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Title: The unseen abyss : registered nurses' experience in working with sex offenders : a hermeneutic phenomenological study
Author: Addo, Mary Aku
ISNI:       0000 0001 3398 186X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis reports a study that aimed to generate a description and (an understanding) of registered nurses’ experiences in working with sex offenders in two high secure settings in the United Kingdom (UK). Nurses, it is argued, play a pivotal role in the rehabilitation of sex offenders (Scheela 1997). Faced with the responsibility for working with sex offenders, nurses encounter a challenging task (Addo 2002). Sexual offence is an emotive subject that engenders many prejudices and blind spots (Prins 1986; O’Rourke 1997). Little evidence exists in the nursing literature regarding this topic in the UK context. This study set out to address this gap. The methodological approach used is that of hermeneutic and phenomenology (Gadamer 1976). A purposeful sample of nine trained nurses working with sex offenders in two high secure settings in the UK participated. Data were collected by in-depth tape-recorded interviews in the participants’ place of work, and analysed using an interpretive approach. The central finding in the present study suggests that the nurses experienced a complex interplay of personal and professional difficulties, and emotional reactions in working with the sex offenders that goes beyond their professional life. This includes Entering the Job, Engaging with Clients; Naivety; Work Environment; Dilemmas; Stress; Personality Change; Feeling Unsupported; Gender Vulnerability; Survival Strategies and Job Rewards. The findings illuminate the impact of these on the realities of the nurse’s work with sex offenders which are described as “The Unseen Abyss- walking into the dark”. It is concluded that the nurses’ narratives provide a thick, rich and meaningful insight into their work with sex offenders, and their need for effective specialist education, supervision and support for such practice. It is recommended that further research is undertaken to examine issues raised in this study, in order to devise and evaluate methods for achieving this preparation for nurses, and the effective provision of support systems to safeguard their practice and occupational health.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available