

Hermeneutic phenomenology was the methodology thought most appropriate to study the experiences of Plunket Nurses making decisions to report suspected child abuse and/or neglect in uncertain situations. A purposeful sample was selected to ensure participants were able to provide rich data that was captured in semi-structured, face to face and telephone recorded interviews. Data analysis was guided by the framework developed by van Manen (1990) to formulate meaning from participant experiences. Four major themes developed.

Ethical considerations were extensively explored due to the sensitive nature of the study. Management of possible ethical situation have been described, with a planned approach to an ongoing consent process throughout the data collection. The results have identified gaps in the literature, Plunket policy and the educational needs of Plunket Nurses. Opportunities for future research are suggested.

Item Type: Graduate student work
Uncontrolled Keywords: child abuse, suspected, reporting, decision making, children 0-5yrs, Community Nursing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
Depositing User: Gaby Douglas
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2011 02:55
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:30

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