Congressman Murphy speaks on veterans' issues to nursing students

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In the midst of this political season, Waynesburg University welcomed Congressman Tim Murphy to lecture last month, but not about government policies and plans. The University's NUR 419 Clinical Prevention and Population Health senior students invited Murphy to speak about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) issues relevant to U.S. veterans Friday, Oct. 26 in Stewart Hall.

Melany Chrash, assistant professor of nursing at Waynesburg University and instructor of NUR 419, recently spoke with Murphy at the Greene County Senior Expo about his work as a psychologist and mentioned that she wanted her students to learn about Veterans Affairs.

“The students were very excited about this opportunity,” Chrash said. “As part of our Joining Forces program with the White House, we are attempting to draw attention and awareness to veterans' issues and to educate our nursing students regarding their very specific health concerns.”

The Joining Forces Program is a government program intended to bring together resources to support U.S. military and their families. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Nurses Association and the White House have partnered to promote development of nursing curriculum that specifically addresses the needs of the military as part of this Joining Forces Program.

As a part of the Joined Forces Program, Waynesburg University nursing faculty have added content to the curriculum that will educate student nurses about the importance of referring veterans to community resources. This is because some veterans may not have access to the VA system.

“The Waynesburg University nursing department has ‘joined forces' to demonstrate leadership and provide educational resources that will improve the quality of care that veterans receive whether they seek care in the Veterans Assistance system, a community hospital or a clinic,” Chrash said. “The men and women of the military have risked their lives to protect our way of life; as nurses we make a commitment to care for them and their families with the highest quality of care possible.”

Chrash feels that Murphy's talk was an excellent opportunity for her students who have little experience dealing with PTSD and TBI. She also encouraged those well versed in these issues to attend to receive clarification and interact with someone who is educated and seasoned.

“Not only was the lecture itself a unique learning opportunity, but so was organizing the program,” said Kendra Stewart, a nursing student from Canonsburg, Pa. "I was honored to be a part of it."

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