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Intimate Partner Violence in Rural U.S. Areas: What Every Nurse Should Know

Dudgeon, Amanda MS, APRN, FNP-C; Evanson, Tracy A. PhD, RN, APHN-BC

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: May 2014 - Volume 114 - Issue 5 - pp 26,35
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000446771.02202.35
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Overview: Intimate partner violence is a major health care issue, affecting nearly 6% of U.S. women annually. Multiple mental and physical health problems are associated with intimate partner violence, and billions of health care dollars are spent in trying to address the consequences. Although prevalence rates of intimate partner violence are roughly the same in rural and nonrural areas, rural survivors face distinct barriers in obtaining help and services. Because rural women routinely access health care services in nonrural as well as rural settings, it's essential that all providers understand the issues specific to rural survivors. Routine screening for intimate partner violence would create opportunities for women to disclose abuse and for providers to help victims obtain assistance and support that may keep them safer. This in turn would likely decrease serious health sequelae and lower health care costs. This article describes the unique aspects of intimate partner violence in rural populations. It also describes a simple screening tool that can be used in all settings, discusses ways to approach the topic and facilitate disclosure, and addresses interventions; relevant resources are also provided.

This article describes the unique aspects of intimate partner violence in rural populations and provides nurses with tools and information vital to effective intervention.

Amanda Dudgeon is an NP in the Cancer Center at Altru Health System, Grand Forks, ND. Tracy A. Evanson is an associate professor in the Department of Nursing, College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. Contact author: Tracy A. Evanson, tracy.evanson@email.und.edu. The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.