Nurses Play Essential Roles in Providing the First Aid Psychological Trauma

Disaster is a phenomenon or series of a phenomenon that threatens and disrupt the life and livelihood of the community. Natural factors, non-natural factors, and human factors can induce human casualties, environmental damage, property loss, and psychological impacts.

Confronting a natural or man-made disaster or becoming a victim can cause psychological traumas which then can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The trauma can be handled through giving the first aid that a nurse can carry it out.

In the 4th International Emergency Nursing Camp (IENC) seminar, a keynote speaker Shanti Wardaningsih, M.Kep., Sp. Kep. Jiwa., PhD stated, “Psychological Trauma is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event such as disaster. This damage can affect a disorder in neuropsychology regulation that will hamper the victims’ capabilities of acting or responding to an action.”

“There are several factors influencing the severity victims’ psychological trauma. The first factor is how huge the phenomenon affects them, and I categorize it into 2 conditions, namely the physical presence during the disaster and emotional linkages to the disaster. The second one is individual factors including victims’ traumatic ex experiences, genetic disorders, and others. These factors should be considered by nurses when treating the victims,” explained Shanti when presenting Psychological Problems in Disaster: Cause, Effect, and Treatment at A.R. Fachruddin B of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) on Friday (4/8).

If the victims are not properly medicated, the psychological trauma may lead to post disaster PTSD. “There are several stages that happen when a person experiences the psychological trauma due to a disaster. The first stage is getting shock. It is followed by a so-called honeymoon in the first to third month after the disaster. Then, in the third to sixth month, the victims will encounter disillusionment which is a sense of disappointment to what happened to the victims,” said Shanti.

Shanti continued that after six months is crucial time. “The victims’ condition of the psychological trauma may change either to be better or to lead to breakdown. We have to try to prevent the victims experiencing post disaster PTSD that can adversely affect the life and environment around the victims. The post disaster PTSA could also influence the victims’ social relations with the closest person and even themselves, as well as their behaviors in their daily activities,” she presented.

Due to different treatments for the psychological trauma sufferers, Shanti mentioned several aspects that can be used as a reference. “Nurses may give psychological first aid such as safety, calm, connectedness, self-efficacy, and hope to the victims.  The first aid aims at helping the nurses to respond to the situation in accordance with the needs of the victims,” she conveyed.

Additionally, the IENC is an annual program organized by Nursing Care Club Emergency of UMY focusing on an emergency field. The 4th IENC brought the Healing Process in Disaster Management as theme, and was conducted for two days from Friday (4/8) to Sunday (6/8). The seminar was participated by nursing students from various universities in Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Indeed, the seminar was expected to enhance participants’ insights and to train their soft skills to implement disaster management accurately, quickly, accurately and correctly.

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