Nurses are often the first healthcare professionals victims of domestic violence disclose information to. In response, emergency departments implemented screening policies in efforts to detect domestic violence in patients and improve reporting rates and safety for victims. Nurses face multiple barriers when screening for domestic violence. Upon reviewing previously published literature, common barriers were identified throughout multiple studies. These barriers included poor rapport between emergency department nurses and patients, patient refusal to participate in screening due to fear of retribution form their abuser, the abuser bringing the patient to the emergency department, the nurses fear of retribution from family members and other visitors, the nurse’s discomfort with the topic of domestic violence, barriers in rural emergency departments including traditional ideas and confidentiality, and differences in attitudes toward domestic violence within cultures. In order to decrease the prevalence of these barriers or eliminate them altogether, a cultural change must occur in the nursing profession. Domestic violence needs to be discussed more openly and nurses need to take screening practices more seriously. Nurses need to show patients they care about the domestic violence screening rather than just completing it absent mindedly. Along with the cultural shift, education on domestic violence needs to improve for nursing students and nurses who are currently practicing in emergency departments.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-3-2021


Alana Leavell

Mentor Department Affiliation

Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing