A qualitative study of resilience and posttraumatic stress disorder in United States ICU nurses

Intensive Care Medicine
Meredith MealerMarc Moss


Intensive care unit (ICU) nurses are at increased risk of developing psychological problems including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are resilient individuals who thrive and remain employed as ICU nurses for many years. The purpose of this study was to identify mechanisms employed by highly resilient ICU nurses to develop preventative therapies to obviate the development of PTSD in ICU nurses. Qualitative study using semi-structured telephone interviews with randomly selected ICU nurses in the USA. Purposive sampling was used to identify ICU nurses who were highly resilient, based on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale and those with a diagnosis of PTSD, based on the posttraumatic diagnostic scale. New interviews were conducted until we reached thematic saturation. Thirteen highly resilient nurses and fourteen nurses with PTSD were interviewed (n = 27). A constructivist epistemological framework was used for data analysis. Differences were identified in four major domains: worldview, social network, cognitive flexibility, and self-care/balance. Highly resilient nurses identified spirituality, a supportive social network, optimism, and having a resilient role model as characteristics used to cope with stre...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Coping Skills
Care of Intensive Care Unit Patient
Intensive Care Unit
Interview, Psychological
Delayed Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Mental Suffering
Tape Recording
Safety, Occupational
Occupational Exposure

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