Vicarious trauma, share your thoughts with me!


Hello everyone!

I am a third year psychiatric nursing student in Vancouver, Canada. I have a school project to do that I am working on with my classmates. The topic we were given was 'The Psychiatric Nursing Role". We are supposed to select a specific topic related to our role and my group decided to pick vicarious trauma and burnout.

When we split up the work, I decided to take on the media aspect of it. Meaning, I will share to my class the role of media in psychiatric nursing. I wanted to invite you all to share any thoughts, articles, links or opinions on this matter.

Do you feel the media actively educates the world on our side of things or events that we have witnessed? Do you feel the stress or trauma we go through is often ignored by the news or media?Do you feel we are blamed for things? Do you ever feel media belittles our role or gives the public the wrong idea through television shows? (grey's anatomy, etc).

I have spoken to a a group of individuals who do not work in healthcare and when I explained the aspect of vicarious trauma, they seemed rather surprised that they hadn't ever considered how these events affect us. Therefore, it lead me to here. I would love your thoughts on this. Or if anyone has any media links for or against what I have posted that would be great!

Specializes in Psych. Violence & Suicide prevention.. Has 45 years experience.

The play Wicked comes to mind. The backstory of the witches from the wizard of Oz. The audience experience compassion for the wicked witch of the west.

We see nurses displayed as dispassionate at best, cruel at worst; uncooperative and difficult in movies. This negative portrayal is reflected in the media. Wouldn't you love to hear the backstory of nurse ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest?

Davey Do

1 Article; 10,290 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.
Do you feel the stress or trauma we go through is often ignored by the news or media?

Hi shaylaselma! Welcome to!

I've only got a moment, as it's getting near the end of my shift, but I wanted to answer one of your questions I have strong feelings about:

Beliefs are connected with thoughts which are based in logic, whereas feelings are connected with emotions, which can be totally illogical.

Therefore, I believe Wendy Kraminer's perspective as she wrote in her book, I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional that we have become a society of victims. Victims, generally speaking, in our society are given all sorts of deference, attention, and empathy.

Taking the role of the victim is the easy way out, for we don't have to work through trials and tribulations in order to gain a higher conscious when we can just play the victim, sue someone, and be financially comfortable, yet developmentally stunted.

Richard Bach wrote something like: "We are never given a problem without the gift of a solution in our hands. We seek problems because we need their gifts." Working through problems is the pathway to a higher consciousness. Getting attention for being a victim is a temporary fix for our egos.

Gotta go! Good luck to you in your endeavor, shaylaselma!

You're pretty close to western state hospital in Washington state. They're getting a lot of news media attention like this article:

Insiders speak about 'toxic' environment at Western State | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO

And this one:

Western State hospital staff say they face retaliation | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO

There are a whole host of concerns at western. A Google news search will show you patient abuse, rampant violence, and stagnant bureaucracy. The staff is overworked, largely because of recruiting problems. The negative attention in the news both draws attention to problems that need fixing and makes them harder to fix by constantly reminding employees and potential employees that it's a terrible place to work.