A veteran is defined as someone who served in the military on active duty, reserves, or National Guard and who was discharged honorably. In 2021, there were 19 million U.S. veterans who served from World War II through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or during peacetime1. Although the Veterans Health Administration (VA) is the largest health care system in the United States, more than half of veterans receive their care from providers in civilian clinical facilities. This means that on any given day, a civilian nurse will likely care for a veteran.
Published competencies provide a foundation for a veteran-centered nursing practice2-6. Veteran-centered care requires a keen understanding of military culture, unique health care needs associated with era served, communicating with veterans, and how to access VA and community veteran resources. Quite often, military service results in additional vulnerabilities to veterans over their lifetime. It is imperative that medical-surgical nurses are competent and confident to assess, diagnose, plan, and implement veteran-centered care. Similarly, the core curriculum for medical-surgical nursing seeks to promote excellence in medical-surgical nursing practice7. Overlap between veteran and medical-surgical competencies highlight the knowledge and skills needed to meet individualized patient care needs, particularly for veterans.
This purpose of this poster is twofold: highlight veteran competencies pertinent to medical-surgical nurses and directly link them to the medical-surgical nursing core curriculum7. Exemplars of best care practices, tailored to the veteran population receiving care in a medical-surgical setting, are provided. In addition, resources aimed to support holistic practice are included. Medical-surgical nurses play an important role in assuring veterans receive timely, culturally congruent care. Efforts to keep veterans in the discourse, medical-surgical nurses must be better prepared to meet veterans’ unique health needs.
Evidence-based references 1. Schaeffer, K. (2021). The changing face of America’s veteran population. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/04/05/the-changing-face-of-americas-veteran-population/ 2. Carlson, J. (2016). Baccalaureate nursing faculty competencies and teaching strategies to enhance the care of the veteran population: Perspectives of Veterans affairs nursing academy (VANA) faculty. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(4), 314-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2016.01.006 3. Elliott, B., Chargualaf, K., & Patterson, B. (2021). Veteran-centered care in education and practice. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1891/9780826135971 4. McMillan, L., Crumbley, D., Freean, J., Rhodes, M., Kane, M., & Napier, J. (2017). Caring for the veteran, military and family member nursing competencies: Strategies for integrating content into nursing school curricula. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(5), 378-386. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2017.06.002 5. Moss, J., Moore, R., & Selleck, C. (2015). Veteran competencies for undergraduate nursing education. Advanced Nursing Science, 38(4), 306-316. https://doi.org/10.1097/ANS.00000000000000092 6. Tam-Seto, L., Krupa, T., Stuart, H., Lingley-Pottie, P., Aiken, A., & Cramm, H. 2019). The validation of the military and veteran family cultural competency model (MVF-CCM). Military Behavioral Health, 8(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2019.1689875 7. Craven, H. (Ed.). (2016). Core curriculum for medical-surgical nursing (5th ed.). Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses.