Janet Willhaus, assistant professor for the School of Nursing, presented a lecture at the Montana Tech Public Lecture Series in Butte, Montana on Oct. 22.
The Montana Tech series focused on veteran healthcare, which made Willhaus, a veteran, the perfect speaker for this series. Willhaus’ lecture, titled “Joining Forces: Learning about Veterans Using Healthcare Simulation Techniques,” discussed how simulation can help nursing students better understand the care needs of veterans and their families. Willhaus used a case she wrote for the National League for Nursing’s Advancing Care Excellence for Veterans.
The case Willhaus discussed is that of Randy Adams, an Iraq war veteran who suffered a car accident. In the case, the nursing students caring for his concussion from the wreck find that there may be other issues that Adams experienced during his deployment that could impact his recovery. Adam’s wife, Joy, reports that he’s had difficulty adjusting in the years since he has gotten out of the Army. He has headaches, is forgetful, and the transition has been difficult for them all.
Willhaus’ character, Randy, and others like him are used in unfolding cases during simulations. The cases better prepare nursing students to effectively treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and a host of related physical, mental health and social ills associated with combat.
Willhaus noted that 60 to 65 people attended the lecture and that she was also able to stay an extra day to conduct a workshop about simulation to the Montana Tech nursing faculty as they are transitioning from a two-year to a four-year nursing program.