A qualitative study: “Exploring Nurses’ Knowledge and Experiences Related to Trauma-Informed Care”, which explored nurses’ understandings and experiences related to trauma-informed care, was presented at the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health).
“Trauma-informed care is an emerging concept that acknowledges the lasting effects of trauma. Nurses are uniquely positioned to play an integral role in the advancement of trauma-informed care. However, knowledge related to trauma-informed care in nursing practice remains limited. The purpose of this article is to present the results of a qualitative study which explored nurses’ understandings and experiences related to trauma-informed care.”
“Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurses and four categories emerged from the analysis: (a) Conceptualizing Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, (b) Nursing Care and Trauma, (c) Context of Trauma-Informed Care, and (d) Dynamics of the Nurse-Patient Relationship in the Face of Trauma. These findings highlight important considerations for trauma-informed care including the complex dynamics of trauma that affect care, the need to push knowledge about trauma beyond mental health care, and noteworthy parallels between nursing care and trauma-informed care.”
Conceptualizing Trauma and TIC
“This category captured the participants’ understandings of trauma and its effects on their practice. Most participants reported not receiving formal trauma-informed education as part of their schooling and, as a result, very few stated that they were familiar with the actual concept of TIC. Instead, participants described what trauma and trauma-sensitive care meant to them. Furthermore, participants described how their motivation to learn about trauma stemmed from their own experiences, from their patients’ experiences, or from family and friends who experienced trauma. Learning about trauma and its effects on patients was more of an inductive process where they saw a need to better understand trauma in practice, thus prompting them to explore it in more detail.”
Nursing Care and Trauma
“In this category, the participants’ views of providing nursing care in the context of trauma are described. Participants emphasized that TIC is pertinent to all patients regardless of setting, not just in psychiatric/mental health care, where trauma care is traditionally considered relevant. According to participants, nursing care from a trauma-informed perspective was related to (2.1) basic nursing practice, (2.2) labels and preconceptions, and (2.3) safety and control.”
Context of TIC
“Further to discussing the role of trauma in nursing care, participants suggested specific contextual factors that influence the application of TIC in practice. Participants commented on the nursing profession as becoming more methodological and quantified, particularly with advances in technology. Participants questioned the effects of quantification on nursing care and fostering approaches that support TIC.”
Dynamics of the Nurse-Patient Relationship in the Face of Trauma
“In this category, the participants’ recounts of how trauma can complicate the nurse-patient relationship along several dimensions are explained. These included the aspects of how care can traumatize (or re-traumatize) patients, how nurses might vicariously and/or directly be traumatized by their patients, and how trauma is a dynamic process that affects nurses beyond the individual nurse-patient relationship.”
TIC: Beyond Mental Health Care
“Given that TIC is an emerging concept within nursing, we recruited nurses from diverse practice areas and purposefully did not specify nursing specialty. Interestingly, through this strategy, our sample consisted entirely of participants who identified primarily as mental health nurses, suggesting that mental health nurses overall are more attuned to and familiar with TIC. Yet, most participants in this study acknowledged a need for TIC within all areas of nursing. This need to push the boundaries of TIC beyond mental health is also reflected in the literature (e.g., Kassam-Adams et al., 2015; Ko et al., 2008; Reeves, 2015).”
“In this study, we explored nurses’ understandings and experiences with TIC. While the participants were not familiar with the term TIC, their understandings of trauma and what it means to care from a trauma-sensitive perspective closely resembled existing definitions of the concept. Interestingly, the participants did not describe TIC as a unique philosophy of care but instead emphasized how TIC is fundamentally part of nursing care, with an emphasis on holism and the therapeutic relationship. An important finding of this study, which is not yet described in existing literature, is the complex dynamics of the nurse–patient interaction in the context of trauma. (Re)traumatization is possible for both the patient and the nurse and trauma may perpetuate more trauma through these interactions. More work is needed in this area to fully understand this complex interplay. Finally, several contextual elements complicating the implementation of TIC in practice are explored. These elements need to be addressed if efforts aimed at improving TIC are to be successful.”
Read the full article: Exploring Nurses’ Knowledge and Experiences Related to Trauma-Informed Care.