In a time following numerous natural disasters and the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, healthcare professionals are reminded how vitally important emergency preparedness protocols are in times of crisis. However, the rippling side effects continue after the initial impact of traumatic incidents. Crises of this size and scale can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among anyone who experiences or witnesses the traumatic event. In the wake of these recent events, Lippincott NursingCenter.com is offering a PTSD continuing education (CE) collection for $1.00 until 12/31/2017. All proceeds from this collection will be donated to the American Red Cross.
Recognizing PTSD Symptoms
Nurses are in the position to make an impact in times of crisis beyond providing acute patient care. In the aftermath, recognizing the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is critically important. Managing PTSD in patients and, at times, amongst peers requires nurses to stay in-the-know on what classifies as PTSD and how they can deliver care. The National Institutes for Mental Health identifies four diagnostic criteria for PTSD (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016):
- At least one re-experiencing symptom (flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts)
- At least one avoidance symptom (staying away from places that are reminders of the trauma, avoiding related thoughts and feelings)
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (startling easily, feeling tense, sleeping difficulty, angry outbursts)
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms (trouble remembering key features of the trauma, negative thoughts about self or the world, guilt or blame, loss of interest in enjoyable activities)
It is imperative for nurses to perpetually learn and prepare for crises of this nature in an effort to provide optimal patient care and patient outcomes. Lippincott NursingCenter.com offers an array of free journal articles and resources that can be found here to help nurses be prepared to exercise their training in an unpremeditated situation and successfully recognize and manage PTSD in patients and peers.
More Reading & Resources
Focus On: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder