Impacts of Past Experience of Abuse on a Nurse Dealing with Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence and its effects are one of the major problems facing health care delivery today. By being among the frontline workers, nurses constantly face domestic violence victims requiring both physical and psychological care. A nurse’s previous experience with abuse has both positive and negative effects on his/her clinical decisions when dealing with domestic violence victims. One of the positive impacts is that the experience acts as an important reference in understanding the current situation (Alaseeri, Rajab, & Banakhar, 2019). In this case, a nurse relates his/her experience with that of the victim and thus can have a clear understanding of what transpired. Secondly, having gone through the same ordeal and successfully came out of it, a nurse can prescribe the best treatment model based on firsthand experience. Also, a nurse’s past experience can help develop a relationship with the patient after sharing his/her experience which earns trust from the patient (Alaseeri et al., 2019). Notably, establishing a trusting relationship between a patient and a healthcare provider has been shown to significantly improve health outcomes.

Apart from the positive impacts, past experience with abuse can have negative effects on nurses especially those who are still in the healing process. Çelik and Aydin (2019) note that after a traumatic experience, most victims suffer from flashbacks which are quite detrimental to the healing process. Dealing with a domestic violence victim for such a nurse might thus be a source of flashbacks. This may make a nurse unable to focus fully on such patients as dealing with them brings back dreaded memories. Secondly, having had a similar experience in the past might impair a nurse’s decision as they may want to force their circumstances to fit that of the patient. For this reason, nurses need to understand that there are many facets of domestic abuse which need to be dealt with differently (Çelik & Aydin, 2019). Forcing a patient to undertake certain treatment methods just because it worked on a different case is a wrong clinical decision based on assumptions.


  • Alaseeri, R., Rajab, A., & Banakhar, M. (2019). Factors Influencing Nurses’ Decision-Making Process: An Integrative Literature Review. Retrieved from
  • Çelik, S. A., & Aydın, A. (2019). The effect of a course on violence against women on the attitudes of student midwives and nurses towards domestic violence against women, their occupational roles in addressing violence, and their abilities to recognize the signs of violence. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care55(2), 210-217.