University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Family Medicine


Larry Herman, DMSc, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA


Trauma history, such as experiencing abuse or community violence, is present in approximately two-thirds of the population. It is important for providers to be knowledgeable about trauma due to the high prevalence and long-lasting impact. The medical encounter can be triggering for patients with a history of trauma especially when power differentials are exacerbated such as during the physical examination. Providers can improve the interaction by incorporating simple trauma-informed techniques into the physical examination by adjusting communication, positioning, and contact. These modifications positively impact the interaction by focusing on fostering a sense of safety and collaborative decision-making. This article describes the background of trauma-informed care and outlines trauma-informed techniques for physical examinations that can be immediately applied to patient interactions across all medical specialties.


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