Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Nursing (M.S.N.)

Department

College of Nursing

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine for the presence of symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a sample of flight nurses. Also examined were the coping mechanisms used by the sample to ameliorate the stressors associated with performing the role of the flight nurse, as well as the relationship between the symptoms and the coping mechanisms identified by the sample. Data were collected by questionnaires sent to a randomly selected national sample of 350 flight nurses who belong to the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association.

Of the 101 participants, intrusion was found to be most frequently exhibited symptom with 20.8% of the respondents indicating they had experienced this in a moderate to extreme amount. Symptoms of avoidance and hyperarousal were also present in the sample, but to lesser extents. Planful problem solving, seeking social support, and positive reappraisal were the most frequently used coping strategies in the sample. A significant relationship was found between escape-avoidance and the presence of PTSD symptoms.

The findings of this study suggest that flight nurses are experiencing some of the symptoms associated with the development of PTSD, but not at an alarming rate. The fact remains however that the symptoms do exist. Nurse administrators must be aware of and support treatment for nurses who may have suffered psychological insult while performing their duties.

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