Returning to civil life proves to be challenging for veterans who rendered their services in war zones. The veterans and their families need health care for psychological distresses and thermal injuries. In this regard, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is among the most common risk factors (Borders et al.). It is caused by the tragic events that soldiers witness during wartime. Such events include disastrous deaths, severely injured soldiers and civilians, and a hostile war environment. Also, lack of social support is one of the reasons for this disorder. If adequate healthcare is not provided to the veterans suffering from PTSD then it can further lead to suicides and other mental diseases (Begley, A. M, 2010). The tendency of veterans to commit suicide is two times more than that of civilians. As a result of war depression, many service members disassociate themselves from society. The psychological disorders also become worrisome for the families of veterans and often they are unable to find appropriate solutions to such problems. Therefore, a proper rehabilitation program is also needed for such individuals to make them healthy participants in society.
Thermal injuries- Those veterans who have performed their services in war-affected areas of Iraq and Afghanistan are the most common victims of these injuries. The hostile actions of enemies may not necessarily cause burn injuries all the time rather carelessness is also one of the major factors of such harm. When soldiers are exposed to extreme weather conditions, they need proper care for their skin. The thermal injuries that veterans carry can cause death and severe skin-related issues. There are several injuries that damage tissues of the skin and are extremely harmful to the muscles. The percentage of thermal injuries that results in mortality is 4%.
Role of Nurses as advocates
In order to provide veterans with proper healthcare concerning psychological disorders and thermal injuries, nurses and paramedics should come forward and take responsibility for veterans who are suffering from the above-mentioned health conditions. Following are the responsibilities and advocacy skills for a nurse to cater health needs of veterans
A nurse should stress the development of social networks and healthy coping processes for the treatment of psychological disorders. Veterans possess such unique lifestyles and experiences that other veterans can understand. Therefore, it is the responsibility of nurses as heatlhcarer of veterans to engage them with the people of their age group who can listen to them and understand their stories and problems. The involvement of the community on a large-scale is also required for the mental health of veterans.
Also, there is a need for integrated healthcare financing and delivery system to support veterans, their children, and the rest of their family members. However, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs perform their duties of health care to the active service members but their families, those who have retired, and veterans are under different legal authority. As both, departments deliver high-quality services but still have proper coordination, much better communication and improved collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services will be much more effective (Jackonis et al.) Those who have served the nation deserve better treatment from the government, system, and society as a whole. Nurses who deal with the health issues of such veterans are in a better position to understand these needs very well. Therefore, if they come up with the proposal of better integrated financial support and delivery system for healthcare purposes of veterans as they need better social network support and rehabilitation to come out of their psychological disorders then it will be a great effort on the part of nurses. A good nurse always tries to provide patients and victims with the best possible healthcare system. Also, they identify the areas of improvement in the healthcare system and services. In this regard, nurses can be good healthcare advocates.
Begley, A. M. (2010). On being a good nurse: reflections on the past and preparing for the future. International journal of nursing practice, 16(6), 525-532.
Borders, A., Rothman, D. J., & McAndrew, L. M. (2015). Sleep problems may mediate associations between rumination and PTSD and depressive symptoms among OIF/OEF veterans. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 7(1), 76.
Jackonis, M. J., Deyton, L., & Hess, W. J. (2008). War, its aftermath, and US health policy: Toward a comprehensive health program for America’s military personnel, veterans, and their families.