Developing nursing curriculum to facilitate the delivery of holistic care to the military veteran


Daily media coverage tells the story of challenges facing returning members of the United States Military. High rates of suicide, more than twenty per day, horrific traumatic injuries necessitating challenging physical and emotional healing, and lingering post-traumatic stress disorders warranting the most advanced methods of treatment are reported daily. As America recoils from two prolonged oversea wars, the need for prepared healthcare providers is essential not only for the Veterans Administration (VA), but also for civilian based healthcare systems. The bulk of nursing education literature seems to evidence a void regarding this segment of the population. What seems like a prime education focus remains yet to be enacted in most nursing programs. The authors have responded to this challenge, by creating curricula developed to increase nursing student awareness of veterans’ unique needs, and to prepare undergraduate nursing students to provide quality care to veterans. Through the creation of a laboratory simulation scenario, students learned how to holistically view and respond to the needs of a veteran client. Debriefing allowed for reviewing the experience and discussing concerns. Outcomes measured via pre- and post- testing survey reflected the complexity of patient care needs. Students were asked to rate their ability to identify and prioritize appropriate nursing interventions. Anecdotal feedback was positive in that students consistently expressed a need to have additional simulation experiences.

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Beckford, M. and Ellis, C. (2013) Developing nursing curriculum to facilitate the delivery of holistic care to the military veteran. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 400-403. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.35054.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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