ED physician house staff response to training on domestic violence

F F Varvaro, S Gesmond
Journal of Emergency Nursing: JEN: Official Publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association 1997, 23 (1): 17-22

OBJECTIVE: About one fourth of physicians report having received training on domestic violence. The purpose of this study was to determine the response of the ED house staff to an educational program on domestic violence against women. The research questions in this study were as follows: (1) What training topics did the house staff rate as most important and relevant to their practice? (2) What topics did the house staff rate as most useful to their day-to-day practice? (3) What were the house staff's attitudes and beliefs before training? (4) Did the method of training on domestic violence influence the house staff's attitudes and beliefs? (5) What were the house staff's perceptions in terms of sociodemographic variables?

METHODS: An exploratory descriptive study with a three-group pretest and posttest design was used. The sample consisted of 37 residents, interns, and medical students assigned to their clinical rotation in the emergency department in a large urban hospital trauma center. The age range of the participants was 25 to 40 years. The instruments used included Importance of Training Topics for Domestic Violence Questionnaire (ITTDVQ), Usefulness of Training Topics for Domestic Violence Questionnaire (UTTDVQ). Inventory of Beliefs About Wife Beating (IBWB), and the Self-Efficacy Scale for Battered Women-Professional Version (SESFBW-PV).

RESULTS: Topics on domestic violence against women that the house staff rated as most important, relevant, and most useful in their day-to-day practice were awareness of the problem, referral as intervention, documentation of abuse, and references/resources. Attitudes and beliefs after training suggested an increased (1) confidence in the self-efficacy behaviors of women who are abused by intimate others, (2) need for the assessment, treatment, and referral for domestic violence in women who enter the emergency department with medical problems/injuries, and (3) belief that help should be given to women who are abused. There was very little variation in perceptions of the house staff in terms of age, gender, education, ethnic origin, or marital status.

DISCUSSION: The major conclusion of the study was that the house staff had a positive response to training on violence against women. Sixty-five percent of the house staff had no previous training on domestic violence. Implications for practice include continuing education and research on domestic violence training in the emergency department.

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