University Of Tasmania

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A cross-sectional study of domestic violence instruction in nursing and midwifery programs: Out of step with community and student expectations

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 09:58 authored by Hutchinson, M, Doran, F, Brown, J, Tracy DouglasTracy Douglas, East, L, Irwin, P, Mainey, L, Annette SaundersAnnette Saunders, Sweet, L, Van De Mortel, T, Yates, K

Background:Domestic violence is a global health concern. Nurses and midwives must respond to those who experience domestic violence, although many are not prepared to do this. The World Health Organization recommend that domestic violence content be included in all pre-registration training as a matter of urgency.

Objectives: To examine self-reported undergraduate student perceptions of domestic violence content in their programs of study and student attitudes and beliefs about domestic violence.

Design: A cross-sectional research design with online survey was employed from June to October 2017.

Methods: Using convenience sampling, 1076 students were recruited to the study from a total population sample of just over 6000 undergraduate nursing and midwifery students; a response rate of 17.9%. Survey data reported the nature and frequency of teaching and learning along with student attitudes and beliefs about domestic violence. Open ended responses were examined via thematic analysis.

Settings: Nine Australian universities offering undergraduate nursing and midwifery degrees. Participants: Undergraduate university nursing and midwifery students.

Results: Over half of students surveyed (53.7%, n = 578) reported that domestic violence was not addressed in their program of study. A direct correlation was found between students' perceived preparedness to assess and respond to domestic violence, and the amount of taught content in their program of study.

Conclusion: This major gap in curricula has significant implications for professional practice preparedness. Further research should focus on examining the reasons why quality domestic violence content is lacking in undergraduate nursing and midwifery programs and how prioritisation of domestic violence content can be improved.


Publication title

Nurse Education Today








School of Health Sciences


Churchill Livingstone

Place of publication

Journal Production Dept, Robert Stevenson House, 1-3 Baxters Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, Scotland, Midlothian, Eh1 3Af

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other education and training not elsewhere classified; Other health not elsewhere classified; Expanding knowledge in the health sciences