We are all becoming increasingly aware of trauma – experienced by communities, people receiving our nursing and midwifery care, and by ourselves in our professional work and our everyday lives.
Trauma affects our health and wellbeing. It can be life long and go on to become intergenerational.
Additionally, nurses, midwives and students may experience vicarious trauma; trauma that is experienced ‘second hand’. It diminishes our wellbeing, health, relationships and capacity to give care.
But recovery is always possible.
Thankfully, we are learning more about post-traumatic growth, and ways to nurture health, recovery and care. Reflective practices, wellness projects, recognition and advocacy, talking and listening, professional development and peer supports are all steps in the right direction. And there is always ‘vicarious resilience’ – where we learn and develop our strengths through our care of others.
Health care services are not always mindful of the presence of trauma, and together we must develop and uphold trauma-informed care. We must recognise the impacts of trauma and “do no harm”, avoiding the re-traumatising of people in our care.
We are aware that the regulation of the nursing and midwifery professions must be trauma-informed, which is why the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW is taking an active role in these developments by undertaking training with the Blue Knot Foundation, the National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma. This has many benefits including increased awareness during decision-making and better informed interactions with practitioners, stakeholders and the public.
This is ongoing work for the Council and the professions. For more information on trauma-informed care visit the Blue Knot Foundation. They have plenty of excellent resources and support services available for health practitioners like this fact sheet - Health Professionals working with complex trauma.