• action research;
  • early intervention;
  • emergency room nurses;
  • organizational health;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • qualitative research;
  • trauma exposure

lavoie s., talbot l.r. & mathieu l. (2011) Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms among emergency nurses: their perspective and a ‘tailor-made’ solution. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(7), 1514–1522.


Aim.  The goal of this study was to identify support activities for emergency room nurses who have been exposed to traumatic events, in order to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.

Background.  Emergency room nurses experience stress during traumatic events, for which they need support. It turns out that such support is insufficient, ineffective or non-existent.

Methods.  This qualitative study was carried out among twelve emergency room nurses from January to May 2007. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted. Content analysis fulfilled the objectives of our research.

Results.  The frequency of traumatic events leading to contextual exposure and exposure as a witness increases with years of experience (r = 0·67 and r = 0·57). The frequency of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms decreases with age (r = −0·83). The data demonstrate the importance of having a supportive social network and being able to talk things over with colleagues. The support activities considered include all types of prevention. They consist primarily of a peer support system, psycho-education and emergency room simulations.

Conclusion.  A three-level complex of support activities represents a promising solution to prevent and treat post-traumatic stress disorder among emergency room nurses. A further study to test its effectiveness is currently underway.