Trauma Nursing 101 – Trauma Nurse Job Description And Career Guide

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is an experience that people suffer through that can leave them in a physically derailed or mentally broken state.  There two types of trauma.  There is physical trauma and mental trauma. Both are very prevalent in our society and can have a great effect on how we live our lives.

Both of types of trauma are treatment. However, physical trauma is much easier to treat than mental trauma. With physical trauma, the injuries are obvious and can be treated. With mental trauma, the symptoms are not so obvious and effective treatment methods can vary.

​Physical Trauma

​This type of of trauma incurs when a patient involved in a serious accident that causes significant injury or a life threatening situation. Physical trauma can happen in so many ways. There is blunt force trauma. That is caused by a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. That can cause brain injury.

Physical trauma can also come from many others things. Those things include car and sports accidents, being the victim of a physical attack, having a bad fall, or acute injuries that stem from past injuries. There are a lot of ways physical trauma can happen.

Unfortunately, some of the effects of physical trauma can be long lasting.  Some patients develop chronic injuries from the acute injuries they experienced during the physical trauma. For others, the horrific experience that put them in a physical deflated state can lead to psychological trauma as well.

​Psychological (Mental) Trauma

Mental trauma is a mix of deep emotional pain, anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts. This type of trauma is usually detrimental to the lifestyle of an individual. He or she could develop aggressive behavior, saddened mood, anxious thoughts, and bad habits.

Bad habits are a clear sign of mental trauma. This could include binge drinking, medication abuse, and hard drug use. Bad habits usually form as a coping mechanism to help victims navigate away from present and future stresses.

It is usually difficult for victims of psychological trauma to develop trusting and healthy relationships with people and high self-esteem. They also have a difficult time focusing on personal goals and day to day tasks.

Mental trauma is can be caused by a series of negative events or a single exposure to a terrible event. Soldiers suffer from this all the time. They witness the deaths of others all the time and that can be a traumatic experience. Rape and physical abuse victims find themselves having very similar mental trauma symptoms.

Those who live in violent or high crime locations are constantly subject to scenes of horrific nature. They are exposed to the worst humanity has to offer. This is when a series of horrific experiences over a number years can cause mental trauma.

What Do Trauma Nurses Do?

Trauma nurses are registered nurses that work in the trauma center. The trauma center is always in  the emergency room of the hospital. They help medical professionals (mainly doctors) treat patients suffering from physical trauma.

Trauma nurses assist with medical related tasks such as performing surgeries and critical operations, stabilizing a patient’s condition at the ER, stitching and patching up deep wounds, treating serious injuries or illness, or performing basic or advanced life support to keep the patient alive.

In the trauma center, a patient’s life is always hanging in the balance.  It is very important that these nurses take extremely good care of their patients for that reason. They usually work together with a medical team to provide the best care possible for the patient.

These nurses are comfortable when treating very sick or injured patients. They are comfortable working under pressure and are good at making critical decisions.

What Skills Are Needed To Succeed As A Trauma Nurse?

Trauma nurse skills will need a number of skills in order to be successful at this profession. They will need to able to think critically. This means makes decisions and plan quickly. This leads to proper execution of actions. They will need to be able to take action effectively and under the instruction of others.

Working with others is very important. Trauma nurses need to be to work in teams of medical professionals. Not out on their own. This is true for all nurses. However, for trauma nurses, this trait is emphasized.

As good of a team player trauma nurses are, they also need to be a good leader. They are the medical professionals leading the treatment execution. They need to be able to effectively lead the execution of care and treatment plans.  Work experience in critical or intensive care is also important but we will talk about that below.

What Education And Experience Need To Become A Trauma Nurse?

The academic education to becoming a trauma nurse is the same as a registered nurse. Earn a ADNBSN, or MSN from an accredited university or college.  Pass your RN certification exam. That is the first step.

The second step is to find a nursing job in critical care or intensive care.  Being a critical care nurse for a couple years will prepare you for life as a trauma nurse. You will learn proper decision making skills, how to take care of mortally ill patients,  dealing with patients who are in life threatening situations, and working in a team.

In those units, you will built a diverse and robust skill set very quickly.  After two to three years, you will have solid work experience that shows you are ready to be a trauma nurse.

If you couple your experience with a successful passing of Trauma Nursing Care Course. This course will treat you different ways to care for patients suffering from mental and physical trauma. This course will give you a broader skill set in trauma center and expose you to things you will see on the job.