Exploring support systems for nurses involved with safeguarding children
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring support systems for nurses involved with safeguarding children

Joanne Newman Named nurse for safeguarding children, Airedale General Hospital, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Keighley, England
Jackie Vasey Head of division of child, mental health and learning disability nursing, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, England

Why you should read this article
  • To be aware of the emotional effects that nurses involved with safeguarding children may experience

  • To understand the support systems that can benefit nurses involved in safeguarding children work

  • To recognise the differences in nurses’ experience of safeguarding children work based on their demographics, such as level of experience and area of practice

Background Multi-agency working to safeguard children is increasing in the UK. Nurses encounter children who are at risk of, or subject to, abuse and neglect. They are required to be able to recognise indicators that suggest a child may have been abused or neglected and know what actions to take in response as part of their role. Without support to manage the negative effects of their involvement in safeguarding children, nurses can become stressed, and prolonged stress can lead to difficulty engaging in future cases.

Aim To explore the experience of nurses involved in safeguarding children and to identify the systems they access to support them with the emotional effects of this work.

Method This was a phenomenological study that involved semi-structured interviews. The eight study participants were hospital-based nurses who worked in children’s areas and were involved in safeguarding children work. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify themes from the data.

Findings The study identified some of the emotional effects of safeguarding children work experienced by nurses, which can be long lasting. It found that these nurses access various support systems in relation to their safeguarding work, such as case discussion, team support, child supervision and training.

Conclusion It is important that managers understand the potential effects of safeguarding children work, so that they can ensure nurses have access to appropriate support. Managers should also promote access to support systems and address barriers that prevent nurses from accessing them.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2020.e1211

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Newman J, Vasey J (2020) Exploring support systems for nurses involved with safeguarding children. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2020.e1211

Published online: 13 January 2020

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