Exploring strategies for promoting trauma-informed care and reducing burnout in acute care psychiatric nursing

Donna M. Wampole, Sara K. Bressi


Psychiatric nurses in inpatient settings provide person-centered and relationship-based care to persons in acute distress from behavioral health and substance use problems. The emotional labor of this highly interpersonal care is further complicated by the high rates of historical trauma among this population. This article summarizes the impact of trauma on patients in acute psychiatric settings, the impact of challenging organizational contexts and patient distress on nurse burnout, and proposes four strategies for promoting trauma-informed care by inpatient psychiatric nurses including a) promoting education of nurses on the impacts of trauma, b) building support among nurse colleagues, c) emphasizing clinical skills in coping with patient distress, and d) implementing mindfulness skills as a core coping strategy for nurses for managing their reactions to patient distress. Trauma-inforced care holds patient safety as primary to clinical effectiveness and is also crucial for promoting supportive patient-nurse relationships. As such, trauma-informed care has the potential to combat nurse burnout and improve outcomes for patients.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v9n5p110

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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