The experiences of student nurses (adult field) who encounter child abuse or neglect whilst on their first community placement. An interpretive phenomenological study

Tweedlie, Julie (2016) The experiences of student nurses (adult field) who encounter child abuse or neglect whilst on their first community placement. An interpretive phenomenological study. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

The prevention and appropriate professional response to children at risk of or experiencing child abuse and neglect has been identified as a national priority within the United Kingdom. Nurses (adult field) are likely to come into contact with children during their professional career and need to have the skills to detect and refer children who they suspect are suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm.

However, there remains a dearth of evidence examining how nursing students (adult field) are prepared and supported and what their experiences are when they encounter child abuse or neglect in the clinical area. Therefore, the intentions of this study were:
Research aim:
To explore the experiences of student nurses (adult field) when they encounter what they perceive to be child abuse or neglect during their first community placement.

Research questions:
 How do student nurses (adult field) interpret, respond and learn from their experiences of encountering perceived child abuse or neglect during their first community placement?
 How well are student nurses (adult field) prepared for encountering abuse and neglect?
 How can they be better supported?

Hermeneutic phenomenology was employed to guide the research design and processes, including data collection and analysis. The data were collected using narrative-style in-depth interviews from a purposeful self-selected sample of nine first-year nursing students (adult field) who perceived they had encountered child abuse or neglect during a community placement. Ethical approval was gained from the University ethics committee.

Mezirow’s theory of transformational learning was used as a framework for analysis. Three overarching themes were identified: 1) Encountering disorienting events, 2) Reflecting on responses, assumptions and pre-conceptions and finally 3) An expanded worldview. The first theme reflected the student nurses’ initial thoughts as they encountered actual or perceived situations involving child abuse or neglect as well as deprivation. The second theme encompassed the student nurses’ initial feelings and responses to the experiences they encountered. This included feelings such as shock, anger, frustration and fear. Finally, the third theme outlined how the students reflect upon their practice experience, developing professional and personal insights. This is conceptualised as a transformational learning episode.

The students’ journeys were idiosyncratic with variations in educational growth and transformation. The findings of this study suggest that student nurses (adult field) who encountered perceived child abuse or neglect during their first community placement felt unprepared for these encounters and would have welcomed the opportunity to reflect on their experiences when they returned to university. This has implications for the BSc Nursing studies (adult field) in considering the preparation and support of student nurses before, during and after their first community placement.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B700 Nursing
L500 Social Work
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Nursing, Midwifery and Health
University Services > Graduate School > Professional Doctorate
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2018 11:42
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2018 10:45
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/36213

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