Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-10-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

L. Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Richard Zoucha

Committee Member

Joan Padgett

Committee Member

Douglas Darbro


Victims, Violent Crime, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Resilience, Early Interventions, Emergency Department Nursing Care of Victims of Violent Crime


Recognition of the significance of early interventions and the importance of addressing psychological trauma for the victim of violence is of utmost importance for quality of life and the victim’s future. The serious impact of psychological trauma on victims of violent crime supports further study to determine whether Emergency Department (ED) nurses assess this trauma and initiate early interventions and referral for ongoing psychological care. Nursing care, assessment and early intervention with victims of violent crime was the focus of this dissertation study.

A quantitative study, with a non-experimental, descriptive design employed retrospective chart reviews to determine whether ED nurses documented psychological trauma assessment and/or early intervention care for adult trauma victims of violent crime. With convenience sampling, charts were reviewed to abstract data from emergency department records, nursing notes of adult survivors of violent crime. The Triage Assessment Scale (TAS) served to guide the data collection. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data abstracted from emergency department nursing notes.

The data analysis identified documented physical assessment and limited psychological assessment and referral, findings that are consistent and supported by previous research. Further research is needed to explore ED nursing care related to psychological assessment and early intervention for all victims of violent crime. Existing nursing research primarily focuses on victims of interpersonal violence and forensic nursing care. A need for the development of protocol and charting formats that support this care is identified in these research findings as an ongoing concern for ED nurses and victims of violent crime. The time for development of nursing early intervention protocols for care for all ED survivors of violent crime is now. The urgency and risks for these victims are too high to not address their psychological needs with a holistic approach in ED nursing care.