Women exposed to intimate partner violence: a Foucauldian discourse analysis of South African emergency nurses’ perceptions

  • Anna van der Wath
Keywords: Intimate partner violence, Foucauldian discourse analysis, emergency nursing.


Background: Emergency nurses’ understanding and interpretation of intimate partner violence influence the care they provide to women exposed to intimate partner violence.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to uncover discourses that may help understand emergency nurses’ responses towards women exposed to intimate partner violence
Materials and methods: This study used a qualitative design to explore emergency nurses’ discourses. Purposive sampling was used to select 15 participants working at an emergency unit in a public hospital in South Africa. Data were collected through three focus group discussions comprised of five emergency nurses each. Foucauldian discourse analysis was used to analyse the transcribed data.
Results: Four themes emerged from the focus group discussions: (1) strong women subject themselves to societal expectations and endure intimate partner violence, (2) women are vulnerable and powerless against intimate partner violence, (3) intimate partner violence is a private and secret phenomenon, and (4) emergency nurses have limited scope to intervene when they encounter women exposed to intimate partner violence.
Conclusion: Emergency nurses are in a position to intervene in intimate partner violence through portraying a non-judgmental approach that lay the foundation for disclosure, supporting women to change their intimate partner violence (IPV) situations, documentation, referral and safety planning.

Keywords: Intimate partner violence, Foucauldian discourse analysis, emergency nursing.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905