Michele I. Bracken is an Assistant Professor at Salisbury University, USA. She has completed her Ph.d at University of Maryland. Her research interest include Intimate Partner Violence, Domestic Violence, Breast Cancer, Womens Health Issues.


Intimate partner violence is of national concern, resulting in an annual 4.9 million intimate partner physical and sexual assaults occurring in the United States (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). Due to resulting traumatic injuries, the emergency department is an ideal setting to assess for patients in abusive relationships. Because of this, it is critical that emergency department nurses involved in the screening process have perceptions and attitudes conducive to identification, care, and appropriate referral, to ensure the safety of these patients. Research has shown that nurses are not always effective in screening for intimate partner violence (Glass, Dearwater, & Campbell, 2001; Wilson, Cesario, Fredland, Walsh, McFarlane, Gist, Malech, & Schultz, 2001). There is a paucity of research on the attitudes and perceptions of these nurses that may provide a basis for this ineffective screening. The purpose of this research was to determine the attitudes and perceptions of emergency department nurses in a rural mid-eastern hospital regarding their experiences in referring for and/or administering an instrument that assesses a patients risk for being murdered by an abusive partner. Results of 9 interviews determined there were three emerging themes: 1) Worthwhile assessment tool; 2) Barriers Encountered; and 3) Solutions to Barriers.

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