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7 Types of Situational Crisis Faced by Psychiatric Nurses and their Intervention Procedures

When an unexpected event occurs in a hospital that revolves around the experience of grief and loss is said to be situational crisis. The Journal of National Center for Biotechnology Information defines situational crisis as a critical event in the life of medical staff where disequilibrium is created due to unanticipated stressful event that threatens the social and physiological integrity of an individual.

Situational crises could be of various types which can result in the loss of job, loosing a loved one, or any emotional illness of a close relative. Therefore, 10 types of situational crises have been identified that matters in the life of nurses anlong with their intervention procedures.

Types of Situational Crisis

Adventitious Crisis

The particular type of situation crisis is also known as social crisis where multiple losses for individuals occur due to accidental, unplanned, and unanticipated events. It is uncommon to occur and is not part of a everyday life that may include natural disasters, crime of violence, child abuse, bombings, and other similar crises moments. Nurses play an important role in fighting the adventitious crisis as they have to provide services to a large number of people.

Maturational Crisis

Maturational crisis occurs in contrast to the emotions that are triggered due to unresolved conflicts in the life of an individual. This situational crisis is also known as development crisis because it is of internal origin and that affects developmental issues of individuals such as value conflicts, sexual identity, emotional intmacy control, and dependency. Although these crises are predictable up to certain extent but they emotionally drain an individual. For example, if a shooting is reported in a school and it did not resolve its effect in a child, then it would have a negative impact on that individual’s adult life.

Psychiatric Emergencies

A crisis occurs when individual’s mental capacity functioning is severely impaired and as a result they are unable to assume any responsibility or show any competency in their life. For example, individuals with suicidal tendencies, drug addiction, reactions caused by hallucinogenic drugs, uncontrollable anger, and alcohol abuse are psychiatric emergencies. Nurses and other medical staff are required to respond to this situational crisis with severity as it can easily end the life of individual if not treated well.

Dispositional Crisis

Dispositional Crisis is a type of situational crises in which an individual respond to an external situational stressor. In this case, medical health is often provided to the patient suffering from dispositional crises. For example, dispositional crisis occurs when a house is under fire, or when a partner have an abusive relationship with another partner. Apart from medical health assistance, other type of help is also offered such as support groups and agencies taking care of the family.

Traumatic Stress Crisis

A crisis which is caused by an unexpected external stressor to which an individual feels emotionally overwhelmed because they have little or no control over them and therefore feels defeated. In this case, an individual would not seek immidiate assistance because of shyness, feeling embarresed, security issues, and other related reasons. An example of these issues might inlcude rape, abuse, breaking in of the house, and others. Nurses are also involved in treating to the wounds and treat the mental pressures of patients which are resulted from these crises.

Life Transition Crisis

When an individual faces a transition in their life which may be anticipated but may have a lack of control. This transitional crisis which is a type of situational crisis occurs with almost every individual. Examples of this type of life transition crisis includes transfer of job, witnessing childbirth, and puberty age.

Psychopathology Crisis

A crisis which tends to occur when an individual faces unstable relationship with other people and as a result they feel emotionally unstable. This situational crisis normaly requires admission in the hospital to stabilize the emotional condition. Borderline personality is an example of this crisis along with severe neuroses and character disorder.

Intervention Procedures

Intervention Procedures

When nurses offer immediate short-term help to patients in distress and suffering from the above-mentioned crises, then it is referred to as intervention procedure. These have been described below:


When dealing with emotionally disturbed individuals, nurses speaks with patients on areas that are emotionally charged. Tension is released when feelings of patients are realized. Nurses solicits about specific events and situations that were involed in the situational crisis. Open-ended questions are asked from patients and repeating patients’ words, and as a result feelings are expressed.


In resolving development crisis, nurses differentiate the feelings and behaviors of patients. For example, when a patient feels sick to go for work, the nurses would provide a clarification that as a result of promotion the particular behavior can be justified. Nurses helps patients to understand their feelings in a better manner.  


When nurses infleunces a person to accept a belief of an idea is referred to as suggestion. Patient considers nurses as confident, calm, and an empathic person who can understand their situation well. It may provide patients new ways to look at a problem and search for new alternative solutions.


Nurses can strengthen positive behavior in individuals by acknowledging patients’ responses. The nurses can commend that their approach at that time can be justified.

Support of Defenses

Nurses tend to help patients through discouraging negative defenses which may result in their change of behaviour and encouraging positive and healthy defenses that may help patients see an alternative solution and a brighter light.

Enhancing Self-Esteem

Nurses increases self-esteem through regaining their self-worth. This process can be carried out through making the patient realize that they are important to many people and they are the reason that influences the lives of other people.



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