The negative effects of unhealed trauma in nurse practitioners

Unhealed trauma can cause nurse practitioner burnout.

There are so many different causative agents of nurse practitioner burnout.

But there are other contributors to nurse practitioner burnout that don’t get talked about as often.

Unhealed trauma is a serious issue that many nurse practitioners do not even realize they are struggling with.

Trauma is any kind of distressing event that often overburdens the individual. Nurse practitioners experience a lot of trauma, no matter what area of healthcare they work. Nurse practitioners working in an emergency department, palliative care, or even primary care can experience trauma.

The trauma can come from many different places. And it is not only traumatic events such as a code blue or severe MVA in the ED. There are many other forms of trauma nurse practitioners experience. For example, taking on a patient’s own personal stressors, hardships, and health concerns. Also the nurse practitioner’s own thoughts about if they missed a diagnosis or chose the correct treatment plan.

How unhealed trauma contributes to nurse practitioner burnout

As nurse practitioners, we take on the mental, physical, and emotional stress of our patients. We see the pain in their eyes and worry on their faces when we give a difficult diagnosis. We hear the stress and concern in their voices about the cost of healthcare. We are exposed to trauma all the time in healthcare.

Negative impacts of unhealed trauma include: low self-esteem, lack of self-love, giving more to others than yourself, toxic or unequal relationships, lack of healthy boundaries, needing external validation from others, and much more. The fact is that many nurse practitioners do not realize they struggle with unhealed trauma.

If the trauma is not properly addressed it can cause conditions such as second victim syndrome, mental/emotional/physical health conditions, or nurse practitioner burnout.

As nurse practitioners, we need to get better about processing the unhealed trauma. We also need to address any work related or personal trauma so we can be the best providers for our patients.

Understanding negative effects of unhealed trauma

I would like to share an article written by Yanira Crespo titled Nurse Practitioners: The Negative Effects of Unhealed Trauma. This article discusses common trauma that can cause burnout, codependency characteristics, and how to heal from the trauma.

Here is more information about Yanira Crespo!

“Over 20 years ago, I began experiencing burnout and suffering from a debilitating illness leaving me wheelchair bound. My mental and physical health was deteriorating and I was not taking care of myself. The needs of everyone came before my own. Through continuous over giving, I gave to the point of depletion, resulting in the struggle to take care of myself.

That was my wakeup call to delve deeper into the source of my burnout. I soon discovered I was suffering from C-PTSD due to deep rooted unhealed trauma. As I began to face my trauma and heal, my body and mind healed too. I began to experience inner peace and learned how to create balance at work and in my personal life. This ignited a passion to help those suffering from trauma; I became a Trauma Informed Coach and Holistic Practitioner.

Through my journey in helping others heal, I began to help nurse practitioners and discovered how much my experiences related to theirs. They were suffering from the same traumas and burnout I had suffered from in the past. This led to creating a 3-month program designed to heal deep rooted trauma related to burnout. The program is customized to each individual and designed to progress beyond trauma and overcome burnout. The result is quality patient care, emotional regulation, healthier relationships, and a balanced work and home life.”

I encourage you to read the article by Yanira Crespo: Nurse Practitioners: The Negative Effects of Unhealed Trauma.

Nurse practitioners need to understand the unhealed trauma they may be experiencing. APRNs should accept the fact that unhealed trauma is something many healthcare providers struggles with. I challenge nurse practitioners to open up about the unhealed trauma. I encourage nurse practitioners to talk openly in The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner Facebook Group. I recommend nurse practitioners seek help from trauma informed coaches such as Yanira Crespo.

I want nurse practitioners to work through the unhealed trauma and overcome nurse practitioner burnout!

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at

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