HealthDay News — Critical care nurses who experience unsuccessful cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may experience moderate levels of postcode stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to a study published in the American Journal of Critical Care.

Dawn E. McMeekin, RN, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues recruited a national sample of 490 critical care nurses to examine correlations among postcode stress, coping behaviors, and PTSD symptom severity after experiencing unsuccessful CPR. Participants underwent an online survey and completed the Post-Code Stress Scale, the Brief COPE (abbreviated), and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised.

The researchers observed a weak association for postcode stress and PTSD symptom severity (r = 0.20; P =.01). There were no significant correlations between coping behaviors and postcode stress. Denial, self-distraction, self-blame, and behavioral disengagement were coping behaviors that predicted PTSD symptom severity. There was variation in postcode stress and PTSD symptoms with the availability of institutional support.

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“Identifying the critical care nurses most at risk for PTSD will inform the development of interventional research to promote critical care nurses’ psychological well-being and reduce their attrition from the profession,” the authors write.

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McMeekin DE, Hickman RL, Douglas SL, Kelley CG. Stress and coping of critical care nurses after unsuccessful cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Am J Crit Care. 2017;26(2):128-135