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Trauma-informed care could be first continuing education requirement for Indiana RNs, LPNs

Health care workers in a hospital corridor standing near medical equipment.
Devan Ridgway
Trauma-informed care is a health care approach that recognizes how trauma and adversity affects patients.

Trauma-informed care could be the first state-mandated continuing education requirement for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. A Senate committee moved forward a bill that would create the one-time training requirement for nurses in Indiana.

Trauma-informed care is a health care approach that recognizes how trauma and adversity affects patients. Senate Bill 45 would require nurses to complete trauma-informed care training within five years of starting a position in direct contact with patients. However, the requirement is not directly tied to licensure.

The bill’s author, Sen. Michael Crider, a Republican from Greenfield, said he wants more people to be aware of these challenges following a conversation with an advanced practice registered nurse who was also a sexual assault survivor.

“She described how this training, she felt, would be really beneficial for those folks that have direct line, contact with the public and how that understanding could help them effectively,” Crider said.

READ MORE: Indiana lawmakers want to streamline licensing requirements during nursing shortage

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Amanda Gill has been a registered nurse for more than 20 years. She said health care professionals may not know certain questions or experiences that can re-traumatize patients, but this training could mitigate some of those harms.

“Do you have any history of sexual, physical, mental abuse?” Gill said. “We ask that, it's very standard. I'll be honest to tell you that most health care professionals do not expect anyone to say yes. We're just going through the questions. They don't know what to do when they say yes.”

She said trauma-informed care taught her about the importance of getting consent to touch or share information in medical settings.

“Looking back now that I know better and that I've received education, I can think of specific examples where I cared for patients, and I knew that I was sadly re-traumatizing them,” Gill said.

Abigail is IPB's health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

Copyright 2024 IPB News.

Abigail Ruhman