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Psychological Complications Resulting From Injuries

Psychological Complications Resulting From Injuries

The physical harm and suffering associated with a serious injury may often have an impact on a person’s mental health. Empirical research demonstrates that when a person is injured in an accident, slips, or falls, he or she may develop some emotional disorders, mental anguish, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The role of the health provider in treating the injured person is expected to go far beyond the physical problem and focus on the patient’s humanity. The paper reflects on the psychological complications experienced by a patient after a serious car accident. The paper also looks at the legal and ethical implications that should be considered when providing care for patients with serious injuries.

The delicate patient care situation I encountered involved a 21-year-old female who was injured in a personal injury. Ms. Emily was involved in a car accident and was later diagnosed with a whiplash type of injury. She often complained of some aching in the lower back of her neck. The accident, although it was comparatively minor, it was a shocking experience for Ms. Emily. For days and weeks, she dreamt about the accident and experienced vivid images that frightened her. Ms. Emily’s family explained that her sleep was impaired, and she was more irritable than usual. She also suffered from depression as the reality of the diminished quality of her new life due to her condition sank in.

According to Sterling (2014), a Whiplash injury may cause physical and psychological stress. When a patient with Whiplash develops chronic pain, it remains to be a challenging situation for many nurses. Sterling (2014) mentions that the management of whiplash should start with the treatment of psychological trauma. The study shows that the treatment of anxiety and catastrophic thinking has proved to be effective because it prevents the patient from ruminating about the pain.

In the case of Ms. Emily, physical therapy and psychological treatment were important parts of managing her pain. As a nurse, I understood her emotions and behaviors and managed her thoughts to help her cope with the pain effectively. I focused on helping Ms. Emily to develop a new way of thinking and challenging unhelpful thoughts that she had pain. The strategies proved to be effective, and Ms. Emily was able to change her old belief about pain. She was also in a position to address any anxiety or depression that accompanied the pain. Further, considering I spent constant time with Ms. Emily in the unit, I understood her physical and psychological needs that helped in guiding her to exercise her autonomy in making decisions about care. As the patient advocate, I intended to help Ms. Emily to obtain appropriate health and defend her rights.

Other strategies that were important in dealing with the emotional disorders and mental anguish resulting from injuries would involve teaching the patient relaxation techniques and building pain coping skills (Stålnacke, 2012). The relaxation techniques may involve practices such as biofeedback that would help Ms. Emily to control certain body functions. The pain coping skills would help the patient to stay active and manage her pain and think of it in a different way. As the pain Ms. Emily is experiencing contributes to insomnia, the pain coping skill will help her learn new ways to sleep better.

Legal and Ethical Implications

Hsin & Torous (2016) explain that nurses are subjected to a number of ethical and legal duties. The nurses working in units where patients are experiencing depression, emotional disorders, anxiety, and trauma face a unique set of problems that make ethical issues to be complicated than in other nursing settings. One of the ethical roles the nurse should consider is respecting the patient’s autonomy. Since the depressed patient is usually unable to make his or her decisions, the nurses have an ethical duty to learn about the patient’s life choices. In addition, the nurse should consider doing well and prevent the treatment from harming the patients. The treatment will be ethically right if it will minimize harming the patient as much as possible.


Hsin, H., & Torous, J. (2016). Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Depression. FOCUS, 14(2), 214-218. doi 10.1176/app.focus.20150046

Stålnacke, B. (2012). Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Injury-Related Chronic Pain. ISRN Psychiatry, 2012, 1-4. doi: 10.5402/2012/196069

Sterling, M. (2014). Physiotherapy management of whiplash-associated disorders (WAD). Journal Of Physiotherapy, 60(1), 5-12. doi 10.1016/j.jphys.2013.12.004


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Explain your patient encounter, highlighting the challenges the situation presented, and briefly summarize the contents of your journal article.

What strategies did you employ to help handle the situation? What other strategies could you have used?

Psychological Complications Resulting From Injuries

Psychological Complications Resulting From Injuries

How did you advocate for the patient in the situation?

What are some of the legal and ethical implications that need to be considered when providing care for patients with depression resulting from illnesses or injuries or suspicious illnesses or injuries?

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