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Exploring the Lived Experience of Trauma among Obstetric Nurses

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posted on 11.06.2014, 00:00 by Jennifer M. Baxter
Purpose: Trauma is the emotional or psychological state of discomfort or stress resulting from an overwhelming event or series of events while providing direct care. Exposure to trauma has negative consequences for nurses including mental, physical, and/or emotional health issues leading to problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), burnout, poor nursing care, and patient safety risk. Very few studies have explored trauma among obstetric nursing despite their repeated exposure to trauma. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to describe and analyze the lived experiences of obstetric registered nurses encountering trauma while providing direct care. Sample and setting: Ten eligible obstetric nurses were recruited in New York City using convenient, purposive, and snowball sampling. Other data such as the etymological history of the words and idiomatic phrases related to the phenomenon, and experiential descriptions in literature, biographies, diaries, art, and phenomenological literature were also collected. Methods: Approval was obtained from UIC IRB prior to collecting data in addition to a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institute of Nursing Research. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed based on van Manen’s stages of reflective analysis in order to arrive at the essential meaning of the phenomenon. Implications: The critical insight gained from this study provides valuable information to enrich our awareness of trauma among obstetric nurses, to begin a conversation about how to improve the work environment for nurses, and to enhance the care they provide to their patients. Recommendations for practice, education, and research are discussed.



Vonderheid, Susan


Women, Children, and Family Health Sciences

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

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Dancy, Barbara Preib Lannon, Barbara Klima, Carrie

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