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The Nurse's Role in Supporting Patients and Family in Sharing Personal Accounts of Traumatic Events: A Personal Experience

Donaldson-Andersen, Jill MSN, RN, CNS, CMSRN

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000276
Personal Viewpoint

Life-changing events unfold quickly as trauma nurses provide care for patients during the most vulnerable time of their lives. Nurses also bear the weight of simultaneously caring and providing emotional support for the families of trauma victims. Trauma nurses have a profound responsibility to assist patients and families through this process, as well as having a unique opportunity to encourage families to share their personal stories and experiences. On occasion, some high-profile traumas make their way to the local news and inquiries from the media soon follow. The public has an interest in stories related to trauma and a fascination in the reactions of individuals immediately impacted. These stories have value to the public, as they create opportunities for others to learn, examine personal values and social norms, develop new perspectives, and reflect on the fragility and meaning of life. Personal accounts of traumatic life events can be shared privately or publicly, and nurses should be prepared to provide effective interventions and, on occasion, support families faced with weighing the potential risks and benefits of sharing their story with the media.

Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, California.

Correspondence: Jill Donaldson-Andersen, MSN, RN, CNS, CMSRN, Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (Jill.donaldson@stjoe.org).

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.