Exploring secondary traumatic stress experienced by nurses working in mental health service in Rwanda.
Iyamuremye, Jean Damascene.
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It has been suggested that a unique feature of some mental health nurses' work is exposure through their role as therapists to clients' descriptions of, and reactions to, trauma, and that these experiences may actually indirectly cause distress and traumatization to the nurse. This proposed phenomenon has been termed "secondary traumatic stress" and is the focus of the current study. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore secondary traumatic stress experienced by nurses working in mental health services in Rwanda. Methods: The research was conducted in Ndera Psychiatric Hospital. The questionnaire consisted of items of the Trauma Attachment Belief Scale (T ABS), demographic characteristics of participants, personal trauma history, work related aspects and support systems. A convenient sampling of 50 nurses who provide a mental health care to trauma survivors and mentally ill patients in the Ndera Psychiatric Hospital was adopted. Results: Results of the study indicate that there is belief disruption in the respondents. The mean scores of most of the respondents were high in all areas of cognitive believe. Of the respondents, 98% (n=49) had T -score of 80 for other-safety which was extremely high. The nurses identified the psychiatric nurses and a psychiatrist as their main support systems in dealing with secondary traumatic stress and generally believed in the usefulness of supervision. Conclusion: In summary, this study expanded on knowledge into the effects of secondary traumatization, particularly with concern to mental health clinicians, a population often ignored. This study was considered to be a contribution to trauma literature as it provides much needed empirical evidence.