ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Nursing, Nursing Education, Psychiatric Nursing, Health Outcomes




Dr. Dave Vander Ark


Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that occur in childhood. They include children experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence in the home. ACEs also incorporate environmental factors that threaten a child's stability and safety, such as having family members struggle with substance abuse, mental health, or instability due to parental separation or absent family members. There is significant evidence that ACEs are related to negative health outcomes in adulthood including chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse. ACEs are common and experienced by many. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 adults report having experienced four or more ACEs as a child and 61 percent report experiencing at least one. By discussing the impact of ACEs and working to prevent them, there could be a reduction in the number of negative health conditions in adulthood. As future health professionals, we desire to be educated and aspire to educate other future nurses on the impact that adverse childhood experiences have on individuals and how they impact the health outcomes of patients we will work with everyday. Through Faces of ACEs case studies, we believe that empathy and understanding will be gained by nursing students.

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