DNP Scholarly Projects


Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are early childhood traumas such as abuse, neglect or household dysfunction that can cause chronic physical and mental health problems across the lifespan. Approximately 61% of the adults in the United States have experienced ACEs. The prevalence of ACEs among nurses is at least comparable to population prevalence, and rates may be higher in subpopulations of individuals who work in helping professions. The stressful and highly interpersonal nature of nursing work may exacerbate and compound the health impacts of a nurse’s underlying ACEs, affecting not only the nurse’s health, but also his or her work performance. Education regarding the effects of trauma on nurses and patients promotes healthcare safety and quality as well as a resilient nursing workforce. Currently, nursing education lacks a widely recognized approach for teaching the concept of trauma to prelicensure students. This quality improvement project mapped the concept of trauma in an undergraduate nursing curriculum. Key findings included: (1) the concept of trauma was not defined, (2) utilization of the concept was fragmented and lacked sequencing across the entire curriculum, (3) trauma was often presented through a specialty lens, and (4) content focused mostly on trauma experienced by patients. Recommendations for improving concept utilization were: (1) determining a common definition for trauma, (2) scaffolding of the concept based on Bloom’s taxonomy throughout the curriculum, and (3) developing content focused on the psychological traumas that nurses themselves experience both before and during their professional development. The findings and recommendations created a foundation for next steps, as faculty works groups will collaboratively develop an integration plan for the concept of trauma.


Spring 4-25-2021

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Morse

Scholarly Project Team Member

Dr. Martha Buckner

Scholarly Project Team Member

Dr. Geoff Price


Nursing, School of


Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of

Document Type

Scholarly Project


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Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


trauma; concept-based nursing; concept evaluation; curriculum mapping

Included in

Nursing Commons