Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma hurts.

Trauma hurts many more people than are able or willing to admit it... and it hurts for long after the initial injury occurs.

As nurses, we will come across people with all experiences of trauma and in all stages of healing. Remember not only that there is hope for healing ( but also that it is a long, hard process that some people may not be ready to undertake.

It's also important to realize that trauma may not be visible. Often the invisible traumas are much deeper, harder to overcome, and harder to recognize because one learns to function with pieces missing. The younger someone is when experiencing trauma, the harder to identify, process, and heal from.

What can you do about trauma? 

It starts with acknowledging the pervasive quality of trauma. Then understanding the effects trauma has on a person - physical, emotional, and psychological. 

What to do with someone else who has experienced trauma? I found this website helpful. 

Listen. Openly listen to what they have to say. Talking helps. Listen without trying to "fix" what they share. Just listen and hold space for them. 

Learn their triggers. Everyone has them, but they may not even know what they are.

Don't judge. Understand that every story has multiple "sides" and it is not your place to determine right/wrong or good/bad or any number of other things. Just be present.

Don't take over. You cannot fix it, so don't try!

Respect privacy and confidence.

Help them find support. There are counselors trained specifically for trauma - both in the medical community (psychiatrist/psychologist) and in the spiritual community (chaplains/pastors/priests/rabbis).

Take care of yourself!!!

*Secondary trauma is real. You need your own support system. 

Trauma Care

Whether from personal trauma in your life or traumatic experiences you've witnessed as a caregiver, it is crucial to find the support you need. There are some options listed under resources - and you may find support in unexpected places. For example, I recently began talking to a fellow coworker who is a grief and trauma chaplain. Feel free to peruse some of the resources he has on his website: