Resilience-Oriented Education on Secondary Trauma: Impacts on Secondary Traumatic Stress Scores among Psychiatric Registered Nurses
Secondary traumatic stress (STS) is the natural, consequent behaviors and emotions that result from the individual’s knowledge about traumatizing events experienced by another. Psychiatric registered nurses (RN), due to the nature of their jobs, are frequently exposed to significant amount of secondary trauma during nurse-patient interactions. Secondary traumatic stress impacts the physical and emotional health of the nurse, compromises patient outcomes and organizational success. Evidence acknowledges the significant extent of secondary traumatic stress among nurses and is insistent on the necessity for effective interventions to mitigate the impacts of secondary trauma on healthcare professionals. A review of literature suggests that knowledge is a protective factor against secondary traumatic stress, and that nurse resilience also moderates the effects of secondary trauma and other work related stressors. These findings have led to the initiation of an evidence-based project that seeks to assess the efficacy of a resilience-oriented educational intervention in decreasing secondary traumatic stress scores and improving resilience among hospital-based psychiatric registered nurses. This project was guided by the Theory of Cognitive Appraisal and Rosswurm and Larabee’s model for evidence-based practice. Results from this project, despite being non-statistically significant, showed a decrease in STS scores from time-point zero (T0) to time-point one (T1) and increased resilience scores from time-point one (T1) to time-point two (T2), and from time-point zero (T0) to time-point two (T2). This project highlighted a deficit in knowledge of concepts of ST, STS and resilience among psychiatry RNs and inspired an open discussion on STS and other types of work-related stress among psychiatry RNs.