Resources >> Browse Articles >> How to


How Do I Deal With Suspected Abuse?

How Do I Deal With Suspected Abuse?

Scrubs Magazine

As nurses, we have a duty to report all cases of suspected abuse.

Your healthcare facility likely has a policy and procedure outlining the exact steps you should take. Consider this a refresher course, especially as sometimes these situations can catch us off guard and there may not be a more senior nurse or manual to consult.

In general, you should:

• Treat the victim apart from the suspected abuser. If a woman presents a black eye and a suspicious story, try to get her alone. She won’t be able to talk openly if her abuser remains in the room the entire time.

• Document exactly what you see and hear.

• Contact the appropriate state or county agency. Although the law varies from state to state, nurses are legally required to report all cases of suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.

• If possible, provide the injured party with information and resources. In the case of a battered woman, that may be the name and number of a women’s shelter, or a domestic violence hotline.

• Keep your emotions in check. It can be very difficult to care for a victim of suspected abuse, particularly if the abuser is in the next room. This is one of those times when you need to push your personal feelings deep down while you attend to the details. Act polished and professional; later, take some time to debrief with a coworker.

More on

In Scrubs Style: Top 5 Scrubs Fashion Blunders
In Career: 20 Career Lessons From Celebrities
In Career: Domestic Violence

Related Reads:

NursingLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use NursingLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.