White House Wives Thank Nurses for their Commitment to Care of Veterans with Trauma Injuries and PTSD

The first lady, Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden have come together to support nurses in caring for veterans struggling with war related physical and emotional problems such as brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Together they created a program called Joining Forces, an initiative aimed at supporting members of the military and their families in the areas of employment, education, and overall health and wellness.

The first lady cites that about 17 percent of our veterans have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and almost 45,000 have reported some form of traumatic brain injury over the past 12 years. Many of our armed forces come back from the horrors of war only to suffer in silence. Traditional primary care providers are not well-versed in treating this type of trauma, so many men and women do not get the type of care they need.

On April 11, Obama and Biden paid a visit to the University of Pennsylvania. They sought to honor some 1100 individuals in the nursing field who have committed their efforts to the program and to providing specialized care to our hurting soldiers. The program now boasts of nearly 50 nursing programs in the state of Pennsylvania alone. There are 16 more in New Jersey that have dedicated themselves to the program as well.

Joining Forces has made nurses the focus of its efforts as they are the first line of defense and are the ones best positioned to offer comprehensive care. Since training on diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and brain trauma are not part of standardized nursing courses, the initiative seeks to educate nurses everywhere how to spot these issues and provide adequate care. Support groups are also using the Internet to spread the word, even providing free webinars for those who want to learn more.