Waynesburg University Nursing Program joins forces with First Lady, Dr. Biden to support veterans, military families

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Dr. Nancy Mosser, professor of nursing and chair and director of the Department of Nursing at Waynesburg University, was one of only 20 nursing deans nationwide invited to attend an April 11 meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.

The meeting announced a commitment from nurses across the country eager to serve our veterans and military families as well as they have served their country. In a broad, coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and more than 500 nursing schools including Waynesburg University have committed to further educate our nation’s 3 million nurses so they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

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, 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.

“Waynesburg University has been and continues to be committed to the care of our veterans and their families by educating our students with the most up-to-date information to ensure the highest quality care,” Mosser said. “Waynesburg’s Department of Nursing is devoted to educating students using best practices related to caring for all patients, but our curriculum is strategically planned to address unique and challenging situations as well.”

Waynesburg University President Timothy R. Thyreen was pleased with Waynesburg University’s involvement in the day’s event.

“Waynesburg University’s Nursing Program challenges students to be familiar with all facets of an increasingly complex health care system,” Thyreen said. “Our nursing faculty work hard to make certain that our graduates are prepared to offer superior care in an array of situations.”

The invisible wounds of war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), have impacted approximately one in six 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.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

That is why today’s announcement was of the utmost significance for 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. 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 post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or suicide, and to know where to send them for help.

Nursing leaders 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 Key Commitments Include:

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 more than 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 of Nurses, 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.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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