Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Mary Kirk

Dissertation Committee Members

Mary Kirk, Erika Pinter, Amber Fiedler


Winona, Minnesota


The increase in student trauma and mental illness is putting direct care professionals such as educators at risk of secondary traumatic stress. The purpose of this quantitative survey method research was to explore how nursing faculty within the Minnesota State system were affected by their work with traumatized students and if they experienced significant distress or impairment. The theoretical framework guiding this dissertation was the McCann and Pearlman’s Constructivist Self Development (CSD) theory. There were two research questions that led this study: Does the amount of exposure to student trauma relate to the level of secondary traumatic stress experienced by nursing faculty of exposure to student trauma relate to the level of secondary trauma experienced by nursing faculty and Is there a relationship between the reported STS and the level of functional impairment experienced by nursing faculty? The researcher used a purposeful single stage to recruit a sample of 175 nursing faculty from the undergraduate nursing programs within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The participants completed an anonymous online survey through Qualtrics that included demographic information, questions regarding exposure to student trauma, the modified Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale, and the Functional Impairment from Secondary Traumatic Stress. The results of this study found that there was a statistically significant relationship between the frequency of exposure to student trauma and the level of secondary traumatic stress experienced by faculty, p=



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