PTSD: Press Release: 6/20/13

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The American Nurses Foundation (ANF), the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), today announced making a $75,000 grant to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) toolkit to help civilian registered nurses (RNs) better assess and treat PTSD in the nation’s veterans and military service members. Penn Nursing’s Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, will lead the project at the university.

“Given that June is PTSD Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to highlight the serious consequences of PTSD, if left untreated, and what nurses can do to ensure that veterans receive the highest level of care,” says ANF Chair Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN. “At ANF, we are striving to transform the nation’s health through the power of nursing. We are excited about this new project because these tools will help nurses learn detection and treatment options that can help our nation’s veterans and service members transition successfully back into civilian life.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a cluster of symptoms that occur when a person experiences or witnesses a threat of injury or death. It is estimated that half a million veterans and military service members suffer the disabling agitation, nightmares, and emotional withdrawal that characterize this disorder.

To improve nurse competency in screening and intervening with PTSD in military members, ANF will work with Penn Nursing to develop an interactive, PTSD-focused website, an e-learning module based on advanced gaming techniques, and a downloadable smartphone app that will provide immediate access to materials for RNs to assess, treat, and refer military members and veterans for help with their symptoms. 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.

“In the United States, there are more than 3 mill