Caring for Critically Ill Children Experiencing Traumatic Stress

Author(s): Betsy M. McDowell, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP B 1.00

Expires Feb 01, 2025

Topics: Behavioral/Psychosocial, Family-Centered Care

Population: Pediatric

Role: Staff

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

Added to Collection

Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

This article presents types of traumatic stress, risk factors for the development of traumatic stress, clinical findings in children and adolescents, and nursing strategies for preventing and managing traumatic stress in pediatric patients. Critical care and acute care nurses are in an excellent position to assess children for symptoms of acute stress reaction and posttraumatic stress disorder during or after a stay in the intensive care unit, to implement strategies to prevent or ease the symptoms of acute stress reaction and posttraumatic stress disorder, and to make appropriate referrals for children and their families after exposure to traumatic stressors.


  • Describe how the ICU setting can result in the development of traumatic stress in children.
  • Differentiate the usual clinical findings of traumatic stress noted in adolescents versus those noted in young children.
  • Relate at least six strategies for preventing and managing pediatric traumatic stress disorders using the DEF bundle.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. No conflicts of interest have been identified for any individual with the ability to influence the content of this activity. Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN or ANCC approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012. AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing (CBRN), California Provider number CEP 1036. This activity is approved for 1.00 contact hours.

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.

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Continuing Education Activities are nonrefundable.