SSON Associate Professor Teaching Health Care Providers to Identify Signs of Domestic Violence

Sept. 19, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. – National data shows, on average, three women are murdered every day by a partner or ex-partner. More than 1 in 3 women experience partner violence in their lifetime. However, an emphasis to identify the signs of abuse is being taught by a Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) faculty member.

“New national preventive care guidelines and provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) support routine screening for partner violence in healthcare settings,”  SSON Associate Professor Tina Bloom said.

Bloom said patients might not be getting the best care they can get. That’s because many healthcare providers are unaware of the recent changes with the ACA. Recent research conducted by Bloom shows that nurses and doctors often fail to recognize the signs of abuse. That’s because there is a lack of training in the area. Dr. Bloom notes that with appropriate training, healthcare providers can help women connect to safety resources that are potentially life-saving.

Dr. Bloom has worked with Elaine Hewins to train health care providers to recognize the sign of abuse. Hewins is the Domestic Violence Awareness and Education Program Coordinator at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Community Health Education Program in New Jersey. So far, Bloom and Hewins have trained more than 120 health care providers in the Mid-Missouri area.

“Many were surprised at how common and significant domestic violence is in Missouri.  Many of the people who attended said that they found the training to be eye-opening and that they intended to begin screening all their female patients for intimate partner violence,” Bloom said.

Several other providers told Bloom they are now looking at their profession in a whole new light. Others said because of the session with Dr. Bloom, they will try to get more training to identify domestic violence.

Hewins believes their training is some of the most effective. Her research has shown that after providers attend these sessions, they are able to recognize the signs. Some of the highlights include:

  • 98% of the program participants reported increased knowledge/awareness about screening for domestic violence
  • 95% of program participants reported a commitment to screening for domestic violence
  • 66% of program participants reported implementing domestic violence screening into their practice post-training (one month later)
  • Approximately 3,760 patients (on a weekly basis) have potentially benefited from the training based on the data obtained from 45 participants estimated for all participants.

Hewins and Bloom say if  anyone is experiencing domestic violence to use resources like 1-800-799-SAFE, which is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a critical resource for 24-hour safety planning information.