Comparison of medical specialization of repeated exposure to secondary trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in pediatric nurses was examined.
The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) was administered to 182 nurses over their first year on the job at a pediatric hospital (three time-points: baseline, 3 month follow-up, and 1 year follow-up). Demographic characteristics (age groups, gender, education, and race) and previous healthcare experience on whether nurses met criteria for no, partial, or full PTSD across all three time-points was examined. Differences in unit assignment on total PTSD symptoms and symptoms of each criterion of PTSD (re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal) were also examined.
No significant differences of both demographic characteristics and previous healthcare experience were found on these PTSD categories. However, both ICU and Hematology/Oncology units were more at risk for developing partial and full PTSD, respectively compared to other units. Nurses in the rehabilitation units had significantly higher re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal symptoms than those assigned to medical/surgical and intensive care units.
Results demonstrate a need for hospitals to assess why nurses from certain units are reporting more PTSD symptoms and screen for PTSD symptoms and other mental health concerns throughout their career.
Being aware of which units may be more at-risk should inform unit-specific prevention and intervention programs to decrease negative outcomes, including burnout, compassion fatigue, and job dissatisfaction.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.