Domestic abuse is a problem that often arises in the practice of nurses. It can affect patients’ physical and mental health and have long-lasting consequences. Therefore, it is vital for nurses to recognize and deal with such situations to provide their clients with the best possible care. However, it remains unclear whether nursing students gain enough experience working with cases of domestic violence before graduation.
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The study by Bradbury-Jones and Broadhurst (2015) called “Are We Failing to Prepare Nursing and Midwifery Students to Deal with Domestic Abuse? Findings from a Qualitative Study” explores this concern. The authors focus on nurses’ confidence and preparedness to interact with patients who experienced domestic abuse. This review aims to appraise the article by Bradbury-Jones and Broadhurst and discuss its design, credibility, and clinical significance.
The authors employ a qualitative methodology to speak with nursing students and evaluate their personal views on the issue. The design is exploratory, and it is based on data collection from focus groups since the scholars arrange discussions for several groups of students. The design is described in simple terms, and Bradbury-Jones and Broadhurst (2015) explain that it was chosen due to the lack of available evidence about the topic of the study. The explanation of the design is brief, but its details such as sampling, data collection, and analysis are provided in an accessible form. I would provide a similar description of the design as well.
The sample for this study consisted of 55 students from one university in the UK. Initially, the authors wanted to recruit fewer participants, but the final grouping provided them with the ability to have more focus groups. The number of students who were preparing to become midwives was 32, and 23 students were future nurses with such specialties as an adult, child, and mental health care (Bradbury-Jones & Broadhurst, 2015). The authors chose to interview students in their last (third) year of their programs because they wanted to see how much students evaluated their preparedness for work. Therefore, the exclusion criteria such as other programs and years of education were used. Through purposive sampling, the scholars obtained information from a heterogeneous group of students.
To hear the opinions of all recruited students, the authors divided the sample into eight focus groups. Each group consisted of two to 10 participants, student midwives and nurses were placed into separate groups to ensure field-specific information. The scholars provide a table where each group is described, including the number of participants and their education. During the data gathering process, the researchers met with all focus groups and conducted a semi-structured discussion. A discussion guide reveals five main questions, including “What do you understand by the term ‘domestic abuse’?” and “How confident do you feel in dealing with domestic abuse in clinical practice?” (Bradbury-Jones & Broadhurst, 2015, p. 2065).
The scholars either took notes during the discussion or transcribed the recordings. This type of data collection is appropriate for finding additional information about a subject that is not well-researched. The students’ personal opinion is the central interest of the study. Therefore, unguided answers are an adequate way of learning about their experience, anxieties, and expectations.
The authors utilized thematic content analysis to examine the gathered data. According to Bradbury-Jones and Broadhurst (2015), this approach was chosen due to the nature of group discussions and the interaction of participants during focus groups. After performing this analysis, the scholars “made some minor moderations” and discussed their findings to agree on major themes (Bradbury-Jones & Broadhurst, 2015, p. 2065).
To enhance the credibility of the presented results, the authors also discussed the need to investigate separately from each other, provide direct quotes in the final article, and use multiple focus groups to confirm the findings’ trustworthiness. Nonetheless, the author’s analysis is not described in detail since they do not state what procedures they used to outline themes in the collected data. While their analysis may be rigorous, the lack of explanations lowers the findings’ credibility to an extent.
The coding scheme was somewhat predetermined because the authors used their discussion guide as a way of dividing answers into categories. One can see that the findings are grouped according to the five initial questions. The first part of the analysis shows students’ understanding of the nature of domestic abuse. The second finding deals with recognizing and reporting abuse as a part of the practice. The third category is for students’ confidence in their ability to deal with cases of domestic abuse. According to the fourth question, they discuss potential improvements to the educational programs to cover domestic abuse. Finally, the last group of analyzed answers is based on students’ understanding of the importance of discussing domestic abuse.
The number of quotes from students is appropriate for the study. In particular, students’ opinions were presented in multiple full sentences which allows one to review the participants’ approach to the raise questions. Moreover, the dynamic of group discussions are preserved in the form of multiple answers being shared one after the other. The authors showed that not all students were familiar with the subject to the same degree or had experience encountering domestic abuse. As a result, the collected information provides one with insight into the contents of the nurses’ educational programs.
Perhaps, the study could be improved further if the authors noted which quotes were transcribed from the recordings and which were collected during the focus groups as notes. Moreover, while the separation between student midwives and nurses is clear, there is no division between nurses from different fields.
This research is significant in providing educators and policymakers with information regarding students’ preparedness to deal with domestic abuse. The study’s findings suggest that both nursing and midwife students do not receive enough practical experience. While their lectures consider cases of domestic violence, the students cannot speak to actual people during their practice hours. As a consequence, they may be unprepared to encounter such situations after graduation which lowers their confidence as well. Education specialists should consider this knowledge to improve medical students’ curricula. An outcome of acknowledging these findings may benefit nurses’ performance and contact with patients.
The study by Bradbury-Jones and Broadhurst discusses the concerns of nursing students about their readiness to care for patients with a history of domestic abuse. The authors employ a qualitative exploratory design and conduct group discussions with a fluid-structure. They provide direct quotes and show the interaction of students within focus groups, allowing the topic to be analyzed in-depth by the audience. The findings of the research project are presented in a clear form and are easy to understand. This article’s conclusions can have a significant impact on nursing education.
Bradbury-Jones, C., & Broadhurst, K. (2015). Are we failing to prepare nursing and midwifery students to deal with domestic abuse? Findings from a qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71(9), 2062-2072.