A Binghamton University associate professor wrote a book giving insight into the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and possible treatments for it.
Mary Muscari, interim director of graduate programs for the Decker School of Nursing, wrote her 15th book, “What Nurses Know … PTSD,” to help everyday people understand the symptoms of PTSD from sexual or violent abuse, post-war trauma and trauma caused by natural disasters.
“It’s a map for a journey because people with PTSD often relive the trauma,” Muscari said. “It focuses on how to deal with some of the issues, for example how to shut off the stress or to decrease stress in general so it doesn’t complicate the PTSD.”
Muscari said her background in forensic psychology and her work with clients was the inspiration for the book.
“I’m a forensic psych nurse and most of my work is with adolescents,” Muscari said. “I then started working with delinquents and sexually assaulted clients. Since I work with forensic cases, I see a lot of people who have been traumatized by certain events.”
Students and readers in general, whether they are looking to pursue nursing or not, can gain knowledge about PTSD and its potential treatments, such as talking about the trauma and reducing stress, according to Muscari.
“It’s almost a ‘how-to’ book,” Muscari said. “I tend to write for consumers, so it’s simple to understand, and I usually incorporate a lot of common sense.”
According to Muscari, the book may be especially helpful to women because there are several chapters that describe the treatment of PTSD in children who have been assaulted and in spouses returning from war.
“It’s also to give some help to women who have to deal with PTSD cases in their own home,” Muscari said.
Muscari said her other books primarily focused on parenting and pediatric behaviors.
“I did a lot of presentations and articles on adolescents acting out, but as soon as Columbine happened, a lot of people suddenly became interested in the topic because nothing like that had ever happened before,” Muscari said. “A lot of people had questions about parenting and I started doing research about children violence, which then became my first book.”
According to Muscari, her first book, “Not My Kid,” which focused on bullying and its psychological consequences, was one of her most successful works. The book was the first in a string of parenting books and led to Muscari’s work in forensics and criminology.
“I really enjoy the topic of parenting; it’s like my sanity,” Muscari said. “I recently received my degree in criminology and it’s also very interesting, but can sometimes get overwhelming.”
During her six years as a professor, Muscari has encouraged students to help her brainstorm and conduct research for her books.
“I’ve had students, especially graduate students who were interested in the topic, help me with my books, and they’ve all gotten publications as contributors,” Muscari said. “However, I always try to get undergraduates to help, especially those between the ages of eighteen to twenty, so that they can contribute a different and fresh perspective.”
In her book “Becoming A Nurse,” Muscari collaborated with 53 other nurses and nursing students to write a guide for emerging nurses.
“It’s good for people starting in nursing to know a little about the profession,” Muscari said.
Muscari said that she is thinking of writing another book, possibly on criminology topics.
“The study I did this time was strictly on adults and involved mass violence, school shootings and mass murder,” Muscari said. “The publishing company said it was time to switch it up from the expected parenting books.”
Most of the proceeds from Muscari’s books are donated to the National Association of Pediatrics Nurse Practitioners, a national medical health group targeted toward children.