11h 45m CPDSeminar

Mental Health: Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) in Health Care Seminar

Comprehensive Two-Day Seminar for Nurses and Midwives


13 - 14 Feb 2020
Rydges Sydney Central
28 Albion Street
Surry Hills NSW2010

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Why Attend

It is estimated that at least 5 to 10 percent of people in Australia will suffer from acute stress disorder (ASD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within their lifetime. Are you confident in your care of someone with these conditions? Attend this seminar to make a difference to your practice. Learn about:

  • Is there a difference between ASD and PTSD?
  • Responses to traumatic events – how do these affect people?
  • What is the appropriate screening and assessment?
  • What are the recommended approaches to therapy?
  • Long-term prognosis – which factors may affect treatment outcome?
  • How can you best care for people with ASD or PTSD – practical case scenarios, and much more...

Need for Program

Many Australians experience events that threaten their health or safety, which may result in ASD or PTSD. However, these disorders are often poorly understood and the approaches to treatment are not always consistent. Practitioners who will provide mental health care regardless of professional background must be appropriately educated to deliver appropriate care. Nurses and midwives need to be able to identify people with these conditions as early as possible so that action can be rapidly initiated. As knowledge of the conditions and evidence for therapies are still evolving, regular updates and familiarity with the latest Australian Guidelines is essential.

Purpose of Program

Nurses and midwives will learn current knowledge about acute stress disorder (ASD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the recommended Australian Guidelines to confidently care for people with these conditions.

Your Learning Outcomes

  1. Use knowledge of the underlying risks and causes for ASD and PTSD and the influence of the conditions on the wellbeing of a person to initiate the appropriate screening and assessment
  2. Know the current Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and how they are used in practice across diverse populations
  3. Collaboratively plan and personalise the treatment goals and ongoing monitoring that is necessary for best outcomes with the care team and person with ASD or PTSD
  4. Identify early exposure of health professionals to potential traumatic events and initiate action so as to remain effective in practice
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Day One

8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


Introduction - Review the Objectives of the Program


Normal Grief Responses to Trauma

Although each person's experience and response to trauma is unique, there are a wide range of responses that would be considered 'normal' or 'common' reactions. In this session, we will look at these 'normal' and 'common' responses to trauma. This will include both emotional as well as physical reactions. Topics include:

  • What are common physical reactions to traumatic events in the short and long term?
  • What are common immediate and delayed emotional responses?
  • Is there a relationship between trauma and grief reactions?
  • Do all people experience these reactions and if not, is this normal?


Defining Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

To care for those who experience PTSD, it is necessary to understand what this diagnosis entails. In this session, we will examine the notion of stress and trauma and diagnostic criteria as determined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV and DSM 5. Topics include:

  • What is PTSD?
  • What constitutes a traumatic event and can a witness to an event be affected?
  • Why do those who experience extreme trauma not always suffer from PTSD or another stress disorder, while those who experience mild trauma may develop the condition?
  • Is there a gender bias regarding who gets PTSD?
  • Can PTSD be caused by a traumatic event in later life, or is it always related to childhood traumas?

10:30am - Morning Tea


A Brief History of Mental Health and Trauma - Shell Shock and Catastrophes

PTSD has relatively recently emerged as psychiatric diagnoses. Many people associate these conditions, particularly PTSD, with war and working in the military. However, it has a long and interesting history, and it is not confined to battlegrounds. This session will contextualise these trauma-related mental health conditions. Topics include:

  • Cowardice and personal weakness during battle
  • Shell shock and battle fatigue
  • Post-Vietnam syndrome
  • Rape and assault victims
  • Australian and worldwide statistics
  • The development of treatment guidelines


Special Populations - Mothers, Refugees etc.

Many people may be particularly vulnerable to PTSD. This session looks at:

  • Which groups are people may be particularly vulnerable to PTSD?
  • What can nurses and midwives do in such circumstances?


When Trauma Causes Long Term Problems

This short session will consider why some people who have experienced trauma proceed to develop PTSD.

