Name of Faculty Advisor
Dr. Elizabeth Burkhart
Burns happen frequently, are often non-fatal, and are costly. Given the growing survival rate, more burn survivors are at risk for unhealthy or ineffective transition to burn survivorship. The transition process is unclear.
Describe what is known about burn survivor transition and identify gaps in knowledge.
A search was performed using the databases CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, Education Search Complete and Social Work Abstracts. Key terms included burn, survivorship, survivor, recovery and adjustment, limited to the past 10 years, 18 years of age and older, and English language. A total of 67 articles were included in the synthesis of the literature.
Results of literature search
The burn injury is a life altering event that challenges the individual’s pre-burn self-concept and physical body. The literature falls into three main categories (pre-burn characteristics, transition with coping and social support, and outcomes) punctuated by the liminal event of the burn injury. The burn survivor has a set of pre-burn characteristics that influence the outcome of their transition and coping after burn injury. Transition in becoming a burn survivor is a process that represents cognitive work between between stable states and is initiated by the burn injury event. The burn survivor copes with the stress of the burn bolstering social support systems in a process of adjusting to post-burn identity, adjusting to life with hidden or visible scars and the associated social stigma. Outcomes after the coping process are positive or negative.
Synthesis of evidence
Burn survivorship is both a process and an outcome with the process component understood through transition and coping. This is the passage from the pre-burn self to the post-burn self. It is the engagement of the burn injured individual as they make sense of their physical recovery and body image, receive and give social support, and redefine the self. This process may be revisited, and the survivor reengaged in the process over time.
Implications for practice
Understanding the process of transition and coping in the burn survivor can aid nurses in identifying ways to improve coping efficiency and transition after burn injury.
Transition and Coping in the Adult Burn Survivor