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We here at the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress (CPTS), who run the HealthCareToolbox.org site and this blog, want to take this week’s blog post to send grateful thanks to all of our readers and to update you on our future endeavors. 

When a child and family enter a hospital or medical setting, many factors contribute to their perception of trauma and their reactions to it. Developmental age, prior medical experiences, previous non-medical trauma can all contribute to their reactions. As can their cultural background. 

When speaking of a trauma informed practice, the responsibility for implementation often lands on the individual doctor, nurses, or other healthcare professional. However, for patients and families to truly experience trauma informed medical care, the entire hospital system needs to embrace trauma informed care.  

As a pediatric health care provider, how often do you explain to parents / caregivers the importance of taking care of themselves? Self care, you explain, is like pulling down your own oxygen mask first, so you will be better equipped to help others. But how many times, as a health care provider, do you practice what you preach?

The difficult conversations. Delivering bad news. The resulting emotions. Only a rare day will pass when a physician, nurse or other healthcare professions will not interact with a patient’s (or family member’s) emotions. 

Emotions…many people try to avoid emotions, especially in a professional setting. When it comes to medicine, emotions and providing emotional support shouldn’t be avoided. 

Within the walls of a hospital, many doctors and nurses are aware of the benefits of practicing trauma informed care, such as promoting emotional recovery and helping to reduce additional trauma exposures from medical care for children and families. But not all medical care occurs within the hospital. How do other healthcare providers view trauma informed care? 

“Your son has cancer.” Words no parent wants to hear and no physician wants to say. Unfortunately, whether it’s cancer or another chronic illness, these words, or similar ones, are spoken each and every day. 

Many people push aside the idea of self-care. It takes too much time or invokes an idea of being too much “woo-woo” to be taken seriously. 

In the fast paced, often high stakes hospital environment, should doctors and nurses incorporate play with pediatric patients? If so, how can play be used at the bedside?