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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

For Those Who Remain

Published September 22, 2010 3:59 PM by Adrianne OBrien

According to the American Psychiatric Association, 90 percent of Americans will be exposed to a traumatic stressor at some point in their lives. We’re living in stressful times by any measure, a topic I was discussing last week at ADVANCE’s Baltimore Job Fair with Victor Welzant, PsyD, director of education and training for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF). Welzant was on hand to present a CE session on psychology of a disaster.

When we think of disasters, natural catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina or terrorist attacks like those of 9/11 spring immediately to mind. But lurking just behind, Welzant noted, is the disaster of a different kind: the recession and its terrible ripple effects.

The ICISF is a non-profit organization that, among other services, provides crisis and disaster response programs for various organizations and communities. As the U.S. economy continues to sputter, there has been an explosion in the number of companies who hire ICISF to offer crisis management for staff who have seen their colleagues laid off by the tens, hundreds or even thousands. So you’ve got the grind of worrying if or when the ax will fall again while taking on the work of staff who have been laid off as companies are force to make due with fewer employees. That’s a whole lot of stress.

The question isn’t whether you know anyone who is dealing with recession-related stress. It’s how many people you know who aren’t. Given the trends the ICISF is seeing, they are the minority.

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