“Assuming there will be ups and downs”: exploring trauma awareness through the lived experiences of registered kinesiologists in Ontario
Master of Science
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Background: At present, there is a movement in health care towards an approach that utilizes the components of trauma awareness to enhance care provision (Davis, Constigan, & Schubert, 2017; Felitti, 2017). Trauma awareness can be described as having three main elements: realizing the prevalence of trauma in society; recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma in patients; and responding to the trauma survivor by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into practices and procedures (Klinic, 2013). Researchers recommend that the best way to achieve the highest quality of care is for health care providers to become trauma aware (Bartlett et al., 2015; Harris & Fallot, 2001; Kelzelman & Stravropoulos, 2012; Klinic, 2013; Ko et al., 2008). Literature on the effects of trauma explains that trauma histories can influence the adoption of avoidance behaviours which, in turn, can interfere with a patient’s progress to achieve health goals such as exercise adherence (Clark et al., 2015; Kelzelman & Stravropoulos, 2012; Klinic, 2013). Given that 76% of Canadian adults report some form of trauma exposure in their lifetime (Van Ameringen, Mancini, Patterson, & Boyle 2008), an argument can be made that Registered Kinesiologists, relatively new regulated health professionals, need some foundational knowledge on trauma to help them identify related barriers that may explain why a person is avoiding exercise. To date, no studies have explored the notion of trauma awareness among Registered Kinesiologists in practice. Thus, advancing trauma awareness research in this context is both timely and warranted (Wayne et al., 2017). Not only will this information support the advancement of Kinesiology from professional and best practice standpoints (Ko et al., 2008), the patients themselves stand to gain a great deal in terms of quality care provision. Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the concept of trauma awareness through the professional lived experiences of Registered Kinesiologists working in Ontario by applying a step-wise interview process. Details of each Registered Kinesiologist’s work experiences were gathered through three separate interviews in order to create a rich description of their trauma awareness as depicted through their realizing the prevalence of, recognizing, and responding to trauma in their practice.