It is crucial that nurses approach all situations involving patient safety with compassion and sensibility. If there are unusual bruises or abrasions that I see on patients during admissions, I will approach the subject with them in a private, non-judgmental way. Then I’d explain to the patient that I care about their safety and wellbeing and then ask whether they feel secure at home. It is important to listen actively and patiently to the patient’s response and allow them to speak freely without interrupting.
Fear of retaliation or shame, guilt or feeling trapped or lacked of trust may all be barriers to the patient speaking out about their abuse. These barriers can be overcome by a nurse who creates a supportive and safe environment that allows the patient to report any abuse. These may involve asking open-ended questions or providing emotional support. To make the patient more at ease and provide support, I may also refer them to a social worker.
As a nurse, I have the responsibility to report suspected abuse to my supervisors or designated reporting agencies. Nurses in New York are required to report abuse. Failure to do so can lead the nurse to be charged with criminal charges. You should also document all conversations and observations related to suspected abuse. This can help to prove the case if needed.
My agency and professional associations, like the American Nurses Association or National Council of State Boards of Nursing, can provide educational resources for me as a travel nurse. T