Equipping the Nursing Workforce to Care for the Unique Needs of Veterans and Their FamiliesMiltner, R. S., Selleck, C. S., Moore, R. L., Patrician, P. A., Froelich, K. D., Eagerton, G. S., & Harper, D. C.
Scott Eiswert was a soldier who served with the Tennessee National Guard in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. In 2008, upon hearing that his unit was going back to Iraq, he committed suicide. His wife reported that he was "different," when he came home from Iraq. He drank every night, complained of constant nightmares, and was angry enough to scream at family and strangers alike; all are classic indications of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although evaluated in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospital, Eiswert had been denied Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits for PTSD because the reviewers said he couldn't prove his situation was caused by military service in Iraq.1 This and other tragedies prompted the VA to improve access to care and streamline the process for VA disability and healthcare for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Still, many do not seek care in the VA system. Most Veterans are being seen by community providers and treated in non-VHA facilities where their past military service is rarely addressed.2 Is your staff prepared to care for the physical and mental health needs of the Veterans who seek care in your facility?