New Website Helps Nurses Provide PTSD Care

New Website Helps Nurses Provide PTSD Care

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,, 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


Nurses Face Greater Risk for Depression

Nurses Face Greater Risk for Depression

Nurses deal with a spectrum of emotions on any given day. As caregivers, you see your share of gut-wrenching moments. Stressful occurrences are constant. With time, you learn coping skills to protect your heart, your sanity, your life. But what if the “blues” or a “bad day” lingers too long?  Could you be depressed and not know it?

The answer is yes.

A study last year found 18 percent of hospital nurses suffer depressive symptoms, which is twice the rate of the general population. If that wasn’t eye-opening enough, the study, which was published in the journal Clinical Nurse Specialist, revealed nurses may not always recognize depression in themselves.

Nurses with depression not only suffer, but their condition may impact co-workers and the quality of care they provide to patients.

Some signs of depression may include poor job satisfaction, mistakes with patient care, lowered productivity, workplace absenteeism and trouble concentrating.

Other symptoms of depression can include:

  • Difficulty making decisions or recalling details
  • Fatigue and a general lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, pessimism and/or helplessness
  • Insomnia, excessive sleeping or problems staying asleep
  • Moodiness
  • Lack of interest in hobbies or activities 
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Persistent and sometimes unexplained pains, headaches, cramps, or other physical problems that remain constant even with treatment
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down 

Depression hurts emotionally and physically. It makes the simplest tasks difficult to accomplish.

With nearly 1 in 5 nurses depressed, chances are you work with someone struggling with a disease that still carries a stigma. 

Knowing the signs is a healthy first step toward seeking a solution. Consider sharing information about the signs of depression informally at work or formally during staff meetings and on a unit level. Discussions could include confidential resources to manage depression, which can be life threatening if untreated. Depression is a big risk factor for suicide. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression symptoms, please seek help.

Robin Farmer is a freelance writer with a focus on health, education and business. Contact her at