Secondary traumatic stress in the emergency department

Morrison, L. E. and Joy, J. P. (2016) Secondary traumatic stress in the emergency department. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(11), pp. 2894-2906. (doi: 10.1111/jan.13030) (PMID:27221701)

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Aim: To investigate the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress among Emergency nurses in the West of Scotland and explore their experiences of this. Background: Unexpected death, trauma and violence are regular occurrences that contribute to the stressful environment nurses working in the Emergency department experience. A potential consequence of repeated exposure to such stressors can be referred to as secondary traumatic stress. Design: Triangulation of methods of data collection, using two distinct phases: Phase 1 – quantitative Phase 2 – qualitative Methods: Quantitative data were collated via postal questionnaire, from a convenience sample of Emergency nurses. Qualitative data were subsequently collated from a focus group constituting of a random sample of these Emergency nurses. Descriptive statistics were computed and thematic analysis conducted. All data were collated during February 2013. Results/findings: 75% of the sampled Emergency nurses reported at least one secondary traumatic stress symptom in the last week. Participants said that acute occupational stressors such as resuscitation and death were the influencing factors towards this. Strategies such as formal debriefing and social support were cited as beneficial tools for the management of secondary traumatic stress; however, barriers such as time and experience were found to inhibit their common use. Conclusion: Secondary traumatic stress is a prevalent phenomenon among Emergency nurses in the West of Scotland and if not managed appropriately, could represent a significant barrier to the mental health of this group and their capacity to provide quality care.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Joy, Mrs Jane and Morrison, Miss Lindy
Authors: Morrison, L. E., and Joy, J. P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Nursing and Health Care
Journal Name:Journal of Advanced Nursing
ISSN (Online):1365-2648
Published Online:25 May 2016
Copyright Holders:
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<fragment>Copyright © 2016  John Wiley & Sons Ltd</fragment>
First Published:First published in Journal of Advanced Nursing 72(11):2894-2906
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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