Publication Date



School of Nursing


Nursing (B.S.N.)


child abuse, nursing, mental health, pediatrics


Family Practice Nursing | Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Pediatric Nursing | Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing


Nurses experience the relationship dynamics between pediatric patients and their families firsthand. Being informed by the goals of holistic care, nurses should be assessing for unhealthy dynamics among pediatric patients and their caregivers so they can respond appropriately when a potential for abuse is present. Healthcare workers have the duty to provide safety and healing to their patients. Through the unique contact nurses have with patients, their training for accurate assessment skills, and their responsibility as healthcare workers, nurses are placed with the opportunity to help children out of abusive situations. Prompt identification of the potential for abuse can prevent a child from experiencing an abusive situation or save them from actual abuse already occurring. By virtue of their age and inability to fully care for themselves, children belong to a vulnerable population. They often lack the ability to defend themselves or speak up when they are being abused. Research studies have identified risk factors for abuse, the effects of abuse on children both long and short term, and the implications of this information on healthcare professionals. Nurses who are knowledgeable about these aspects related to abuse can use the accessible pathways to help a child out of abuse. There is a potential for further research about the best ways to handle situations that have been accurately identified as abuse. Since each child’s situation is different, research should be conducted to guide the follow-up with children experiencing abuse and the role of nurses in the child’s care.