Background Firearms are a leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the U.S. Firearm safe storage is an effective strategy estimated to prevent a substantial proportion of pediatric firearm deaths, especially those due to suicide and unintentional shootings. Research indicates that firearm safe storage counseling in primary care can improve caregivers’ safe storage behaviors. Nurse practitioners (NPs) regularly care for pediatric patients in primary care, but little is known specifically about their perspective regarding these prevention efforts.
Statement of Purpose This research assesses the acceptability and use of firearm screening, safe storage counseling, and firearm lock provision among NPs who care for pediatric primary care patients.
Methods/Approach This research in-progress includes both qualitative interviews (Aim 1) and a cross-sectional quantitative survey (Aim 2) with convenience samples of NPs in Georgia. Aim 1 involves interviews with participants who first complete the quantitative survey to be disseminated in Aim 2. Interview questions address the survey itself (e.g., content, wording) and firearm safe storage screening and counseling experiences. In Aim 2, the survey, which includes items assessing acceptability and current use of evidence-based strategies for increasing caregivers’ safe storage behaviors, will be administered to 150 NPs.
Results Preliminary qualitative data (n=2 to-date) indicate a need for training and materials specifically made available to NPs. NPs note competing priorities (e.g., addressing obesity) and caregivers’ discomfort with disclosing firearm ownership as challenges in delivering safe storage counseling.
Significance Preliminary qualitative data indicate a need for training on safe storage counseling and materials made available through NPs’ professional organizations. Final results will help describe the current state of safe storage counseling among NPs and will be used to inform practice guidelines for NPs who care for pediatric patients in primary care.
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