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Caring for the Elephant in the Room

Dr. Barbara Koffske Reid

Dr. Barbara Koffske Reid, Ph.D., M.A., M.Ed., LMFT, full time core faculty member at Cambridge College and Chair of the new bachelors degree program in Wellness and Health Promotion was selected to present at the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) Annual Scientific Assembly in January of 2016.  Here she presented to Trauma/Acute Care Surgeons, Trauma Nurses, EMS and other Healthcare Providers and Trauma Team members on the importance of addressing this form of “normalized stress” and provided some concrete scientifically proven strategies that are effective in reducing stress. 

The presentation was titled, "Caring for the Elephant in the Room."  Dr. Koffske Reid was the keynote speaker for this session.  The program description is as follows:

Caring for the Elephant in the Room - Description

In this session we will consider how stress impacts the overall quality of our work, our effectiveness, the impact on patient care, as well as the impact on our physical and mental health, relationships and satisfaction in life. We will review how the current demands of work and personal life have contributed to “normalizing” high levels of chronic stress and what can be done about it.  Real life considerations such as the nature of our work will be considered and “do-able” strategies will be offered to offset the negative effects of stress and to increase the quality of our work and our lives.With their constant involvement in caring for critical ill patients who sometimes die despite heroic efforts, trauma care providers, ranging from first responders, to ER nurses, to trauma surgeons, are at high risk for PTSD and depersonalization, a hallmark sign of burnout. These real or perceived stressors impact decision-making, personally and professionally, resulting in a high rate of poor self-care. There is a need to educate these key personnel on these risks and ways to mitigate them. 

Addressed in this session were: the prevalence of burnout, depression, compassion fatigue and PTSD in Healthcare Providers and the implications, both personal and professional, for providers.  The bulk of the presentation was on how to reduce the negative effects of “Normalized Stress” and burnout – in essence, Self Care for Health Professionals.

As a result of her presentation at EAST, Dr. Koffske Reid was asked to be interviewed by Trauma News.  The interview can be seen here: