Nursing: Child Abuse: Identification, Management, and Reporting

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About the Course

Child abuse has the potential to cause long-term physical and psychological health issues and even death. Child abuse comes in many forms: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and fictitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA). Nurses are mandated reporters of child abuse and must report any suspected child abuse to child protective services (CPS). If this is not something that most nurses do everyday, they may have many questions.  This course presents the most common types of abuse, characteristics of each type of abuse, signs and symptoms, risk factors, and management of abuse. An overview of policies in the United States toward abuse and mandated reporting of child abuse is presented. The course will help nurses recognize the signs of child abuse so they can intervene in a timely manner to help save a child’s life.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Identify the major categories of child abuse and the most common types of child abuse in the United States.
  • Explain the importance of reporting to child protective services as nurses and the general policy toward mandatory reporting of child abuse.
  • Describe the characteristics, signs and symptoms, assessment, and management of different types of child abuse.
  • Explain the importance of efficient and careful history taking with the child and the parent/caregiver.
  • Explain the importance of differential diagnoses in identifying child abuse and other medical conditions that may give the false impression of abuse.
  • Identify risk factors that make certain children more prone to child abuse and certain parents/caregivers more prone to becoming the perpetrators (abusers).
  • Provide children and parents/caregivers with community resources, such as home visiting programs and mental health services, to benefit children who are abused and at-risk for abuse.

About the Author:
Margaret Nihoul Hughes, MSN, RN, CPNP

Margaret Nihoul MSN, RN, CPRNP-PC is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who graduated from the Yale School of Nursing in 2016 with a concentration in global health. Her interest in health care started at young age when she had several opportunities to shadow doctors in France and Belgium. She currently works in student health at a large university in Boston. MA. Prior, she worked at community-based and school-based health centers providing primary care to high-risk, medically underserved populations. She has also worked in a private pediatric clinic in Connecticut and at an overnight summer camp in New York.

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