Objectives: To explore the extent of child protection work performed by nurses and identify which interventions hold the strongest evidence for future practice.
Design: This scoping review was guided by Arksey and O'Malley's framework for scoping reviews.
Data Sources: Electronic databases (CINAHL, Medline, Scopus, Web of Science) and grey literature were searched in August 2017. Further studies were identified through manual literature searching.
Results: Forty-one studies from seven countries met the inclusion criteria. The studies showed nurses keep children safe primarily through the prevention of abuse (n = 32), but also through detection of abuse (n = 1) and interventions to mitigate the effects of abuse (n = 8). Nurses' specific interventions most frequently involved post-natal home visiting (n = 20), parent education (n = 10) and assessment and care of children or adolescents following sexual abuse (n = 4). The main findings showed that although nurses did have positive impacts upon some measures of abuse and neglect, results were not consistent across studies. In addition, some studies used indirect measures of abuse and neglect, which may not impact children's experiences of abuse. It is difficult to extrapolate these findings to the broader nursing profession as literature did not accurately represent the range of ways that nurses keep children safe from abuse and neglect.
Conclusions: This review demonstrated nurses prevent, detect and respond to abuse and neglect in many ways. However, given mixed evidence and absence of some nurse interventions in the literature, further research is needed to represent the range of ways that nurses keep children safe and determine their effectiveness.