Judging by the nature of their jobs, troops require special care and attention lest they suffer from combat-related stress common with most veterans. Their families too are not exempted for they too are likely to be affected if their loved one suffers; hence they are to be integrated into the system of care. In regard to this, the two types of health needs most needed by returning veterans and their families will include mental and physical needs (Deyton, 2008).
Safeguarding the mental health of veterans is an important part in ensuring the former soldiers easily and comfortably enjoy their retirement years and for the federal government, it is a way in which the veterans are honored for serving their nation. The mental health of the veterans is regarded to as the invisible wounds considering that they are not physically observable but show in the behavior of the veterans. The veterans may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and major depression. The effects of such on the veteran is that it may affect their moods, thoughts, and behavior and are more often than not invisible to the general society or the immediate family members of the affected. On the families of the veterans, these invisible wounds also portray themselves in the change in moods, thoughts and behavior of the affected family member. On the other hand, physical needs are the visible wounds and mostly affect the veterans. They are as a result of war and it is not uncommon for troops to be injured while in service. They may suffer head (face or neck) and body injuries while some may be amputated. This creates the needs for health care while treating and helping the veterans recuperate from their wounds and injuries (Deyton, 2008).
How might you advocate for the needs of this population
As a nurse, I might advocate for the needs of this group by mentoring fellow nurses, developing knowledge concerning the needs of this population and disseminating the knowledge, teaching fellow nurses, community service, and also through peer review.
What type of advocacy skills would you need and how could you develop them?
The set of skills I would require include communication, problem solving, and collaboration (Tomajan, 2012). I would develop communication skills by writing a short speech on paper introducing the issue and proposed solution. Problem solving, on the other hand, I would develop by mostly brainstorming and enlisting the help of fellow nurses. Lastly, I would develop collaboration by making sure I have healthy relationship between the different departments in the hospital.
What responsibility does a nurse have to be an advocate? Give specific examples.
A nurse has the responsibility to ensure patients are free from suffering be it emotional, psychological or physical. This desire, to help others in easing their suffering, is the major factor behind nursing as a profession. For example, in dealing with veterans, a nurse does not do it just because it is something that he or she has to do or a duty forced upon him or her, but the thought of a veteran suffering after passionately serving his country rouses the nurse to help the veteran (Begley, 2010).
Begley, A.M. (2002). On being a Good Nurse: Reflections on the Past and Preparing for the Future. International J Nurses Practice. 16(6):525-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2010.01878.x
Deyton, L., Hess, W.J., and Jackonis, M.J. (2008). War, its Aftermath, and U.S. Health Policy: towards a Comprehensive Health Program for Americas Military Personnel, Veterans, and their Families. J Law Med Ethics. 36(4):677-89, 608. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2008.00322.x.
Tomajan, K. (2012). Advocating for Nurses and Nursing. The online journal of issues in Nursing. Vol. 17, No. 1, Manuscript 4.
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