National Council for Behavioral Health

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An educated, sensitive, effective and supported workforce is the cornerstone of a trauma-informed organization. The quality of interpersonal relationships and interactions among patients, providers and support staff defines the core of a fully trauma-informed and resiliency-building primary care organization.

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Single check icon Action Steps

  • Provide training to all staff on trauma-informed principles. 
    All staff should have a basic understanding of how adverse life events may affect a person’s physical and mental health, engagement in services, response to treatment recommendations and satisfaction and success in community life. Trauma-Informed organizations are most successful when all staff understand the underlying theories, research, practices and values of the model. At a minimum, all staff should receive training on what a trauma-informed approach is and why it is important. Please download the full chapter for more detailed information on training requirements, strategy and approach, and evaluation and continuous quality improvement.
    This Trauma and Resilience Training Plan establishes procedures to plan, develop, implement and maintain the training program and curriculum. The training plan objectives are:

    • Educate all staff on trauma, its prevalence and its effects.
    • Provide all staff with tools and strategies to implement a trauma-informed approach into their daily work.
    • Connect trauma and health outcomes for all staff.

     

    Table 7. Trauma-Informed Approach Staff Training Schedule
    Training Level Course Name Location Duration
    Beginner Trauma and its Impacts Download 1.5 hours
    Beginner Trauma and the Connection to Health and Addictions Download 1.5 hours
    Beginner Trauma in the Context of Culture Download 1.5 hours
    Beginner Becoming Trauma-Informed Download 1.5 hours
    Intermediate Secondary Traumatic Stress and Staff Self-care Download 1.5 hours
    Intermediate Infusing Trauma into our Daily Work Download 1.5 hours
    Intermediate Introduction to a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative Download 2 hours
    Advanced Trauma-Informed Supervision Download 1.5 hours
    Trainings for Clinical Staff (Primary Care)
    Beginner Introduction to Inquiry for Trauma Download 1.5 hours
    Intermediate Trauma-Informed Physical Examination: Practicing Sensitivity Download 1.5 hours
    Intermediate Engaging Families and Support Networks Download 1.5 hours
    Intermediate Responding to Crisis in a Trauma-Informed Manner Download 1.5 hours
    Advanced Virtual Patient Case Scenarios for All Physicians and Nurses
    (CEs available – up to 10 hours)
    Access 10 hours
  • Build an organizational culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. 

    Implementing the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a critical component of trauma-informed organizations. Several steps and considerations organizations that should take to improve its culture follow, including improving staff competency related to DEI and developing DEI organizational values. Download the full chapter for a list of competencies related to DEI training and resources for building a DEI culture.

    Building a Culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Checklist
    • Provide basic cultural competency training for all staff.
    • Identify and convene a workgroup to lead agency diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
    • Offer staff workshops on practices to promote equity. Examples of workshops and guides are available online.
    • Provide continuous opportunities for learning and dialog through brown bags, webinars and other outlets.
    • Foster relationships with community partners that integrate the community as a resource to improve care.
  • Provide trauma-informed supervision and staff support. 
    A trauma-informed organization assesses and develops workforce policies and practices regarding supervision, support and professional development to reflect trauma-informed principles. Effective supervision of employees helps equalize the power differential and creates a space for employees to feel empowered to speak and know they are heard. Similarly, professional development opportunities include trauma-informed topics and areas in which employees can gain skills driven by employee choice. Most important, provide services and supports to employees to reduce stress, alleviate compassion fatigue and prevent secondary trauma.
  • Recruit staff who will succeed in a trauma-informed environment. 
    A trauma-informed organization benefits from recruiting staff who are familiar with trauma-informed principles. Integrate trauma-informed language and values in all organizational communications including your website, media and patient portal and in recruitment strategies and processes such as developing job descriptions, interviewing candidates and promoting career opportunities within the organization. Hiring Individuals with lived experience and integrating peer-based roles are two critical strategies for operationalizing the guidance. Download the full chapter for more resources. Because this may be a new focus within primary care, organizations must be mindful not to tokenize lived experience and ensure peers are meaningfully employed and supported in their work.
  • Develop and implement workforce policies that support trauma-informed approaches. 

    Trauma-Informed organizations recognize that trauma-informed practices occur at all levels and facets of an organization. To achieve this, incorporate trauma-informed language across all policies and procedures to establish a strong commitment to trauma-informed principles. Key areas include hiring practices, training, performance evaluations and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

    To help organizations develop trauma-informed policies, the National Council created trauma-informed care policy templates. These templates include key documents related to confidentiality, conflict transformation, discipline, harassment, hiring, health and safety, performance management, professional development, rewards and recognition and a code of conduct.

 

Tools icon Implementation Tools

 

Bulls eye icon Change Concept 2 Goals

  1. Our primary care service team provides staff with training and/or resources on trauma and trauma-informed approaches.
  2. Behavioral health staff and appropriate medical personnel are educated about the best practices in assessing, treating and evaluating patients who experience significant trauma.
  3. Our primary care service’s job announcements include job expectations related to providing trauma-informed care.
  4. Performance appraisals include expectations that staff provide trauma-informed care.
  5. Processes related to workforce development (including hiring, orientation, training and on-going professional development) are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  6. Our primary care service team is equipped to support patients in engaging their social support network into their care processes.
  7. Behavioral health staff and appropriate medical personnel are educated about the best practices in conducting comprehensive strengths’ assessments.