Teaching Nurses to Care for Veterans

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Teaching Nurses to Care for Veterans

Local nursing schools are

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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In order to prepare nurses to provide care to veterans and their families, 525 nursing schools and organizations have become involved in an initiative called Joining Forces.  Local nursing programs that have signed on include: Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, UCLA, Mount St. Mary’s, West Coast University, Azuza Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences and UC Irvine.

On the Front Line

Joining Forces was launched on April 11 by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. It is led by the American Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, the Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, in coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

“Whether we’re in a hospital, a doctor’s office or a community health center, nurses are often the first people we see when we walk through the door,” Michelle Obama said. “Because of their expertise, they are trusted to be the front line of America’s healthcare system. That’s why Jill and I knew we could turn to America’s nurses and nursing students to help our veterans and military families get the world-class care that they’ve earned.”  

Invisible Wounds

Professor Cindy Smith Greenberg, director of Cal State Fullerton’s School of Nursing, says, “We are committed to preparing students to use best practices in providing care to veterans and their families who may have unique care needs. Veterans bring experience, leadership and critical reasoning skills that are invaluable in providing quality nursing care.”   

Of the more than 300,000 veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than one in six are thought to suffer from “the invisible wounds of war”: post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The expertise needed to deal with patients suffering from such injuries will be gained through existing nursing classes.

Says Navy Capt. C.B. Cooper II, executive director of Joining Forces, “Partnering schools will integrate into their curricula teaching the unique health challenges, as well as best practices, associated with caring for this distinct patient population.”  

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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