Strength Amid Struggle

Posted on October 22, 2013 by

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The current “editor’s pick” article is a notable example of a nursing perspective that is based on people’s strengths as they face health challenges, not solely on the challenges themselves.  The article, titled “Intimate Partner Violence in Mexican-American Women With Disabilities: A Secondary Data Analysis of Cross-Language Research” is authored by Chris Divin, MSN, RN, FNP; Deborah L. Volker, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN; and Tracie Harrison, PhD, RN.  Ms. Divin shared this background on the work that she completed for this article with her advisors, Drs. Volker and Harrison:

I have had the privilege of being a nurse for over thirty years. Almost half of those years were spent working in Latin America. It was in Venezuela when I worked with a group of health promoters that I first learned of the complexities of intimate partner violence (IPV). Our health group started a support group for women who were living in situations of IPV. We strengthened one another as we sat on hand made cushions in a safe and hidden open air patio behind the clinic. For the “Dia Internacional de la Mujer, International Day of Women,” men, women, and children joined together to paint murals throughout the barrio addressing the reality of IPV.

Until I worked in geriatrics as a nurse practitioner, I, like many people, held the mistaken assumption that IPV is only a phenomenon affecting younger women. I was both surprised and saddened that some of the women I

Chris Divin, MSN, RN, FNP

Chris Divin, MSN, RN, FNP

cared for in their 80s continued to struggle with IPV in their relationships. I presently work as an FNP providing primary care at a domestic violence shelter one day a week where I see the acute effects of abuse. I am passionate about the work I do, not only to raise awareness about IPV but to hope, dream, and continuously wonder what more can be done about this serious but preventable public health issue.

I was reminded at the Nurses Network for Violence against Women Conference in Vancouver earlier this year that nurses are called to be natural advocates for women affected by the multi-faceted health issues of IPV, and belonging to a predominantly female profession, there is tremendous power in numbers. I am delighted to be among nurse researchers who are actively engaged in pursuing a deeper understanding of this phenomenon, especially in the area of long term effects of abuse in an aging population. Not only is it important to recognize the scars of abuse but the amazing strength, perseverance, and peace that women manifest in the midst of their adversities.

Lastly, I, a novice researcher, had the opportunity to work on this study for over a year guided by two most amazing qualitative researchers. I have expressed gratitude to Dr. Harrison repeatedly for the “goldmine” that was handed to me when I was given the opportunity to analyze some of the data that had been collected for an entirely different study; an ethnographic investigation of health disparities and disablement among Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white women aged 55-75 years. I gained deep appreciation for the complex and intricate details that go into a secondary data analysis. I also could not help but wonder how many different research questions could be answered with data obtained for an entirely different objective and study. What richness in the human story and how serendipitous that ANS was soliciting articles for their “Peace and Health” issue as we were actively analyzing these stories for glimpses of peace and health amidst multiple adversities including IPV. We are very grateful for the timing and opportunity to publish in ANS and we appreciate any questions or comments in regards to our article.

Visit the ANS web site to day to download your copy of this article at no charge!  And do make comments here … the authors of ANS articles are eager to hear from you!

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