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Examining Indicators and Barriers to Assessing and Reporting Elder Abuse Among Post-Licensure Nursing Students

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the post-licensure nursing students’ indicators and barriers to assessing and reporting elder abuse by correlating the following variables: 1) years of nursing practice, 2) specialty practice, 3) reported work and personal experiences, 4) and perceived elder abuse knowledge.

Rationale: Identifying barriers to assessing and reporting elder abuse among nurses will help inform practice and academia on designing targeted educational trainings.

Supporting literature: Elder abuse is a global public health problem that requires urgent attention. Elder abuse is hidden, under-reported, and often unrecognized by healthcare providers. Older adults experiencing abuse suffer from comorbidity and increased mortality (Phelan, 2018). Nurses have the legal responsibility as a mandated reporter to assess elder abuse, follow the appropriate reporting process, and ensure appropriate responses are undertaken to mitigate the situation (Phelan, 2018).

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive survey design was used. A convenience sample of 107 nursing students was drawn from the post-licensure undergraduate and graduate nursing programs at an ethnically diverse urban university. Students voluntarily completed a 46-question online survey in spring and fall 2021. Inferential statistical analyses including ANOVA and t-test were conducted to investigate significant predictors of perceived elder abuse assessment and reporting knowledge deficits.

Result: Overall, nursing students’ assessment knowledge scores on elder abuse ranged between 32 to 68 points (on a possible scale of 17-68 points), with an average of 50.3 points (SD: 7.4 points). Their reporting knowledge scores ranged between 14 to 28 points (possible scale of 7-28 points) with an average of 20.1 points (SD: 2.6 points). Having professional or personal experiences and previous knowledge with elder abuse was significantly associated with both increased assessment and reporting knowledge (p


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