Option 1. Making the transition to a Trauma Informed Practice: Barriers and Opportunities for a Mental Health Nurse.
• 3000 words +/- 10%
• In-text citations and reference list are not included in word count.
• If your essay exceeds 3300 words (without the in-text citations) the marker will simply stop marking at the 3,300th word. This means that you might, for example, be marked as having no conclusion!
• You must submit your assignment before the deadline via the moodle submission point. You must include the front sheet with your details filled in. Only one document is to be submitted (only one document will be marked).
• Late submissions will be marked but marks will be reduced in accordance with BCU policy.
• Research and think carefully about what you have learned about ways in which mental health services currently understand the role of trauma, through the models and language they use and the interventions they offer.
• Show a good understanding of how a more deliberately Trauma Informed Practice could be different to what is often on offer and the possible points of conflict between that practice and current norms, and demands currently made upon nurses.
• You will need to narrow this essay down and it will be fine if you say something like 'owing to the scope of this essay there will be a focus upon...' and then chose a particular angle or skillset. Please ensure your focus is about mental health nursing rather than mental health services more generally. The focus is up to you but do not try to re-imagine every aspect of mental health nursing in a 3000 word essay! We strongly recommend that if you choose this option you discuss how you will give it a focus in a booked tutorial.
• Can you find any nursing literature that discusses the challenge for nurses in being ‘Trauma Informed’?
You will need to include literature about specific therapeutic frameworks and skills that you deem suitable and ways in which you may need to make sure they are adapted for a trauma focus.
You may also wish to consider nursing interventions specifically designed to consider justice and advocacy, with appropriate supporting literature.
You may wish to refer to Scotland's declaration that they are a 'trauma informed nation', and look at materials that have been produced there about that transition (Scotland has a different Mental Health Act and mental health system to England).
Critical Reflections on a Trauma-Informed Approach
You may also wish to look at other units or trusts in other UK nations that have suggested the need for a Trauma Informed Practice and what policies or ideas they are suggesting.
Your essay should be structured in the following way
• Title: Making the transition to a Trauma Informed Practice: Barriers and Opportunities for a Mental Health Nurse.
This needs to do two main things.
• Firstly, a short outline (150 words?) of what you will say in your whole essay (write this part when you have written the rest of your essay!).
• Secondly (500 words?), you need to define 'Trauma Informed Practice', using references, summarising reasons for believing that a 'transition' is necessary (with references). This will have the effect to telling the reader why your essay is important, which is a key aim of this section. You also should explain what aspect or aspects you will choose to focus upon in your essay.
This will be a set of paragraphs that develop your argument for the need for a transition to a trauma-informed practice and show a very well-considered understanding of the kinds of ideology and vested interests, cultural norms and misunderstandings, ideologies, poor resources and other factors that may be preventing the role of trauma from its occupying a proper place in understandings within mental health nursing and your particular focus. Within this section it ought to be possible to mention many of the aspects of learning outcomes 1 – 4.
You need to explore what frameworks and ideas a mental health nurse might find important, what skills they might need to develop (from learning outcome 3?) and what difficulties they might encounter if they were to be transitioning to a more trauma-informed practice. There should be a strong sense that within this section there is are some realistic plans for your practice and continued learning rather than a completely redesigned service. It should be highly referenced and the reader should also see a lot of practical suggestions about the daily work and skills of a mental health nurse (during which you can bring in aspects of all of the learning outcomes but especially numbers 2 and 3).
Remember that critical writing explores things from 'different sides of the story'. There are pros and cons for any way of understanding distress and it in this section that you can also bring in ethical questions about the potential dangers of single-ideology approaches (learning outcome 4).
We would not have asked you to consider this topic if we did not think there were a lot of important reasons for considering a more trauma-informed approach in mental health nursing, but you should include critique or concerns about a trauma-informed practice too; for example, how should the nurse be on guard for potential ways in which a more trauma-informed practice might create new blind spots for themselves? What potential conflicts may a trauma informed nurse find within existing services? Use (and reference) 'biopsychosocial' to help you see the importance and the limits of a trauma focus (learning outcome 1 and 2).
Would nursing teams have to operate differently in order to support a more trauma-informed view? You might even like to consider whether you feel there are tensions between the current Mental Health Act and a more trauma informed practice (supported by references, of course!) (a discussion that would assist you to demonstrate learning under outcome 4). Structure is very important to help the reader follow your essay. This is an extended piece of writing and you need to look at your paragraphs and ask yourself if it matters in what order they come. If it does not, then that is a clue that you need more structure! If you find that adding some subheadings helps, that may good idea.
Conclusion: approx. 300 words
All you need to do in this section is tell the reader what they have just read. No new material in the conclusion.