As with most skills, practice makes perfect. Becoming a physician or nurse skilled in trauma informed care takes practice. Addressing distress, grief, emotional support, family stressors, and needs beyond medical care doesn't often lead to a comfortable conversation with a patient and family. Especially the first few times you try. Seeking out opportunities to learn and practice trauma informed care skills makes these conversations less intimidating.
More medical schools and hospitals are turning to simulated trainings as a way to incorporate trauma informed care skills, as well as coordinating care between different healthcare providers. At Case Western Reserve University at Cleveland Clinic, trainings emphasize both:
"Their mission: to figure out how to best treat their pretend patient — a 35 year-old woman with hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. In the hypothetical scenario the students have been asked to work through in this training exercise, the patient has come to their clinic with a series of injuries she says she got falling down a flight of stairs. Meanwhile, according to the scenario, her boyfriend is in the lobby acting disruptively. The students discuss and argue about which of the patient's problems to address first, and what to do about the boyfriend."
Even though simulated trainings may provide more realistic setting to practice trauma informed care skills, simply increasing one's knowledge and awareness can prove beneficial:
“One thing we’ve found that’s surprising is how much impact comes just from awareness,” said Becky Dale, the organization’s chief operating officer. Almost immediately, she said, trainers bring the insights into their own institutions, whether it’s public schools, university systems, or health care settings. They start thinking about the implications."
Several online courses, developed by the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress, offer training (and free continuing education credit) to educate healthcare providers on the practical aspects of incorporating trauma informed care into daily patient interactions. These courses include:
- Pediatric Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress: An Introduction for Health Care Professionals (1.1 CEU)
- DEF Protocol series – Learn key skills and how to implement the DEF Protocol with patients
- D is for Distress: Helping Pediatric Patients with Pain, Fears, and Worries (1 CEU)
- E is for Emotional Support: Who and What Does Your Patient Need Now? (1 CEU)
- F is for Family: Remembering Family Stress and Coping (1 CEU)
- For Health Care Professionals: Pediatric Medical Traumatic Stress (PMTS) and Working with the Child Welfare System (1 CEU)