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Accid Emerg Nurs. 2003 Apr;11(2):75-81.

Adolescents accessing emergency contraception in the A&E department - a feminist analysis of the nursing experience.

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University of Salford School of Nursing, Peel House Albert Road, Eccles, M30 ONN, UK.


This paper outlines the findings and discussion of a qualitative research study that focused on the experiences of seven qualified nurses working in three Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments in the North West of England. It was exploratory in nature, aiming to describe and explain the nurses' encounters with adolescents accessing emergency contraception (EC) in A&E. The study was carried out using a feminist methodology and a grounded theory method. The findings indicated that accident and emergency is a contradictory location for access to EC for adolescents, where the 'promise' of easy, confidential access contrasts sharply with the nurse's description of reality. The nurse's role is similarly contrasting, where their ideal is counter balanced by organisational limits, and is further shaped by both personal and professional guiding philosophies. The nurse's perceptions of the adolescents revealed the contradiction of both sympathetic and judgmental attitudes towards them, including an 'interpretation' of the reasons the adolescents gave for their attendance. These encounters led to a series of health, legal, and moral dilemmas for the nurses, and a strategy of referral of the adolescents to other agencies was used by them whenever possible.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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