Quarterly scientific journal

Nursing care of children after a traumatic incident

Christina Ouzouni , Konstantinos Nakakis


Childhood experiences of living in a world of sweeping changes and unpredictable extreme events can be very stressful and are often traumatic and children are not able to mobilize the defense mechanisms necessary for adaptation. Traumatic experiences for a child can include exposure to natural disasters, circumstances such as war and terrorism, situations of victimization (physical or sexual abuse), accidents resulting in serious injury and disability, loss of loved one, a life-threatening illness and hospitalizations, painful situations, as well as domestic and interfamily violence. The aim of this literature review was to explore the nursing care of children after a traumatic incident through a critical review of the existing literature. Material and Methods: A literature search was performed in Medline, Cinahl, BNI, PsycINFO, and Scopus databases with keywords relevant to the subject of this review. Results: From the literature review it was found that the published resources with respect to the nursing care of children after a traumatic event are very limited and they do not provide clear nursing care plans. Nursing care of children after a traumatic incident involves the prevention of trauma, the detection of early symptoms, the protection of the child from self-destructive and suicidal behavior, the restoration of confidence in self and others, the enhancement of the expressiveness, covering child's emotional needs, the family counseling and reconnection with their peers and childhood activities, as well as ensuring follow-up of their therapeutic progress. Conclusions: Traumatic experiences directly influence a child at physical, mental and emotional levels, making an impact on the smooth psycho-emotional development, the formation of his personality and the quality of childhood and future adult life. It is vital that nurses are aware of therapeutic techniques, in order to approach and nurse traumatized children in the community or in clinical settings. Moreover, it is necessary for programs to be created with nursing care plans based on evidence from systematic reviews.

Keywords: Traumatic incident, trauma, child, nursing care, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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