One of my favorite parts of working in residential was the amount of training I received in the first few weeks of orientation. I didn’t realize that until I left residential and worked inpatient, but we will talk about that in a few weeks.
There was a two-week orientation period where you had to sit and listen to people talk for hours; you know, about the values of the company and benefits of being employed, etc.
After the first week, the second week was full of actual useful information that I truly believe every single facility should be implementing regarding properly de-escalating a child. While going through the training doesn’t instantly make you an expert, it’s an incredible place to start, especially if you have had no experience working with this population.
We had to watch videos on brain development and the effects trauma has on a child. It was one of those videos from the seventies where you really had a hard time staying awake to watch it if you weren’t interested in the material. Even after going through nursing school, I still was learning new information from watching them and while they clearly need updated, I, again, think that this information should be taught everywhere, especially now as we continue to explore new brain findings!
Trauma-informed care should not just be taught to mental health organizations. Schools, corporate offices, small businesses, hospitals, restaurants. This is information that everyone needs in order to, for lack of better terms, not be an asshole.
As previously discussed a few weeks ago, everyone has trauma, but not everyone’s brain reacts to trauma in the same way. It is also certain that no one truly knows the affect that a trauma had on someone.
Two people can experience the same traumatic event and yet respond in a totally different way. For example, two nurses who work in the ICU tried for hours to save someone’s life. The patient didn’t survive, despite their best efforts. One nurse was able to go home with no issues as she had seen this many times. The other nurse, a new grad, had never been a part of such thing and was crying for weeks. The next time she had a patient that coded, she froze, not being able to react. The trauma was overwhelming her brain and she never allowed herself time to process it. Unprocessed trauma leads to PTSD. This is just one of a million examples of how trauma effects people differently.
Now, lets say the more experienced nurse, the one who had worked in the ICU for years, who was not as distraught about the loss of the patient, was working with the new grad again a few nights later. Another patient started to code, and the experienced nurse goes to help. The new grad, again, freezes up and starts to shake. The experienced nurse yells at her, tells her to leave the room, and shortly after the code, tells the new grad that she needs a new job and isn’t cut out for this work. She then tells her to suck it up and go take care of the other patients.
Needless to say, the new grad who is already traumatized from the death of her first patient, is now second-guessing her career choice as a nurse. Had the experienced nurse talked to her after the first code and educated her and helped her talk through the experience, things could have ended different for the new grad.
Had the experienced nurse been educated on trauma-informed care, she would have known a better way to help the new grad and help her to develop into a confident nurse.
Again, this is why I think it is so important that everyone have this knowledge!
Trauma-informed care has multiple definitions, but to put it simply, it’s treating every person you meet as if they have had a trauma.
There is obviously a lot more to it than that, but that is the basis.
Honestly, it’s so simple.
Treating every person you meet with respect and a nonjudgmental attitude is the first step. You never know what someone is going through or has been through. You never know what a person is feeling at that very moment.
In the upcoming weeks, a new three-part lecture about trauma informed care will be available! Also, in the monthly newsletter, more will be discussed about it. Stay-tuned!