Published February 18, 2016
Congratulations to PhD alumni Nancy Kusmaul and Professor Deborah Waldrop on the publication of their article, "Certified nursing assistants as front line caregivers in nursing homes: Does trauma influence caregiving abilities?," in Traumatology.
Kusmaul, N. & Waldrop, D.P. (2015). Certified nursing assistants as front line caregivers in nursing homes: Does trauma influence caregiving abilities? Traumatology.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide most direct care in nursing homes, and they often experience daily life stressors and exposure to trauma. Adverse reactions to trauma can influence interpersonal relationships. In formal caregiving, the highest quality care is provided by those who are able to sustain a life-giving relationship, characterized by connection, genuine care, competence, and professional distance. The study described here examined a hypothesized relationship among demographics, the experience of potentially traumatic life events, and CNAs’ caregiving behaviors. CNAs in this study had high rates of lifetime exposure to various potentially traumatic events. No relationship was found with caregiving behaviors because of a lack of variability on the caregiving instrument. The most important finding was the confirmation that CNAs are at risk for and do experience many potentially traumatic events. Given the effect that trauma can have on relationships, and the nature of their interactions with vulnerable nursing home residents, it is important to consider the ways that nursing homes can provide support to CNAs to allow them to create meaningful relationships with residents.