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Frequently asked questions:

What is the policy analysis tool? 

  • Organizations can best mitigate Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) for staff when they have evidence-based policies that are STS-informed. This tool provides a series of questions that can help an organization analyze their policies for consistency with the principles of an STS-informed organization.
  • This tool follows standards of care that indicate that STS is best considered from a primary and secondary prevention perspective and assists organizations in understanding more about the content and scope of existing policies, how they are developed and implemented, and whether desired outcomes are being achieved.  

Who should use it?

  • Internal teams or external consultants can use this tool to examine the content and process of policy-making, implementation and evaluation. 

What is the purpose of this tool?

  • This tool was developed to help organizations and units examine STS-related policies that they have in place and areas that may need to be developed.
  • It can be used to establish a baseline understanding of how STS-informed the policies and policy-making process is and can be repeated over time to determine progress toward organizational STS related goals.

What is meant by a “policy?"

  • For the purposes of this tool, a policy is defined as “A written policy or protocol that guides the allocation of resources, actions, and desired outcomes and serves as the mechanism by which regulations, procedures, and administrative actions are formalized.” 

How long will it take to use the tool?

  • This tool will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

What if I have questions while using the tool?

  • A supplemental guidance document has been developed to assist you with using this tool.  It provides assistance with understanding the questions and scoring, and provides examples. Please download the guidance document before you begin using the tool using the Download Guidance Link below.

How do I cite the STS-Policy Analysis Tool and Implementation Guide?

  • Sprang, G., Eslinger, J., Gottfried, R., & Gusler, S. (2022). The Secondary Traumatic Stress Policy Analysis Tool, University of Kentucky Center on Trauma and Children publication #22-STSPL-01 
  • Sprang, G., Eslinger, J., Gottfried, R., & Gusler, S. (2022). The Secondary Traumatic Stress Policy Analysis Tool Implementation Guide, University of Kentucky Center on Trauma and Children publication #22-STSPL-02

We invite you to approach this assessment with a beginner's mindset. 

As Shunryu Suzuki in his book Zen Mindset, Beginner's Mindset suggests "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." Regardless of where you are in your journey toward being STS-informed, we begin each step anew. This STS Policy analysis tool provides a range of policy options. Not all will be appropriate or necessary for your organization. If this is your first time using the tool, remember this is the beginning, think of the possibilities and avoid harsh judgments. The total score is only there so you can mark your progress over time. 

Guidance and Supporting Materials

We recommend that you download this guidance document before begin the STS-PAT Online. 

Download Guide

STS Policy Analysis Online Tool

Access the STS-PAT online tool here.

Access the STS-PAT Online