Multidisciplinary collaboration reporting child abuse: A grounded theory study

Jui Ying Feng, Susan Fetzer, Yi Wen Chen, Lily Yeh, Mei Chih Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The complexity of reporting child abuse requires multidisciplinary collaboration. The dynamics of a mulidisciplinary team in reporting child abuse which begins the process of child protection remains unclear. Objective: To explore the experiences and perspectives of professionals working with other disciplines when reporting child abuse. Design: A qualitative study with grounded theory was used. Setting: Participants were recruited from hospitals, the Department of Child Welfare, and schools in Taiwan. Participants: Twenty-one professionals from four disciplines agreed to participate. The purposive sample included 5 physicians, 5 nurses, 6 social workers, and 5 teachers. Method: Individual interviews were conducted to explore the experiences in reporting child abuse of a purposive sample of 21 professionals including physicians, nurses, social workers, and teachers. Transcripts were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Categorical themes were developed that reflected reporters' experiences and perspectives in reporting child abuse. Results: The professionals involved in reported child abuse are described as participants in a relay race. Four themes emerged from the interviews: running the relay race of child protection; reporters as runners with expectations of runners' characteristics and the order of runners; carrying the baton of a mandatory report described using baton characteristics while running in space and time; and team chemistry including trust of and communication with teammates. Systems that encourage and promote team building and collaboration among child abuse reporters are needed. Conclusion: Success in the race to report child abuse across professional disciplines includes runners' skills, speed, a light and easy to carry baton, and team chemistry. As a team of child abuse reporters, when performance is enhanced by practice, the team's success will be measured as victories in child protection. The paradigm of individual disciplines developing their own goals, designing their own training, and practicing within their own regimen needs to be reframed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1490
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Volume47
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)

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