Bringing Trauma Home: Reflections on Interviewing Survivors of Trauma while Working from Home
International Journal of Qualitative Methods
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home became the new normal for many professionals. While this was beneficial in managing the rapidly spreading virus, it had varying impacts on the mental health of those previously not accustomed to remote work. This paper provides a critical reflection of the researcher’s experience of conducting interviews with survivors of trauma while working from home. The research aimed to understand the experiences of significant others supporting patients with severe burn injury in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). As an experienced ICU nurse, the researcher has well developed personal coping strategies for dealing with complex trauma and in working with significant others of patients with severe burn injury in hospital settings. Due to the pandemic, data collection moved from face-to-face in the hospital, as originally intended, to phone or videoconference interviews. 17 participants were recruited, with all participants given the option of videoconference (n = 3) or telephone interviews (n = 14). Interviews had an average length of 55 minutes. This paper discusses the strategies adopted to cope with the sharing of significant others’ experiences of trauma while in the home environment. Careful consideration was needed for the researcher, the participants and those within the homes of both researcher and participant, in terms of psychological safety, ethical considerations and rapport building.
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University of Western Sydney