Online Tools to Help Nurses Understand PTSD

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Online Tools to Help Nurses Understand PTSD

Providing care to military veterans

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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The American Nurses Association and its charitable arm, the American Nurse Foundation, have announced the launch of a new web-based, interactive toolkit to help nonmilitary nurses better assess and treat servicemembers and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Psychological Wounds

PTSD is extremely common among servicemembers and veterans. In 2011 alone, Veterans Administration clinics treated more than 475,000 cases of PTSD. Sufferers may struggle with emotional withdrawal, nightmares and agitation, which can become debilitating.

Nurses are often the first point of contact for vets and military personnel seeking care, which makes it very important that nurses understand PTSD. The new toolkit, designed specifically for nurses, provides an interactive guide to the disorder, including assessment techniques, strategies for patient education and referral options.

The toolkit, which is free, is available at

A Cure Is Possible

The toolkit recently received national attention when the White House included it on a fact sheet issued in conjunction with President Obama’s address to the American Legion’s convention in August.

“The PTSD toolkit’s care interventions maximize the potential for self-care management and help move veterans to providers and programs that can help them,” says Nancy Hanrahan, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing who led the toolkit’s development. “PTSD can be treated and cured. Failed transitions from military life to civilian life are unacceptable outcomes.”  

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