  • What are the long term problems that may arise?
  • How does this affect interpersonal relationships?
  • What are the impacts on day-to-day life?

1:00pm - Lunch and Networking


Assessment for Traumatic Stress Conditions

Assessment needs to be comprehensive and include good history taking skills. The choice of screening tool should reflect the best available evidence. This practical session demonstrates:

  • Are there early warning signs that these conditions may exist?
  • What does a comprehensive assessment for PTSD consist of?
  • What would make you suspect a person may have PTSD?
  • How are people screened for PTSD?
  • How can you elicit information from a person who is deeply traumatised?
  • An evaluation of assessment tools


Kids and Teens – the Silent Witnesses

With rising rates of PTSD in society, there are many individuals with the disorder who are also responsible for the care of children and teenagers. This session will take a close look at the unique ways in which younger children and adolescents deal with the unique stressors of PTSD in themselves and their families.

3:30pm - Afternoon Tea


Lost in Thought and Dissociation

'Zoning Out' or dissociation often occurs when a person is bored and fatigued. However, in some people, dissociation can be a symptom of how they are dealing with trauma. In this session, we will explore the association between PTSD and dissociation, including the difficulties in dealing with personal triggers.

4:45pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

Day Two

9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


Case Study and Introduction to the Treatment Guidelines

The Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder aim to support high-quality treatment of people with PTSD. In this interactive session, you will explore a case scenario that reveals the principles of care.


Treatment Options for PTSD

Early identification of PTSD makes treatment easier as symptoms can get worse over time. This session will look at a range of treatment options available and what nurses and midwives can do to assist the person with the condition.

  • Early identification of PTSD makes treatment easier as symptoms can get worse over time. This session will look at a range of treatment options available and what nurses and midwives can do to assist the person with the condition.
  • What role do medications have in treatment?
  • What about animal and other therapies?

10:30am - Morning Tea


Psychotherapeutic Communication

The mainstay of treatment are therapies which involve talking. Using case scenarios, this practical session will allow you to learn principles underlying therapeutic conversations. It includes:

  • How to communicate with highly traumatised people
  • Being acutely aware of cultural sensitivities
  • Working with dissociation
  • Identifying suicidal ideation
  • Collaborating with appropriate professionals

1:00pm - Lunch and Networking


Treating and Managing Those with Comorbidities

You are caring for a person who has been admitted to hospital for surgical intervention for prostate cancer. During the night, he experiences anxiety attacks and is exceptionally demanding. This session will look at the appropriate nursing actions that you would take to quickly establish whether this person is also experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Topics Include:

  • What are the comorbidities that are commonly associated with PTSD?


Trauma-Informed Care

This practical session looks at the concept of 'Trauma Informed Care' which seeks to provide care in a way that does not re-traumatise the person.

3:15pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Clinician and Carer Survival Toolbox

PTSD can be very disruptive to those in contact with people who experience these conditions. In this final session, we will review the professional implications for caring for this group of people. Includes:

  • Preventing transference from patient to others
  • The role of patience and unconditional positive regard
  • Depersonalising unpleasant communication
  • Valuing the person

4:30pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations

educator image

Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been a mental health nurse for 20 years and has master's degree in public health and mental health nursing. He has extensive experience in all areas of mental health nursing, including forensic, acute, community, consultation-liaison psychiatry, psychiatry liaison, GP liaison, and homeless mental health. He is currently a clinical nurse consultant in HIV Mental Health, located in metro Sydney and providing care for people presenting with complex physical and mental health issues, including concurrent mental health problems, personality disorders, alcohol/substance abuse, infectious diseases, and other associated health problems. Mike has been a guest lecturer at the University of Technology School of Nursing for both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs. He coordinates the University of NSW medical students on placement, providing a program of experience and community-based learning, and provides education for University of Notre Dame medical students. He is also a co-coordinator for the Mental Health special interest group for the Public Health Association of Australia and is involved in mental health policy and advocacy at a national level. Read More

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Mental Health: Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) in Health Care 2020
Surry Hills