This month, we hear from Y.R. on the importance of providing care to veterans:

I followed my childhood interest into a career in nursing. Mental health is essential but is often a forgotten or an invisible component of health care. As a young nurse, mental health nursing was not my first choice. Maternal Child Health was the career choice for many, as well as for myself. Fortunately, my first job and the beginning of my career in mental health, behavior health, and psychiatric nursing was in a long-term mental health facility located in a small town in Midwestern Illinois over 25 years ago.

"As a caregiver and advocate for this vulnerable population, I have become more compassionate, empathetic, and nonjudgmental with others.

Many days came with frustration, fear for my life, and a headache. Once I became aware of my biases and fears, I was well on my way to a rewarding career in mental health nursing. As a caregiver and advocate for this vulnerable population, I have become more compassionate, empathetic, and nonjudgmental with others. I have chosen this path in mental health nursing and I have never regretted it.

My stories are endless, too many to tell. However, one story in particular does come to mind. Despite many veterans’ hopes that the invisible wounds of war can be healed, they leave scars. Most survivors who have experienced or witnessed life-threatening events such as terrorist incidents, and serious accidents can adjust to incidents without lingering effects. Many years after a war, aging veterans find themselves fighting a new battle as they strive to cope with multiple life events and changes (i.e. chronic illnesses, losses, retirement, and relocation). My greatest story will soon be told, as I hope to make a difference in psychiatric-mental health nursing devoted to the care of elderly military veterans. Thank you, veterans!

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