Care of the abused woman. A hospital's educational program assesses values and beliefs.
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To answer questions about staff's ability to identify, assess, and support victims of woman abuse, St. Joseph's Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, organized a task group that included a cross section of staff and representatives of a local women's shelter. A comprehensive literature review strongly confirmed the need for a program that would provide staff with relevant information about abused women and challenge them to examine their values and beliefs. The task group constructed a questionnaire that included six different scales measuring various aspects of respondents' beliefs and attitudes about woman assault. The educational program for the pilot units included a training video, in-service workshops, a resource training manual, and an assessment tool to assist staff in screening female patients. The survey identified some key areas of concern, including some widely held misconceptions about the causes of abuse. After the educational program, test scores showed significant changes, particularly on scales that measured belief in popular myths and the degree to which respondents held perpetrators responsible for their actions. Overall, the project demonstrated that values and beliefs related to woman assault can be significantly affected by an educational approach that combines information sharing with the opportunity for dialogue and questions.
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