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School of Nursing Joins National Movement to Support Veterans, Military Families

Boise State’s School of Nursing is joining forces with hundreds of other nursing schools and organizations from around the country in an initiative to educate nurses on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the coming years.

In a broad and coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and more than 500 nursing schools, including Boise State, have committed to further educate the nation’s 3 million nurses so they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans and their families.

Led by the American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National League for Nursing, in coordination with the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, Boise State’s School of Nursing has committed to educate current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for veterans impacted by PTSD, TBI, depression and other combat-related issues in ways appropriate to each nurse’s practice setting.

“The School of Nursing is proud to partner on this initiative,” said Pamela Springer, associate dean and chair of the School of Nursing. “We are dedicated to ensuring students graduating from Boise State are well prepared to care for our veterans.”

As part of the initiative, which will kick off during National Nurses Week May 6-12, nursing schools including Boise State have committed by 2014 to:

  • Educate America’s future nurses to care for the nation’s veterans, service members and their families facing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression and other clinical issues
  • Enrich nursing education to ensure that current and future nurses are trained in the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for military service members, veterans and their families
  • Integrate content that addresses the unique health and wellness challenges of the nation’s service members, veterans and their families into nursing curricula
  • Sharing teaching resources and applying best practices in the care of service members, veterans and their families
  • Grow the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for service members, veterans and their families
  • Join with others to further strengthen the supportive community of nurses, institutions, and healthcare providers dedicated to improving the health of service members, veterans and their families

Approximately one in six troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, or more than 300,000 veterans, has either PTSD or TBI. Veterans seeking care within the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system often are 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 visiting their local hospital staffed by nurses and doctors in their communities. That’s why, administrators say, this announcement is significant. America’s nurses are trusted partners in providing lifesaving and life-sustaining care in nearly every community and every setting where health care is delivered. They can make a dramatic and positive impact on the long-term health of hundreds of thousands of veterans. And they are eager to understand the needs of those who have served, to recognize the warning signs of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or suicide and to know where to send them for help.