The purpose of this article is to explicate patterns of comforting that assist the seriously injured patient to endure the pain of injury and subsequent treatments and to remain controlled. The care provided to 67 trauma patients in two trauma centers was videotaped and analyzed using observational methods and linguistic analysis. During painful procedures, when patients exhibited extreme distress, one nurse usually assumed the role of comforter. The nurses used a patterned mode of speech (comfort talk”), touch, and distinctive posturing behaviors that enabled the patient to endure the agony and maintain control. In this article, the authors describe the comfort work of nursing in emerging situations, further develop the Comfort Talk Register, and describe the concomitant behaviors that facilitate patient endurance. They suggest that the comfort work of nurses in this situation enables patients to endure and reduces shock and post-traumatic stress following trauma care.
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