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.

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.

Buy Depressive Symptom Clusters and Their Relationship With Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Patients with Cancer: The Use of Latent Class Analysis
Cancer Nursing, September/October 2019

Buy Patient-Reported Psychological Distress After Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: Evidence for Post-traumatic Stress
Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation & Prevention, September 2019

Buy Some Patients Show ‘Surprisingly High’ Rates of Long-term PTSD
Oncology Times, March 2018

Buy Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome: What Is It?
Journal of Trauma Nursing, January/February 2018

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 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.
Buy Of Sound Heart and Mind: A Scoping Review of Risk and Protective Factors for Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, and Posttraumatic Stress in People With Heart Disease
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, September/October 2018

Buy Illness Uncertainty and Posttraumatic Stress in Young Adults With Congenital Heart Disease
Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, July/August 2018

Buy A Clinical Evidence-Based Approach to Examine the Effects of mTBI and PTSD Symptoms on ANAM Performance in Recently Deployed Active Duty Soldiers: Results From the Warrior Strong Study
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, March/April 2018

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 Life After Trauma: A Survey of Level 1 Trauma Center Regarding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorder
Journal of Trauma Nursing, September/October 2019

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

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?

Buy  A Narrative Inquiry Into the Experience of Being a Victim of Gun Violence
Journal of Trauma Nursing, November/December 2018

Free Responding to Mass Shootings: Are Hospitals - and Nurses - Fully Prepared?
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, September 2018

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
Free Ending Gun Violence: Putting People Before Politics to Expand Research About Gun Violence
Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, March/April 2016

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. 

CE A Case of Nonfatal Strangulation Associated with Intimate Partner Violence
Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal, July/September 2020

CE The CARE Approach: Supporting Women Who Disclose Intimate Partner Violence
Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! September/October 2019

Buy Screening Women for Intimate Partner Violence: Creating Proper Practice Habits
The Nurse Practitioner, May 2018

Buy Narrative Exposure Therapy: A Proposed Model to Address Intimate Partner Violence-Related PTSD in Parenting and Pregnant Adolescents
Family & Community Health, July/September 2017
CE Intimate Partner Violence in Rural U.S. Areas: What Every Nurse Should Know 
AJN, American Journal of Nursing, May 2014

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.

Buy Brain Volume in Veterans: Relationship to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, July/August 2020

Buy A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on PTSD Following TBI Among Military/Veteran and Civilian Populations
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, January/February 2020

Buy Differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Attribution of Symptoms in Service Members With Combat Versus Noncombat Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, January/February 2020

Buy Cognitive Rehabilitation With Mobile Technology and Social Support for Veterans With TBI and PTSD: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, January/February 2019

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
American Red Cross
PTSD Alliance
National Institute of Mental Health