A Secondary Traumatic Stress Reduction Program in Emergency Room Nurses

  • Lauren K. Robinson (Northwestern University) (Creator)
  • Laura Sterling (Creator)
  • Joel R. Jackson (Creator)
  • Eric Gentry (Creator)
  • Fabiana Araujo (Creator)
  • Cynthia LaFond (Creator)
  • Kristen C. Jacobson (Creator)
  • Royce Lee (Creator)



IntroductionSecondary traumatic stress is highly prevalent among nurses, especially among nurses working within the emergency department (ED). Reducing healthcare worker secondary traumatic stress is important for ensuring the delivery of high quality, safe patient care. This paper reports on the development and implementation of a secondary traumatic stress reduction program.MethodsWe used an adaption of a 5-week intervention based on the Accelerated Recovery Program to test whether there would be a reduction in secondary traumatic stress in a pilot sample of nine ED nurses. Outcomes were assessed using the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS), Somatic Symptoms Scale (SSS), and Compassion Satisfaction subscale (CSS) measures.ResultsEight of nine nurses were able to complete at least three of the five sessions. Results indicate significant change in STSS (F[5,23] = 4.22, p = .007) and SSS (F[3,15] = 4.42, p = .02) scores, but not CSS (F[5,23] = 0.83, p = .54) scores. Pairwise comparisons revealed that the beneficial effects of the program happened early. For both STSS and SSS, scores at sessions 1 and 2 were generally higher than subsequent sessions. We also found a trend for continued effects on STSS at a four-month follow-up (t23 = 1.95, p = .064).ConclusionOverall, results indicate the 5-week program was associated with a significant reduction in secondary traumatic stress and related somatic symptoms in healthcare workers.
Date made available2022
PublisherSAGE Journals

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