Child and Adolescent Health
Child abuse is a significant social issue, which has the potential to impact on normal growth
development and increase health risks for the individual throughout the lifespan. Nurses have a vital
role in recognising abuse, and providing patient-centered care to improve outcomes for vulnerable
infants and children. The purpose of assessment task one is to analyse the data provided within the
scenario to identify potential markers of abuse. You are encouraged to explore the risks that abuse
may pose to the health, wellbeing and development of an infant, and to consider your professional
responsibilities in caring for infants and children who may have experienced abuse.
You are working in the Emergency Department when Emma, a 3-month-old girl is brought in by her
mother Jamie, with a 12-hour history of vomiting and lethargy for investigation. On examination, Emma
is difficult to rouse and does not remain awake as you take her vital signs. Emma is noted to have several
small, oval shaped bruises to her torso, as well as bruising to the occiput. When asked how the bruises
occurred, Jamie is vague, saying that Emma rolled off the couch last night. As you are completing your
assessment, Emma experiences a seizure, requiring transfer to the resuscitation bay.
Discuss the potential impact of abuse on the development and wellbeing of the infant.
Identify factors in Emma’s presentation that may indicate that she has been abused,
and describe your professional responsibilities if abuse is suspected.