The Duquesne University School of Nursing has joined the commitment recently announced by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to further educate the nation’s three million nurses so that they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans and their families. Duquesne is among more than 500 nursing schools and 150+ state and national nursing organizations to support this effort.
Led by the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National League for Nursing, in coordination with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, nursing organizations and schools have committed to educating current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression and other combat-related issues, in ways appropriate to each nurse’s practice setting.
According to Duquesne Nursing Dean Dr. Eileen Zungolo, the nursing school faculty unanimously support this initiative and are actively seeking ways to increase the emphasis on the needs of veterans and military families.
“Our undergraduate program introduces students to the complex needs of veterans of combat, while in our master’s program we have a specialization in forensic nursing,” said Zungolo. “This enables the nurse to accurately assess the impact of violence and its aftermath on health and wellbeing. And, this year, our annual McGinley symposium on social justice will feature the veteran and the unique health care needs they present.”
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), have impacted approximately 1 in 6 of U.S. troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—more than 300,000 veterans. More than 44,000 of those troops have suffered at least a moderate-grade traumatic brain injury since 2000.
“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,” said Obama. “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.”
Read more about this effort to support military veterans and their families.