Date of Conferral





Public Health


Harold Griffin


There is growing interest in trauma-informed nursing methods to better respond to the needs of patients with histories of adverse childhood experiences and other traumatic events. Recent advances in the understanding of how trauma can negatively affect long-term health outcomes have fostered a shift towards trauma-informed care as a method to decrease patient retraumatization in nursing practice. With the implementation of trauma-informed care in many areas of healthcare and public health, several challenges have been exposed. The purpose of this study was to examine nurses’ lived experience of implementing trauma-informed care into nursing practice for the care of patients with physical disabilities, known or unknown histories of adverse childhood or traumatic experiences, and secondary maladaptive coping behaviors at a skilled-nursing facility in a midsized city in the state of Michigan. A Gadamerian hermeneutic approach was used to collect and analyze data from 15 licensed nurses via in-depth interviews and reflexive methods. The belief-based model of the theory of planned behavior was used to elicit nurse participants’ salient beliefs. Results from the interpreted coded textual data revealed four primary themes: nurses feeling empowered to avoid inadvertent patient retraumatization, enhanced empathy towards patients, uncertainty about referents’ use of trauma-informed care, and the essential importance of being equipped and prepared. The results of this study may be used to improve nurses use of trauma-informed care, thereby decreasing patient retraumatization and potentially improving individual and community health outcomes.