Do you know the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]? Do you know who is at risk? Are men and women at equal risk of developing it?
If you find yourself struggling to answer these questions, consider checking The PTSD Toolkit for Nurses, www.nurseptsdtoolkit.org, a new interactive resource designed by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
The American Nurses Foundation (ANF) recently announced the launch of the toolkit to help civilian registered nurses better assess and treat PTSD in veterans and military service members.
An estimated half million veterans and military service members suffer from this mental health condition that is triggered by a traumatic event, such as exposure to combat, violence, natural disasters, terrorism and accidents.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, experts think PTSD occurs:
- In about 11-20 percent of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom).
- In as many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans.
- In about 30 percent of Vietnam Veterans.
PTSD symptoms include angry outburts, trouble sleeping, and other negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.
PTSF can affect anyone, and women are at greater risk. Sometimes symptoms are hard to identify. The website provides an e-learning module to build assessment and intervention skills, so nurses can treat and refer military members and veterans for help. It also includes videos and an interactive game to practice your assessment and referral skills.
Nurses are often the first point of contact when veterans and military personnel seek medical help. PTSD can be treated and cured. This toolkit can help you immediately recognizie symptoms, and intervene to help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life.
Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, business and eduucation. Visit her at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.