Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 12(1) January 1999 : 23-26.doi:10.12927/cjnl.1999.19068

Working Together Toward The Issue of Conjugal Violence: The Work Of An Interdisciplinary Task Force

Suzanne Bonhomme and Michael Ratcliffe


In 1995 each of the Professional Councils at the Royal Victoria Hospital endorsed the creation of an Interdisciplinary Task Force on Conjugal Violence. Task force members were drawn from Medicine, Nursing and Social Work. The overall goal was to increase the quality of care that the interdisciplinary team could provide to their patients. This mandate encompassed three major tasks. First, to study the extent of awareness about the issue among health care professionals; second, to assess their needs for resources and education; and finally, to recommend and implement means of increasing the level of awareness of this health concern among professionals and patients. The task force members educated themselves about conjugal violence and developed a questionnaire that was distributed to health care professionals within the hospital. The number of individuals from each discipline who received the survey was proportionate to their actual number in the center and selected at random. Results of the survey indicated that all groups desired more information and education about the scope of the problem as well as means for assessing and intervening with patients who are abused. The task force developed a Conjugal Abuse Information Package, and Abuse Assessment Screen, a Public Awareness Program and an Ongoing Teaching Program for Health Care Professionals. This project provides and example of how an interdisciplinary health care team can successfully work together for the benefit of patients.

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