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Nursing Education National League for Nursing Joins Forces with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to support Veterans and Military Families

Click here for the NLN Joining Forces pledge.

Click here for photo.

National League for Nursing Joins Forces with First Lady
Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to support Veterans and
Military Families


With NLN Urging, Hundreds of Nursing Schools Sign Pledge to Educate
Nursing Students About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) &
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the coming years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY — April 12, 2012 — The National League for Nursing today joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to announce a commitment from nurses across the United States eager to serve veterans and military families as well as they have served the nation. In a broad effort, coordinated by the US Departments of Veteran Affairs and Defense; the NLN; American Nurses Association (ANA); American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP); and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and more than 500 nursing schools have pledged to further educate the nation's 3 million nurses so they are better prepared to meet the unique health care needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

Among the most pressing health care issues facing military men and women and their families are the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); traumatic brain injury (TBI); and other combat-related injuries. It is estimated that approximately one in six service personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—more than 300,000 veterans—have been impacted by PTSD and TBI. And since 2000, more than 44,000 of those troops have suffered at least a moderate-grade traumatic brain injury. Through this bold 'Joining Forces' initiative, nursing organizations and schools have committed to educate current and future nurses how to recognize the symptoms of these debilitating, though often invisible, conditions and provide care 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."

Noted NLN President Judith A. Halstead, PhD, RN, FAAN ANEF, who was in Philadelphia with the First Lady and Dr. Biden: "While this pledge is important, implementation is the ultimate goal. As faculty, we are asking you to educate your students about caring for military service members, veterans, and their families. It will take all of us working together to provide the needed services for our heroes."

"As nurse educators, we have a special role to play," urged NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, who was also present for the announcement. "There are so many things schools of nursing can do in this great collective effort. Bring in guest speakers and plan events at the local VA hospital. Share your teaching resources and contribute to the growing body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care for this special population."

Dedicated to excellence in nursing education to advance the health of the nation, the NLN last month reached out to its 35,000 individual members and 1,200 institutional members who represent nurse educators at all levels of higher education to sign the pledge. The NLN is also planning a series of professional development activities in connection with 'Joining Forces' to help ensure that nurse faculty across the academic spectrum can educate future nurses about the physical and psychological needs of veterans and their families. A special session will be held at the 2012 NLN Education Summit in September in Anaheim, CA, and an on-demand webinar series is scheduled for the fall 2012 semester.

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. But the majority of veterans in the country seek care outside of the VA system; they usually visit their local hospital, staffed by nurses and doctors in their communities. 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 know where to send them for help.

A Nursing Leadership Conference at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Nursing followed the Joining Forces Initiative Event. Dr. Afaf Meleis welcomed all the nursing leader participants. Nursing leaders 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.

Editors and reporters: For interview opportunities, please contact NLN Chief Communications Officer, Karen R. Klestzick at 212-812-0376 or kklestzick@nln.org.

Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its 35,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members. NLN members represent nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations and agencies.

Other Key Stakeholder Commitments

American Nurses Association (ANA): Commits to reaching 3.1 million registered nurses in America by 2015 to raise awareness of PTSD, TBI and depression among veterans, military service members, and their families. The ANA is coordinating a major campaign involving over 150 nursing organizations that will reach millions of nurses on health issues relevant to veterans and their families. Partnering organizations include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, the National League for Nursing, federal nurses of the military and public health services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Together with these partnering organizations, ANA will:

  • Educate America's future nurses to care for our 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 educated and trained in the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for military service members, veterans, and their families;
  • Disseminate the most up-to-date information as it relates to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • Grow the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our military service members, veterans, and their families; and
  • Lead and advance the supportive community of nurses, institutions, and health care providers dedicated to improving the health of military service members, veterans, and their families.

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP): AANP represents the interests of the more than 148,000 Nurse Practitioners across the country. It has reached out to its members through the creation of a unique Joining Forces section of their website, contacted all Nurse Practitioners and nursing organizations that are AANP group members to ask for their pledge in support of Joining Forces, asked state representatives to contact organizations in their state to render support, committed to publishing a special edition on veterans health in their journal, provided workshops to promote the wellness of veterans and caregivers at its conference, created continuing education programs focusing on issues facing veterans and military families, highlighted veterans' health during Nurse Practitioners week, and supported research on veterans' health through their foundation. AANP has formed an ad hoc committee, composed of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense leaders, to focus on promoting this initiative.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN): is making veteran health a priority issue through 2014 and beyond. AACN is committed to working with the nation's schools of nursing to promote curriculum integration, faculty development, and student clinical experiences focused on enhancing the care of veterans, service members, and their families. Building on its long history of raising curriculum standards and enhancing quality in nursing care, AACN will identify and showcase best practices in nursing education and disseminate information on curricular models to all schools of nursing through Webinars, conference programming, and our online Collaboration Community. In honor of National Nurses Week scheduled for May 6-12, 2012, AACN is offering a free Webinar series to commence work to support Joining Forces available at www.aacn.nche.edu/webinars. Reflecting the theme of "Educating Future Nurses to Care for Veterans," three individual Webinars are planned, including a showcase of the innovative work underway at several VA Nursing Academy sites related to veteran care and faculty development; a panel discussion on creative curriculum approaches to caring for veterans; and a special session on meeting the palliative care needs of veterans, which outlines AACN's work with the City of Hope on the groundbreaking ELNEC-For Veterans initiative.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA): is committed to providing support to veterans and their families by providing educational resources to its more than 7,800 members as well as to all nurses across the country. APNA has created a website, www.apna.org/military that serves as a portal to a wide variety of information on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The APNA Annual Conference and its Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute, which together are attended by more than 1,500 nurses annually, will include sections dedicated to mental health issues that are military related. These courses will be converted to podcasts and made available via the APNA eLearning Center which can be viewed or downloaded from the APNA website.

Nursing Organizations
Over 150 state and national nursing organizations have committed to the following:

  • Educating America's nurses to care for our nation's veterans, service members, and their families facing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and other clinical issues;
  • Enriching nursing education to ensure that current and future nurses are educated and trained in the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for military service members, veterans, and their families;
  • Disseminating the most up-to-date information as it relates to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • Growing the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our military service members, veterans, and their families; and
  • Leading and advancing the supportive community of nurses, institutions, and health care providers dedicated to improving the health of military service members, veterans, and their families.

Nursing School Commitment
Over 500 nursing schools in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico have committed by 2014 to:

  • Educating America's future nurses to care for our nation's veterans, service members, and their families facing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and other clinical issues;
  • Enriching 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;
  • Integrating content that addresses the unique health and wellness challenges of our 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;
  • Growing the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our service members, veterans, and their families; and
  • Joining 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.

 

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