Department of Nursing remains committed to White House’s Joining Forces Initiative

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Waynesburg University’s Department of Nursing, SNAP and the Joining Forces Initiative recently hosted a discussion on the importance of routine patient screening for military service. Gigi McNaught, MSN, RN, served as the key speaker.

With 18 years of nursing experience including staff nursing in trauma, surgical and dialysis units, and case management at UPMC, West Penn Allegheny Health System and the VA Health System, McNaught provided great insight into the debated topic of screening for military service.

“The speaker [McNaught] really opened my eyes to the lifelong ‘disabilities’ those who served us live with,” said Linsey Zupancic, a senior nursing major. “She made a point to focus on how we need to be aware that they may not open up to us as nurses and we just need to do our best to assess for any signs or symptoms of an underlying cause.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are currently 22 million American military veterans. Due to such numbers, the matter of screening for military service has become predominantly relevant in the health sciences field today. Military veterans and their families are a population with many unique needs including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic amputation and health concerns due to chemical exposure in combat.

Zupancic, Lindsay Morris and other senior nursing students participating in the Clinical Prevention & Population Health (NUR 419) course offered at Waynesburg were in charge of organizing the event along with Melany Chrash, assistant professor of nursing and coordinator of NUR 419. This served as part of the nursing department’s commitment to the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative.

“As a nursing student, this event was very important because it helped us recognize the needs of veterans, and how to provide them with better care and connect them with resources and support outside of the hospital that can make a very positive change in their lives,” said Morris. “I was honored to have the opportunity to work with the Joint Forces Initiative and the faculty in the nursing department to plan this event.”

The Joining Forces Initiative program is led by the American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the National League for Nursing, in coordination with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense. Through this program, nursing organizations and schools have committed to educating current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for veterans impacted by PTSD, traumatic brain injury, depression and other combat-related issues.

Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three adult centers located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 23 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
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