In April, health professionals come together to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. Let’s highlight the work Advanced Practice Providers (APP) do each day to improve the physical, social, and emotional well-being of America’s children.
The national statistics on child abuse are sobering. According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly 700,000 children are abused each year in the US. Most of these children are suffering from neglect; it’s estimated that 25% suffer from physical or sexual abuse. In over 75% cases, the abusers are the child’s own parents. But sadly, many cases are not reported, indicating the numbers of abused children are much higher.
One of the most difficult aspects of being a pediatric NP or PA is seeing the effects of child abuse first-hand, effects that may last long into adulthood. Advanced Practice Providers are trained to recognize and address the physical and emotional needs of a scared and hurting child when he or she is most vulnerable. As a health care provider, you have the vital responsibility not only for identifying and treating child abuse and neglect, but for raising awareness of the child abuse epidemic in this country and advocating for all children to live safe, happy, and healthy lives.
Many hospitals and clinics are promoting activities and awareness campaigns this month. There may also be events in your area hosted by local law enforcement or child protective services organizations. As an Advanced Practice leader, your presence at these events not only shows solidarity for children in need, it also reminds the public that child abuse is an issue that affects entire communities.
Is a Career in the Field of Child Advocacy Right for You?
If you’re an APP with a passion for child welfare, you might enjoy a career in a Children’s Advocacy Center or the Child Abuse unit of a children’s hospital. Recognizing the severity of the problem, some children’s hospitals have established Centers of Excellence for Child Abuse. In most cases, these centers are staffed by multidisciplinary teams of healthcare providers, mental health specialists, social workers, and legal professionals who work together to evaluate and serve victims and their families.
Typical responsibilities of a PNP or PA in this role include health histories, physical examinations, plans of care and treatment, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and procedures, inpatient and outpatient treatment, services, and referrals, and patient and family education. It’s a difficult job, but one where the rewards include knowing that you’re providing healing and hope to child victims of abuse and neglect.
For pediatric job opportunities, click here to see our listing of open positions.
Great Child Abuse Prevention Resources to Read this Month
If you’d like to know more about helping children and families who are affected by child abuse or neglect, the following resources may be helpful.
2016/2017 Prevention Resource Guide: Building Community, Building Hope
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau
What Every Nurse Needs to Know about the Clinical Aspects of Child Abuse
American Nurse Today
Child Maltreatment & Neglect Special Interest Group
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Evaluation of Physical Abuse in Children
Advance Healthcare Network
What about you? How are you recognizing National Child Abuse Awareness Month? What do you think is important for the public to know about this critical issue? Leave us a comment!
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.