This article highlights the need for raised awareness of veteran and military populations within nursing education and explores the considerations and challenges for health care, in being able to offer effective treatment to these populations.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are approximately 23 million veterans living in the United States. In 2012, the Joining Forces initiative highlighted the need to enhance nursing education for the military and veteran population. With the draw down of 2 long, large-scale conflicts, a young cohort of veterans presented new challenges in health care. Although not necessarily a traditional vulnerable population, given their emergent health care needs, they are vulnerable. Purnell's Model for Cultural Competence provided a framework for this exploratory descriptive study. A national on-line survey of 123 nursing programs that pledged to support Joining Forces responded as to how they addressed the initiatives, curricular content, and facilitators and barriers to the process. The findings suggest that some schools/ colleges of nursing have exceeded the initiative goals, some who have implemented little, whereas most are in the process. Respondents shared approaches used to enhance courses and curricula. Faculty who were veterans were a strength to program enhancement. The majority felt that incorporating this content was important, although lack of time and a content-laden curriculum were common barriers. Nurse educators have an ethical obligation to teach culturally sensitive care. Making the pledge was only the first step.
Elliott, B. and Patterson, B., 2017. Joining Forces: The Status of Military and Veteran Health Care in Nursing Curricula. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(2), pp. 145-152.