Journal Reviews

Early MR, Williams RA. Emergency nurses’ experience with violence: Does it affect nursing care of battered women? J Emerg Nurs 2002; 28:199-204.

Although ED nurses are vulnerable to assault by both patients and their intimate partners, this does not affect their proposed nursing care of battered women, says this study from University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor.

Surveys were completed by 195 nurses from seven urban and suburban EDs about their experiences with violence involving patients or intimate partners. Participants also were given two hypothetical examples of battered women, and they submitted a nursing care plan for each.

The study found that 70% of nurses reported violence from a patient, 40% reported violence by an intimate partner, and 19% had used force on their partners. Although there was no significant differences in the nursing care proposed by female nurses who had experienced partner violence and those who did not, female nurses who had experienced violence only from a patient proposed more nursing care.

The researchers noted that only a minority of the nurses surveyed denied any experience of physical violence, and most nurses reported experiencing more than one type of violence. "The incidence of violence reported by this sample was startling," they wrote. They theorize that ED nurses are able to function well in spite of being victims of violence because working in the ED commonly exposes them to violence and inures nurses to the impact.

"ED and hospital administrators and managers must do all they can to ensure the safety of emergency nurses and be sensitive to the fact that employee assistance programs are one way of providing help for nurses confronting violence, whether at work or at home," they wrote.

Oman KS, Armstrong JD. Perspectives on practicing procedures on the newly dead. Acad Emerg Med 2002; 9:786-790.

Most elderly patients value practicing and teaching lifesaving skills by using bodies of the newly deceased, but most believe that family members’ consent for this practice is necessary, says this study from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. More than 100 adults participated in the survey, which revealed that 54% believed that practicing lifesaving skills on a newly dead body is acceptable, and 80% believed that health care workers must obtain consent from family members.

The researchers recommend:

• that health care workers make an effort to display attitudes and behaviors that demonstrate respect for the newly dead;

• that health care workers support educational objectives to train staff in engaging grieving family members in a discussion about practicing on the newly dead, and obtaining consent.

"These data are encouraging for health care professional educators and strengthen the argument that obtaining appropriate consent is critical and is based on respect for patients, including the newly dead," they conclude.