ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In an effort to provide better care for patients, UNM Hospital is hiring more trauma-trained professionals for their staff. “As the state’s safety-net hospital, you know, we work with the most complicated, most acute patients,” said Dr. Larissa Lindsey.

As policies and techniques change in the medical world, UNMH is also working to take trauma care to a new level. “We’ve had to look at being creative with regards to making sure that the staff that we’re hiring have the requisite education and training to be able to respond from a trauma-informed approach,” said Dr. Lindsey.

Dr. Lindsey is the Director of Clinical Services for Behavioral Health at UNMH and saw the need for more trauma-informed healthcare professionals in her department. “We have been in the top five, if not the number one, placeholder for childhood trauma exposure in the country,” said Dr. Lindsey.

UNMH has been working on hiring more trauma-informed professionals for years, but a SAMHSA grant last year has helped them push the effort forward.

Now, they want to make sure trauma-informed care is a standard procedure across the board for hiring. “What does this population look like? How do we approach and work with them from a trauma-informed perspective,” said Dr. Lindsey.

Now, when hiring they are seeing what the potential employee would do in certain scenarios with a patient who experienced trauma. “Asking about experiences with the traumatized population, comfort level with a lot of the behaviors that come along with untreated trauma reactions,” said Dr. Lindsey.

She also says trauma can come from childhood experiences, discrimination, poverty, limited resources, and substance abuse and she wants all staff to be prepared to handle anything that comes their way. “A system-wide trauma-informed training that’s going to impact every level of staff from [the] front line and security to our physicians,” said Dr. Lindsey.

So, staff can better serve their patients, and avoid having them re-live traumatic experiences when receiving medical care. “Our job is to do the best we can to provide a safe and secure environment,” said Dr. Lindsey. “The trauma exposure in our community likely also impacts what’s going on in our educational areas and our low high school graduation attainment.”