The American Nurses Foundation, the charitable and philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association, on Aug. 26 announced the launch of an interactive, Web-based post-traumatic stress disorder toolkit to help civilian registered nurses better assess and treat PTSD in the nations veterans and military service members, according to a news release.
The toolkit, which includes an e-learning module, is based on advanced gaming techniques and provides RNs with access to materials to assess, treat and refer military members and veterans for help with their symptoms.
The foundations PTSD toolkit was highlighted in a White House fact sheet, issued as part of the event, as an innovative way to address veterans mental health.
We are committed to ensuring nurses have the tools they need to be as effective as possible, ANF Chairwoman Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, said in the release. Nurses can play a far greater role in helping address major, national health issues, such as PTSD, among our nations veterans and service members.
It is estimated that half a million veterans and military service members suffer the disabling agitation, nightmares and emotional withdrawal that characterize this disorder, according to the release.
To improve nurse competency in screening and intervening with PTSD in military members, in June of 2013, ANF made an $85,000 grant to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to develop the toolkit. Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN, led the project at the university. The grant was made possible by funding from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
Nurses often represent the first point of contact for veterans and military personnel seeking care. We want them to have tools to help veterans find the help they need to transition back to civilian life, Hanrahan said in the release. The PTSD toolkits care interventions maximize the potential for self-care management and help move veterans to providers and programs that can help them. PTSD can be treated and cured. Failed transitions from military life to civilian life are unacceptable outcomes.
These e-learning tools will certify that an RN is grounded in assessment, treatment, referral and non-stigmatizing educational approaches to self-care and mutual help.
The ANF will distribute the toolkit nationally via nursing publications, websites and through emails and newsletters of nursing associations and schools.
For more information about ANF, visit www.givetonursing.org.
The PTSD Toolkit for Nurses is available at www.nurseptsdtoolkit.org.