Arlington, VA (PRWEB) April 12, 2012
Yesterday First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced a commitment from nurses across the nation to take action in providing our service members and their families the support and treatment they need as they reconnect with their communities, particularly when it comes to employment, education, and wellness. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), proud to lend its voice to this initiative, is pleased to work in conjunction with the American Nurses Association (ANA), who is coordinating a major campaign to ensure that our nation’s nurses are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families. APNA and 150 other nursing organizations 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.
“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. Because of their expertise, they are trusted to be the frontline of America’s health care system,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “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.”
“Nurses are at the center of providing lifesaving care in communities across the country -- and their reach is particularly important because our veterans don't always seek care through the VA system,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “This commitment is essential to ensuring our returning service men and women receive the care they deserve.”
“Psychiatric-mental health nursing has always been and continues to be committed to providing our wounded warriors and their families with effective care that recognizes the unique health and wellness needs of this population,” said APNA President Marlene Nadler-Moodie, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC. “We hope to do our part in providing our members and nurses everywhere with the education, resources, and tools available so that they feel empowered to provide the best care possible to our military service members, veterans, and their families.”
The invisible wounds of war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), have impacted approximately 1 in 6 of our troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq – more than 300,000 veterans. And 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. However, the majority of veterans in the country seek care outside of the VA system, visiting their local hospital staffed by nurses and doctors in their communities. That’s why yesterday’s announcement is so significant for our troops and their families. 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. We can make a dramatic and positive impact on the long-term health of hundreds of thousands of veterans by understanding the needs of those who have served, recognizing the warning signs of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or suicide, and knowing where to send them for help.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is “Joining Forces” to support our Veterans and their families by:
APNA and other nursing colleagues have also committed to disseminating effective models for care and to sharing the most up-to-date information on these conditions across academic and practice settings. 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.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association provides educational resources to its more than 7,800 members as well as to nurses across the country via its website and continuing nursing education programs. A section of the APNA website, http://www.apna.org/military, serves as a portal to a wide variety of information on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and working with the military population. The APNA Annual Conference and its Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute, which together are attended by more than 1,500 nurses annually, include sessions dedicated to military-related mental health issues. These presentations are converted to podcasts and made available to the public via the APNA eLearning Center.
APNA is proud to be joining forces with its nursing colleagues to inspire and prepare each nurse to recognize the unique health and wellness concerns of our veterans, service members, and their families, thereby improving the lives of those who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom. In this effort, we all stand together as nurses.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.