• battered child syndrome;
  • child abuse;
  • paediatric nurses;
  • Poland

pabiś m., wrońska i., ślusarska b. & cuber t. (2011) Paediatric nurses’ identification of violence against children. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(2), 384–393.


Aim.  This paper is a report of an evaluation of paediatric nurses’ assessment and diagnostic skills and interventions used for child maltreatment.

Background.  The use of violence against children occurs in all environments worldwide. Therefore, broader theoretical and practical knowledge related to this issue is needed in health care to facilitate more accurate identification of child maltreatment in order to instigate implementation of appropriate care for these children.

Methods.  The study was based on cross-sectional data obtained with a convenience sample of 160 Registered Nurses employed at paediatric wards at two large cities in Poland (response rate 80%). Data collection took place between December 2005 and March 2006. The research tool was a questionnaire form designed on the basis of international literature concerning battered child syndrome.

Results.  Battered child syndrome seems to be a relatively common phenomenon, as a great majority of participants (86·25%) had encountered it in their practice. The form of child maltreatment which was most often mentioned (by 30·00% of participants) was neglect. Almost three-quarters of the nurses (61·25%; = 98) said that they had been involved in providing care for a maltreated child.

Conclusion.  Nurses should work with maltreated children on an individualized basis, combined with interdisciplinary cooperation with specialists from related disciplines concerned with the issue. There appears to be a need for specialized training for nurses to increase their competence in working with maltreated children and their families.