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AANP suggests questions to ask returning troops

Monday November 12, 2012
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Asking the right questions can help healthcare providers identify debilitating conditions brought on by the stress of war and military life, according to a statement from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

In recognition of Veterans Day, the AANP is sharing with providers nationwide a simple and effective tool for identifying health problems among veterans and military service members. The effort is part of AANP’s commitment to Joining Forces, a comprehensive national campaign led by the White House.

"Many veterans choose to see health providers in their own communities rather than at VA centers whose personnel are specially trained to recognize issues associated with military service," Angela Golden, RN, DNP, FNP-BC, FAANP, said in a news release. "As primary healthcare providers, nurse practitioners are committed to doing everything we can to help these heroes."

The AANP urges providers to take the time to ask important questions of their patients who are returning veterans, members of the military or military family members. Among them are:

• Have you or a member of your immediate family ever served in the military?

• Tell me about your military experience: How has military service affected you? Did you see combat, enemy fire or casualties? Were you or a buddy wounded, injured or hospitalized? Did you ever become ill while you were in the service?

• In the past month, have you had nightmares about a traumatic experience or thought about it when you did not want to? Tried to avoid situations that reminded you of traumatic experience? Been constantly on guard or easily startled? Felt numb or detached from others, activities or your surroundings?

Support for the Joining Forces initiative and overall care for active and returning soldiers is the focus of AANP-sponsored activities surrounding National Nurse Practitioner Week, which spans Nov. 11-17. Healthcare providers can learn more about unique health concerns affecting active and retired service members and their families at http://joiningforces.aanp.org.