Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
When I first read the title of this article when it arrived in manuscript form I assumed it referred to patients but then realised it referred to nurses and the effect that working in emergency care can have on them. And it makes sense. I always consider emergency nurses as a relatively robust bunch. I have to confess - as a nurse who formerly and exclusively worked with older people - that emergency care never appealed to me and my very brief encounters with it as a student and in the army left me a quivering wreck...and nothing even happened. Imagine if it had.
This article from Scotland by Morrison and Joy (2016) titled: 'Secondary traumatic stress in the emergency department' and published in JAN aimed to 'To investigate the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress among emergency nurses in the West of Scotland and explore their experiences of this.' It used quantitaive and qualitative methods and studies 80 nurses in 4 hospitals.
The results are alarming in that 75% of nurses reported recently at least one secondary traumatic stress (STS) symptom and 39% could be classified as suffering from STS. The work shows some similarrity and some differences from previous work on the same phenomenon in the USA. Acknowledging some limitations of their work, the authors conclude: 'Further research is required to corroborate these results and findings and develop the evidence base further, with particular regard to the effects of STS among Emergency nurses of differing levels of experience and the impact of this on the provision of quality patient care.'
You can listen to this as a podcast
MORRISON L.E. & JOY J.P. (2016) Secondary traumatic stress in the emergency department Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 1 10.1111/jan.13030