APNA Pledges Support to Joining Forces Initiative

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is proud to pledge our support to the national “Joining Forces” campaign. We have partnered with other organizations in the nursing community such as ANA and NLN to collectively champion and further this valuable endeavor.

“Joining Forces” is First Lady Michelle Obama’s comprehensive national initiative which calls upon us as a nation to take action in providing the support and treatment our service members and their families need as they reconnect with their communities, particularly when it comes to employment, education, and wellness.

Nurses are experts at wellness. From Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War to present day, nurses have cared for both the visible and invisible wounds sustained in war.  Unfortunately, the signature wounds of current conflicts are more often invisible -- including depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other challenges. As PMH nurses, you know that these injuries impact the ability to function and can damage relationships with family and friends. PMH nurses also know that invisible wounds complicate perceptions of pain and the healing of physical wounds.

In the next five years, over one million service members are projected to leave the military. While the VA cares for over 8 million veterans, almost half of them (and many of their family members) will seek care in community settings outside of the military and VA systems.  As nurses, we care for our military service members, veterans, and their families in every professional setting and know the wounded warriors as our own personal family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

Nurses from all specialties should be equipped to understand and recognize the signs of PTSD, TBI, depression and suicide risk. Every nurse should also know where to send struggling service members, veterans, and their families for help. The White House is asking us to stand together as leaders on this issue to improve the quality of care provided to our military service members, veterans, and families.

The APNA Board of Directors, on behalf of our more than 7,700 members and 37 chapters, has pledged to join forces with our colleagues throughout nursing. We are “Joining Forces” to support our Veterans and their families by:

  • 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 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.

We have joined forces with our nursing colleagues to inspire and prepare each nurse to recognize the unique health and wellness concerns of this population, thereby improving the lives of those who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom. In this effort, we stand together as nurses. We hope to do our part in providing you with the education, resources, and tools available so that you feel empowered to provide the best care possible to our military service members, veterans, and their families. As individuals, you can also play a part in this initiative - start by getting informed at www.apna.org/military