Nursing Assessment & Interventions for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur in any individual who has experienced a traumatic event. Signs and symptoms may be difficult to recognize, but as nurses, we can use critical thinking to assess patients at risk. We are positioned to make an impact by identifying patients and advocating for treatment. The resources below are available to help nurses successfully recognize and manage PTSD in patients and ourselves. You’ll also find content related to specific traumatic events that can contribute to PTSD. Make sure you’re familiar with these issues and how they impact the care you provide.

 CE Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Earn 5.5 contact hours. $19.99

Nursing Assessment for PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder can occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as physical or sexual assault, an accident, war, natural disaster, or unexpected death of a loved one. Feelings of fear, shock, anger, anxiety, and guilt are prolonged and interfere with the ability to function socially, at work, and in relationships. For diagnosis, the person must be experiencing a certain number of symptoms in four specific categories: re-experiencing; avoidance; persistent negative alterations in cognitions and mood; and alterations in arousal and activity.

Free Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Overview
Lippincott Professional Development Collection
[This course is for information only.  Please disregard references to CE credit within the body of the course.]

Buy Addressing Traumatic Stress in the Acute Traumatically Injured Patient
Journal of Trauma Nursing, March/April 2017
Buy The PTSD Toolkit for Nurses: Assessment, intervention, and referral of veterans
The Nurse Practitioner, March 2017
CE Getting to the Bottom of PTSD
Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, March/April 2015
CE The Impact of Event Scale– Revised: A quick measure of a patient's response to trauma
American Journal of Nursing, November 2008

Interventions for PTSD

Treatment of PTSD involves psychotherapy, medication, or both. Learn about the various types of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapies and medications used as first-line treatments, as well as other medications and supplemental therapies used to augment treatment or help manage specific symptoms.

Free Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Management
Lippincott Professional Development Collection
[This course is for information only.  Please disregard references to CE credit within the body of the course.]

CE Trauma-Informed Care: Helping Patients with a Painful Past
Journal of Christian Nursing, October/December 2016

Buy Cannabis for posttraumatic stress disorder: A neurobiological approach to treatment
The Nurse Practitioner, January 2016

PTSD and Nurses

Anyone can develop PTSD, including families of victims, emergency personnel and rescue workers, and children. Learn about secondary-traumatic stress and PTSD in nurses, and be able to recognize the symptoms in yourself and your colleagues.

CE Debrief in Emergency Departments to Improve Compassion Fatigue and Promote Resiliency
 Journal of Trauma Nursing, September/October 2017

Buy The Impact of a Violent Physical Assault on a Registered Nurse: Her Healing Journey and Return to Work
Journal of Forensic Nursing, April/June 2017
CE Secondary Posttraumatic Stress and Nurses' Emotional Responses to Patient's Trauma
Journal of Trauma Nursing, March/April 2017
CE Secondary Traumatic Stress in Trauma Nurses: Prevalence and Exposure, Coping, and Personal/Environmental Characteristics
Journal of Trauma Nursing, October/December 2010

Gun Violence & PTSD

There have been over 270 mass casualty events in 2017 as a result of gun violence, and the number of persons directly and indirectly affected is immeasurable. What can we, as nurses, do about gun violence?

Free Plunging Forward in the Aftermath of the Las Vegas Tragedy
Lippincott NursingCenter, October 2017

Buy Can Health Care Professionals Do Anything About Gun Violence?
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, May 2017
Buy Violence Is a Public Health Issue
Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, November/December 2016
Free Ending Gun Violence: Putting People Before Politics to Expand Research About Gun Violence
Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, March/April 2016

Free Is there a Cure for Gun Violence?
Lippincott NursingCenter, January 2016

Buy Can Health Care Professionals Do Anything About Gun Violence?
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, May 2017

Domestic Violence & PTSD

As with other traumatic events, victims and witnesses of domestic violence can suffer lasting effects and develop PTSD. Learn about screening programs, risk factors, approaching the topic, and appropriate interventions. 

Buy Implementing a Domestic Violence Screening Program
Journal of Trauma Nursing, May/June 2015
CE Intimate Partner Violence in Rural U.S. Areas: What Every Nurse Should Know 
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, May 2014
CE What Are Barriers to Nurses Screening for Intimate Partner Violence?
Journal of Trauma Nursing, July/September 2013

CE  Domestic Violence

Lippincott Professional Development

Veterans & PTSD

PTSD is a significant mental health disorder among veterans. Review the relevance of PTSD in the veteran population along with known barriers to care, common concomitant conditions, evidence-based treatment options, and the role of the nurse in identifying and treating veterans with PTSD.

CE Veteran Women: Mental Health-Related Consequences of Military Service: A Review of Recent Research and its Relevance for Nurses in All Settings
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, November 2016
CE Military Sexual Trauma in Male Service Members
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, September 2016

Buy Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the Combat Veteran
Professional Case Management, January/February 2015

CE Caring for Veterans
Lippincott Professional Development


American Red Cross
PTSD Alliance
National Institute of Mental Health