Objective To evaluate the effectiveness of an electronic learning (e-learning) programme on the performance of nurses in the recognition of child abuse in a simulated case in the Emergency Department (ED).
Design Blinded, randomised controlled trial using pre- and postintervention design.
Setting The ED of a University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
Participants 38 ED nurses were included, 25 nurses were analysed.
Intervention Half of the participants followed a 2-h e-learning programme focused on the recognition of child abuse, the others acted as a control group.
Main outcome measurements Individual performance during a case-simulated parent interview to detect child abuse and self-reported self-efficacy for the detection of child abuse. Performance on the simulation was scored by an expert panel using a standardised assessment form which was designed to score quantity and quality of the questions posed by the nurse (minimum score 0; maximum score 114).
Results During post-test, nurses in the intervention group performed significantly better during the simulation than the control group, (89 vs 71, 95% CI 2.9 to 33.3), and reported higher self-efficacy (502 vs 447, 95% CI −25.4 to 134.7). Performance in detecting child abuse correlated positively with the self-efficacy score (Spearman correlation 0.387, p value 0.056). Comparing post- and pretest results separately for the intervention and the control group showed a significant increase in performance in the intervention group.
Conclusion E-learning improved the performance in case simulations and the self-efficacy of the nurses in the ED in the detection of child abuse. Wider implementation of the e-learning programme to improve the first step in the detection of child abuse is recommended.
Trial registration Protocol registration system of clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00844571
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DMB-vH and JSS contributed equally to this work.
Funding The study was funded by Augeo foundation.
Competing interests None.
Contributors AEFNS, DMB-vH, OTJtC, NMT and EMvdP conceived the study and together with JSS and IMBR participated in the design of the trial and intervention. The expert panel consisted of EMvdP, JSS and IMBR. All authors participated in the acquisition and analysis of data and in critical revision of the manuscript and approved the final version.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.