Insufficient time typifies a common concern of doctors and nurses when implementing trauma informed care. While screening a pediatric patient and family for psychosocial risks requires a few additional minutes, at its essence, practicing trauma informed care asks physicians and nurses to view patient interactions through a trauma informed lens.
In other words, applying the understanding that an injury or illness can be traumatic experiences and patients and families enter the medical systems with an array of coping skills and past trauma, which affect their ability to cope with their current medical event. Providing care through a trauma informed lens may take no additional time. In fact, it can be as simple as taking note of how you communicate with patients, as Dr. Madelaine Feldman did:
I recognized the tone in his voice. I recognized the clipped words and the unmistakable undertone of bother and dismay. I recognized them because I have had the same tone, the same clipped speech and latent frustration in my voice when speaking to a patient that:
- I knew was going to be difficult (real or imagined), and whose yes/no question could have easily been answered by my MA.
- I had already spent an extra 20 minutes going over the instructions again and again.
- I had just spoken to twice that morning on the phone.
When physicians and nurses recognize their own stress and how it impacts their communication with patients. Dr. Feldman shares her tips:
- I should take a few deep breaths before returning a call from a “difficult” patient.
- I should listen first before assuming anything.
- I should definitely pay more attention to the tone and inflection in my voice when speaking to patient.
These simple tips certainly do not take additional time, however they remind physicians and nurses to view patients through a trauma informed lens. Share your tips on how to implement trauma informed care in a time efficient manner on Facebook or Twitter. Follow us on Pinterest for more ideas on practicing trauma informed care.