Emergency nurses’ understanding and interpretation of intimate partner violence influence the care they provide
to women exposed to intimate partner violence.
The aim of this study was to uncover discourses that may help understand emergency nurses’ responses towards
women exposed to intimate partner violence
Materials and methods:
This study used a qualitative design to explore emergency nurses’ discourses. Purposive sampling was
used to select 15 participants working at an emergency unit in a public hospital in South Africa. Data were collected through
three focus group discussions comprised of five emergency nurses each. Foucauldian discourse analysis was used to analyse the
Four themes emerged from the focus group discussions: (1) strong women subject themselves to societal expectations
and endure intimate partner violence, (2) women are vulnerable and powerless against intimate partner violence, (3) intimate
partner violence is a private and secret phenomenon, and (4) emergency nurses have limited scope to intervene when they encounter women exposed to intimate partner violence.
Emergency nurses are in a position to intervene in intimate partner violence through portraying a non-judgmental
approach that lay the foundation for disclosure, supporting women to change their intimate partner violence (IPV) situations,
documentation, referral and safety planning.
Cite as: van der Wath A. Women exposed to intimate partner violence: a Foucauldian discourse analysis of South African emergency nurses’ perceptions. Afri Health Sci.2019;19(2): 1849-1857. https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v19i2.7