The Impact of Sensitivity to Disaster on Professional Victim Care

1. Introduction

A disaster can be defined as an event that causes physical or psychological damage to individuals, families, and communities (Dynes, 2007). Disasters can be natural, such as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes, or man-made, such as industrial accidents and terrorist attacks. In either case, disasters can have a profound impact on the people who are affected by them.

One of the groups of people who are most affected by disasters are the professionals who work in victim care professions. These professionals include first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as medical personnel and counselors. These professionals are typically the first on the scene of a disaster and are responsible for providing assistance to the victims.

While victim care professionals are trained to deal with the physical and emotional effects of disasters, they are not immune to the effects of disasters themselves. In fact, research has shown that victim care professionals are at an increased risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety (Brymer & Jacobs, 2006).

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of sensitivity to disaster on professional victim care. Specifically, the paper will focus on the following topics: the impact of sensitivity to disaster on professional victim care; managing stress and anxiety in the workplace; the relationship between job performance and sensitivity to disaster; and conclusion.

2. The Impact of Sensitivity to Disaster on Professional Victim Care

As previously mentioned, disaster sensitivity refers to how individual age groups respond to a traumatic event. Disastersensitive people are more likely to experience negative psychological outcomes following a disaster than those who are less sensitive (Brymer & Jacobs, 2006).

Negative psychological outcomes can include symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and sympathy fatigue. PTSD is a condition that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of triggers, hypervigilance, and other intrusive thoughts (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Depression is a condition that is characterized by feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Anxiety is a condition that is characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Sympathy fatigue is a condition that is characterized by feelings of compassion fatigue in which someone feels overwhelmed by the emotions associated with caring for others (Bober et al., 2005).
All of these conditions can have a significant impact on one’s ability to function both personally and professionally.

In addition to experiencing negative psychological outcomes following a disaster, disaster-sensitive victim care professionals may also experience negative work-related outcomes. Negative work-related outcomes can include reduced work productivity and increased absenteeism (Brymer & Jacobs 2006). In some cases, victim care professionals may even lose their job due to the effects of a disaster.
ABSTRACT: Disaster sensitivity accounts for how individual age groups respond to a traumatic event. This paper examines the impact of sensitivity to disaster on professional victim care with special focus on consequences for first responders including police officers and firefighters as well as medical personnel and counselors who often find themselves suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety or sympathy fatigue.

FAQ

The main causes of exhaustion in victim care professions are long hours, high levels of stress, and exposure to traumatic events.

Exhaustion can affect the quality of care that victims receive by making caregivers more likely to make errors, less able to empathize with victims, and more likely to experience compassion fatigue.

The consequences of exhausted caregivers making errors in victim care can be disastrous, leading to further trauma for victims and their families.

We can prevent or reduce caregiver exhaustion in victim care professions by implementing self-care policies and practices, providing support and supervision, and ensuring that staff have adequate rest breaks.

The impact of caregiver exhaustion on turnover rates in victim care professions is significant, as exhausted caregivers are more likely to leave their jobs.

There are a number of interventions and programs that have been effective in reducing caregiver exhaustion in victim care professions, including training in self-care practices, debriefing after traumatic events, and peer support groups.

The challenges that Victim Care Professionals face when trying to address their own fatigue and burnout include lack of time, lack of support, and feeling like they have to be perfect.