When CPR fails, debriefing is a must for nurses

Wednesday, 15 March, 2017

When CPR fails, debriefing is a must for nurses

The stress nurses experience and their coping behaviours following the death of a patient after CPR is the subject of a study in the American Journal of Critical Care (AJCC).

Stress and Coping of Critical Care Nurses After Unsuccessful Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’ explores the relationship between post-code stress, PTSD symptom severity and coping behaviours after an unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate a patient. The study may help identify nurses most at risk for post-code stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Finding ways to minimise distress and improve resiliency not only helps the individual nurse but may also help combat high turnover and vacancy rates for critical care nurses,” said lead author Dawn E McMeekin, RN, DNP, CNE, advanced clinical education specialist at Baycare Health System, Dunedin, Florida. “These results underscore the importance of maintaining a healthy work environment and nursing workforce.”

The researchers conducted an online survey from a national sample of 490 critical care nurses that included the Post-Code Stress Scale, the Brief COPE and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised. The study found that critical care nurses show moderate levels of post-code stress and PTSD symptoms when asked to recall an unsuccessful resuscitation.

Nurses who had institutional debriefing support reported significantly lower post-code stress scores than their colleagues without such support.

Four negative coping behaviours were identified as being significant predictors of PTSD symptom severity: denial, self-distraction, self-blame and behavioral disengagement.

“We found that both effective and ineffective coping behaviours influenced the severity of PTSD symptoms but showed no correlation with post-code stress,” McMeekin said. “Coping behaviours could be a link in the progression from acute post-code stress to states of chronic unresolved stress, such as PTSD.”

The research adds to the growing body of evidence that confirms the link between healthy work environments and patient safety, clinical outcomes, staff retention and other measures related to the quality of care.

Read the full article here.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Syda Productions

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