As an Army Reserve member, Dale Knode, RN, BS, HSAD works in South Carolina with the Combat Stress and Addictions Program (CSARP) at Moncrief Army Community Hospital. In his civilian life, he works at a PACT program in Yankton, South Dakota. And, he recently proposed to his fiancée, Joyce, while in San Antonio for the APNA 27th Annual Conference!
“My military job is very exciting,” says Knode. “The reason I joined was to work with PTSD and co-occurring individuals and in inpatient mental health.” One particular concern he cites is the issue of multiple deployments and their effects on not only the Veterans themselves, but also their families. “Some PTSD Vets become addicted to that lifestyle of deploying,” explains Knode. “Often we will see Vets with 6 to 12 deployments.”
Some of these Veterans not only find multiple deployments appealing due to the adrenaline rush and extra money they provide, they also often find in deployment a structured experience where they know what is expected of them. Integrating back into civilian life is a big unknown by comparison. “One challenge we often address is helping the families adjust when the Veteran returns from deployment and therapy to help them remain a family,” says Knode. The Combat Stress and Addictions Program (CSARP) has enjoyed extraordinary success. “It is good to see the connections established between soldiers and their families and the communication coming back into their lives,” says Knode.
When a civilian, Knode works in a PACT program in South Dakota, which has 58 clients and 13 staff. “My challenges in this job are the start of drug court in my city and beginning to see the hard drug seeking individuals in our PACT program,” he says. “Many of these individuals have multiple needs due to injuries sustained from when using. They want to have pain management, but the drug courts do not allow them to have these substances due to their addictions.” He also notes the challenge of the program’s recent cutback in nursing staff. “This makes charting challenging due to the limited time we have at our desks,” he says.
Despite these challenges, he stays positive and dedicated to working with clients to experience recovery. “I think that the chance to get to know many nurse leaders since coming to the APNA national conferences has shaped how I make a difference in my clients’ lives and work with them to stay in recovery,” he says. “I have learned, for example, to reframe cognitively with persons with personality disorders in order to help them look at their lives and move towards recovery, staying out of the hospital and having a fulfilling life. It takes a strong assessment of what the client wants in their life and how the two of us can work to achieve this goal.”
And what about the proposal at the Annual Conference this past October?! “Joyce is a special person in my life and I wanted our proposal to be something she would never forget,” he says. “I could not think of a more romantic place than at the Alamo in a lighted horse drawn carriage after having a wonderful night out.” He and Joyce went to the Howl at the Moon club and enjoyed the dueling pianos, then Knode arranged for a carriage ride. “I got down on one knee at the Alamo and asked Joyce to marry me and spend the rest of her life with me,” he says.
If you were at the Friday Night Fiesta at the conference, then you might remember the band’s announcement of their engagement and the couple’s dance. “It was another magical night for both of us as we both like to dance,” says Knode. “It was special to share this time with my APNA family!”
You can get a recap of the APNA 27th Annual Conference here: http://www.apna.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4791