Preparing Staff to Care for Veterans in a Way They Need and Deserve


This paper provides culturally sensitive information and approaches for care workers working with US veterans in the civilian health care system.


More than 2.5 million military veterans have been deployed for service in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, whereas another 20 million veterans currently reside in the United States. For various reasons, increasing numbers of military and associated personnel from various wars could go to civilian population-based care facilities for their rest-of-life health care. Therefore, educational activities are important to prepare nursing staff for the culturally sensitive care that veterans, their dependents, and civilian contractor personnel need. This article (a) provides rationale for veterans' admissions, (b) summarizes some common health situations that veterans are likely to encounter, (c) stresses major educational goals, and (d) emphasizes the use of the universal assessment question: Have you ever served in the military? Several educational implications and challenges are discussed, including war zone physiology, reintegration, military culture and pride, ethical challenges, educational speakers, simulation, veteran individuality, and compassion fatigue. Available resources to accompany this content are provided.

Full Reference

Armstrong, M.L., Allen, P.E., Conard, P.L. "Preparing Staff to Care for Veterans in a Way They Need and Deserve?", The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 46(3):109-118, March 2015.