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Implication for Nursing Practice


Abusive relationships have adverse physical, mental and emotional effects on the victims. The effects may manifest in all victims’ environments including workplaces. In most cases, living in an abusive relationship has negative impacts on the victims’ workplaces. Conversely, the implications of abusive relationships may sometimes be positive at workplaces, especially when previously abused people help new victims (Alsaker, Moen, Baste, & Morken, 2016).

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It is imperative to note that domestic violence is a major health problem in many countries. The statistics of domestic violence cases are alarming and they could be more dreadful if all the cases are reported. Moreover, some domestic violence victims seek medical help without revealing the real causes of their medical problems making it more challenging to get the correct data (Usta & Taleb, 2014). Additionally, the rate of domestic violence is extremely rampant and happens to people of all races, financial status, including all professionals and other elements of social strata.

Domestic violence is perpetuated due to many reasons, including the acceptance of spouses and children battering, the unwillingness of victims to expose what they consider private life, failure of institutions such as healthcare providers and government in deterring the vice among others.

The estimated number of women seeking professional help is minimal. Additionally, sociological issues play a key role in deterring many of the victims from seeking healthcare help (Lawson, Laughon, & Gonzalez-Guarda, 2012).

Nurses are not immune to domestic violence, yet they are expected to be fully equipped to give professional help to patients who are victims of domestic violence. As such, they are expected to portray emotional strength and professional expertise to the victims of domestic violence for effective therapies. This essay, therefore, discusses how nurses’ previous abusive relationships affect their practice, especially when giving help to domestic violence victims.

Positive implication

Research has revealed that empathy is vital in nursing practice and is crucial in helping victims of domestic violence (Tsang, 2013). A nurse who has been in an abusive relationship is more likely to be empathetic since he or she has experienced violence first hand. Getting into the victims’ shoes will be easy since the nurse can easily relate to most of the aspects of abusive relationships.

First, nurses who have previously been abused are likely to detect symptoms of violence. Research has revealed that most victims of domestic violence seek medical attention without revealing the cause of their health problems (Usta & Taleb, 2014). An experienced nurse, however, is likely to distinguish victims of domestic violence by checking on the associated symptoms.

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Second, an empathic nurse, especially who has previously been abused, is more likely to endorse the victims’ decision to disclose their predicament. The nurse understands that disclosing domestic violence is challenging. There are many reasons that refrain victims from sharing what they are going through. With this realization, the nurse will highly appreciate the victim’s decision in unveiling what many victims consider as private life. The nurse will then commend the victim for the disclosure while showing them that they understand the difficulty associated with disclosure.

Third, victims tend to feel empowered when they are listened to. The nurses might have experienced the same when they were in abusive relationships. As a result, the nurse will tend to listen to the victim. Additionally, the nurse is more likely to communicate what they believe relative to nurses who have not experienced domestic violence directly. For instance, a previously abused nurse comprehends how frightening domestic violence can get and, therefore, the nurse will concur with the victim by bringing out that fact during therapy.

Fourth, a nurse who has been in an abusive relationship perfectly understands the various effects it has on the victims. The effects of the abusive relationship may have made the nurses realize that no one deserves any of the treatment. Such an experience will help in therapeutic procedures when dealing with victims of domestic violence. The nurse will help the victim by emphasizing the unacceptability of domestic violence and showing them that they do not deserve any of the treatments.

Fifth, a nurse who has been in an abusive relationship will feel obligated to advocate against domestic violence. Therefore, he or she is likely to support all the stakeholders in the attempt of sensitizing the public against domestic violence. Advocating against abuse will be a good attempt at preventing domestic violence.

Lastly, a nurse who has gone through domestic violence might have sought professional help successively. As a result, the nurse will have a good knowledge of avenues to which a client can be referred.

Negative implication

Research has revealed that nurses’ experience of violence and trauma may hinder them from providing appropriate care to victims of domestic violence (Guruge, 2012). As such, previous violence on a nurse will negatively affect their practice in a number of ways.

First, it is likely that the nurses did not seek professional help during the time of abusive relationships for fear of exposing their private lives. As a result, such a nurse will try not to offend their patients by not intruding into their private matters. While trying not to pry into what the nurse would consider private life, the domestic violence victim might not get suitable help.

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Second, the victim mentality is likely to cloud the nurse’s judgment. Oftentimes, domestic violence victims have a helpless mentality. If the nurse felt the same at the time of the abusive relationship, the nurse might be pessimistic and tell the victim that nothing or little can be done. As a result, the victim is likely to take the nurse’s word and continue persevering in an abusive relationship.

Third, domestic cases are not similar and, therefore, unique solutions are appropriate for each. It is important, therefore, for the nurse to comprehend and appreciate the scope of each domestic violence case. However, it is possible that a nurse who has been through domestic violence would have a limited and shallow perspective on domestic violence. Consequently, the nurse may not get comprehensive information about the case they are attending leading to inappropriate solutions.


Decisively, the impact of previous abusive relationships can be manifested in a nurse’s practice, especially when dealing with domestic violence victims. The impact could be positive or negative. Positive impacts enhance nurse practice when dealing with the victims. On the other, hand, negative impacts make a previously abused nurse not as effective when offering help to victims of domestic violence.

Additionally, it is evident that nurses play a key role in helping victims of domestic violence. Those victims that seek medical help should get effective and professional help. As such, previously abused nurses should fight their fears and undergo training to help domestic violence victims effectively.


Alsaker, K., Moen, B. E., Baste, V., & Morken, T. (2016). How Has Living with Intimate Partner Violence Affected the Work Situation? A Qualitative Study among Abused Women in Norway. Journal of Family Violence, 1-9. Web.

Guruge, S. (2012). Nurses’ Role in Caring for Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence in the Sri Lankan Context. International Scholarly Research Notices Nursing, 2012(2012), 1-8. Web.

Lawson, S. L., Laughon, K., & Gonzalez-Guarda, R. M. (2012). Predictors of Health Care Use Among a Predominantly Hispanic, Urban Sample of Individuals Seeking IPV Services. Hispanic Healthcare International, 10(1), 28-35. Web.

Tsang, M. (2013). The Importance of Empathy—As I Have Studied and Experienced It. Hawaii Journal Medicine Public Health, 72(9), 79–80.

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Usta, J., & Taleb, R. (2014). Addressing Domestic Violence in Primary Care: what the physician needs to know. Libyan Journal of Medicine, 9(2014), 23527. Web.

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