Nurses' perceived training needs in child protection issues

Crisp, B. and Green Lister, Pam (2006) Nurses' perceived training needs in child protection issues. Health Education, 106 (5). pp. 381-399. ISSN 0965-4283 (

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The purpose of this research is to explore nurses' perceptions of their current skills and knowledge and training needs to identify cases of child abuse and their understanding of their roles and responsibilities in relation to child abuse. Nurses, including health visitors and midwives, have been recognised as having a key role in the protection and care of children, especially in identifying and referring possible cases of child abuse and neglect. A structured questionnaire concerning knowledge and training needs in child protection was sent to all nurses employed in a Scottish NHS Primary Care Trust (approximately 1,900), of whom one-third (667) responded. These survey results were complemented by semi-structured interviews with 99 members of the nursing workforce. Almost all training in child protection had been confined to health visitors, resulting in the Trust giving an implicit message that child protection is not a role in which other nurses need have any involvement. In general, those nurses who both worked with children and had involvement in child protection issues, considered themselves to be most in need of knowledge around child protection work, to have the greatest level of knowledge and to consider further training a priority. Nurses who had an interest or involvement in child protection work were more likely to participate in the research, which may have biased the results. Training strategies need to address the diversity of nurses' involvements in child protection work through the development of training programmes which are appropriate for different workplaces and different occupational groupings. Nurses in some settings will need to be first convinced they have the potential to play an important role in protecting children from abuse and neglect. Many NHS Trusts have in recent years introduced mandatory training in child protection for all staff in contact with children. However, previously published studies have considered training issues only in respect of nurses identified as working directly with children, whereas this study explores child protection issues for all nurses employed in a primary care NHS Trust.