More Nurses to Be Trained To Treat PTSD, TBI


Posted to Nursing, Nursing News, Nursing School, Nursing Specialties

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The White House is leading an initiative to improve health care for former troops and their families. The White House’s Joining Forces campaign includes an agreement with 150 nursing organizations and 500 nursing schools to educate nurses on combat-related injuries.

There will be additional coursework and training opportunities regarding injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The effort aims to reach 3 million nurses on the “front lines of health care,” as Joining Forces Director Navy Capt. Bradley Cooper is quoted as saying in this article in the Air Force Times.

“The goal is to raise awareness among every nurse throughout the country to recognize the signs and symptoms and lower the stigma of getting care,” said Amy Garcia, chief nursing officer for the American Nurses Association.

The White House estimates that 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from traumatic brain injury, PTSD or other combat-related mental health issues, such as depression.

About half have sought care from the Veterans Affairs Department, leaving about 150,000 former service members seeking civilian care, Cooper said.

Joining Forces is a campaign designed to raise awareness of the needs of military personnel, veterans and their families. It was launched a year ago this week.

Obama and Biden will unveil more details on the new initiative when they speak Wednesday at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

In January, Mrs. Obama announced a similar pledge by 135 medical schools to educate future physicians and increase research on what are commonly referred to as the “invisible wounds” of war — PTSD and TBI.

Garcia said no federal funding is being used for the effort.

According to Garcia, one out of every 100 Americans is a nurse. Many don’t work in fields where they would be exposed to head injury or behavioral health disorders. Educating all nurses on these injuries and illnesses would lead to better veterans’ care, she said.

“We want to make sure they understand about new treatments and new science so they can make appropriate referrals,” Garcia said.

The professional education and training opportunities that will be offered through the initiative will be voluntary, she added.