1. Thede, Linda Q. PhD, RN-BC

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"Intimate Partner Violence in Rural U.S. Areas: What Every Nurse Should Know" (May) brought to mind several personal examples of how health care providers don't take domestic violence seriously. Those who work in hospitals and EDs may now be required to ask patients, "Do you feel safe at home?" But this question is too often asked in a setting that guarantees a positive answer.


For example, after my husband had surgery and was sleepy from the anesthetic, the admitting nurse told me she didn't want to disturb him and that we should go outside the room so she could ask me a few questions. One was, "Is he safe at home?" What did she think I would say? In another recent episode at an ED, when I was in the room, the nurse asked my husband if he was safe at home. I told her she shouldn't ask that question in my presence, but she just shrugged. I doubt if these are isolated examples.


If the patient isn't alone when domestic violence is discussed, it's an exercise in futility. Nurses must also be aware of local resources, so that they can assist victims of partner violence in making a plan, or refer them to someone who can.


Linda Q. Thede, PhD, RN-BC


Aurora, OH