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Acute stress and frontline healthcare providers

David N Naumann - Author Aisling McLaughlin - Author Christopher V Thompson - Author Elaine Hardy - Author Jodie L Fellows - Author Nicholas C Crombie - Author First published: Last updated:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious health concern. Worryingly, it is associated with all of the following:

  • Work impairment (Brunello et al, 2001)
  • Reduction in the function of the immune system (Kawamura et al, 2001)
  • Drug and alcohol dependence (Reed et al, 2007; Blanco et al, 2013)
  • Major depression (Breslau et al, 1997)
  • Increased risk of suicide (Wilcox et al, 2009)

PTSD in healthcare 

The presence of PTSD amongst healthcare workers may be of particular concern owing to the potential symptoms of hypervigilance, irritability, difficulty concentrating, avoidance behaviours, feelings of alienation and problems sleeping. These symptoms in a health professional with PTSD may inadvertently interfere with the care of their patients. A previous survey of surgical trainees in the NHS found a prevalence of symptoms in keeping with PTSD to be at 12%, which was higher than expected (Thompson et al, 2017). Frontline emergency healthcare practitioners in prehospital emergency

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David N Naumann

Aisling McLaughlin

Christopher V Thompson

Elaine Hardy

Jodie L Fellows

Nicholas C Crombie

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