A violent and sudden episode—a traumatic event—is certain to evoke some degree of physical and emotional response in any person who experiences it. Whatever the intensity of the event and the severity of the trauma, it is typical that the person will at some point seek the support of professionals who can provide assurance, a sense of safety, and hope for recovery. In many instances, this form of initial treatment is accomplished through the work of health care professionals trained in primary care.

Not to be confused with emergency medical services, primary care is the first point at which an individual patient receives the medical services necessary to sustain health and well-being. Although this appears simple enough in concept, a practical understanding of what constitutes primary ...

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