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New Course Prepares Nurses to Meet the Needs of Veterans and Their Families

May 20, 2013

Lisa Aiello-Laws, an online adjunct faculty member, is currently teaching the first term of “The Unique Healthcare Needs of Veterans,” a new course created to teach nursing students how to help returning veterans. Aiello-Laws worked with professor Dr. Karyn Holt to co-develop and teach the course. The course fundamentally teaches students working toward their Bachelor’s degree in Nursing about veterans, their families, and what their collective needs are. As a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative, 130 of the nation's medical and osteopathic colleges have committed to train students in treating brain injuries, PTSD and other mental health issues affecting returning service members. Over 500 nursing schools, including the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions, have committed to further educate our nation’s 3 million nurses so that they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans and their families.

The students enrolled in the course learn about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide, depression, homelessness, and the various resources available for veterans in their transition to civilian life. There is also a section on the specific needs of military women, including an emphasis on sexual trauma.

The popularity of the new course is undeniable; “The Unique Needs of Military Veterans” reached full enrollment capacity in one registration day. Aiello-Laws says she hopes courses like these will become available to other majors, too. “I think the community is interested and of course there is a need,” she said.

Professor Aiello-Laws has submitted a pledge on behalf of the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions to the Joining Forces Initiative.