April 11, 2012FOND DU LAC, Wis. —
On April 11, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced a commitment from nurses across the country eager to serve veterans and military families, led by the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National League for Nursing, in coordination with the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense.
In a broad, coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and over 500 nursing schools, including the AACN and the Marian University School of Nursing, have committed to further educate the nation’s three million nurses on how to recognize and care for veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and other combat-related issues.
“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, First Lady Michelle Obama said. “Because of their expertise, they are trusted to be the frontline of America’s health care 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. It’s clear from today’s announcement that the nursing community is well on its way to serving our men and women in uniform and their families.”
“The School of Nursing is honored to join forces with the First Lady, Dr. Biden, educational partners and other organizations to meet the needs of veterans and their families,” said Dr. Julie Luetschwager, Dean of the School of Nursing. This is an important endeavor to ensure a well-educated nursing workforce who can address the invisible wounds of war that our veterans suffer from and their families cope with.”
PTSD and TBI have impacted approximately one in six of the troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, totaling more than 300,000 veterans. Since 2000, more than 44,000 of those troops have suffered at least a moderate-grade traumatic brain injury.
Veterans seeking care within the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are often treated by health care professionals who have received extensive training in mental health issues, but the majority of veterans in the country seek care outside of the VA system, usually at their local hospitals staffed by nurses and doctors in their communities. By working to expand the body of clinical knowledge in this arena and by partnering with other health care providers and institutions, nursing leaders across the country will continue to advance high quality treatment for these conditions in every community.
To read more about the ANA’s commitment to reaching 3.1 million registered nurses in America by 2015 to raise awareness of PTSD, TBI and depression among veterans, military service members and their families visit http://www.nursingworld.org/