On April 11, 2012 First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech to a group of nurses calling for more nurses to be prepared for treating our returning veterans who suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and post-combat depression.
This is welcome news to those who are concerned for the health of our returning veterans. These veterans, many of whom have gone back again and again to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 11 years, will need medical and psychological care for many years to come. The Veterans Administration will be severely tested over the coming years to keep up with the demands.
What is even greater to hear is that over 500 nursing schools across the nation and 150 state and national nursing organizations have pledged themselves to focus on the training of these new nurses with the skill to care for the full range of war wounds that have been suffered by our troops. They w
ill be trained in healing both the visible and the invisible wounds.
"Nurses are trusted to be the front line of America's healthcare system," Mrs. Obama was quoted as saying in a small article in Nurse.com Magazine. "That's why I knew we could turn to America's nurses and nursing students to help our veterans and military families get the world-class care that they've earned."
There are always two fronts to be fought during wartime. The first, of course, is on the field of battle. But just as important a fight takes place on the home front. There the battle is to heal the terrible wounds, to reclaim the individual lives of the wounded warriors, to get them back to some semblance of normalcy, so that they can take up their lives again in productive ways.
The wounded troops do not come home alone either. They come home to families who are changed by the often severe wounds that their fathers, husbands, mothers, brothers, and sisters come home with. These families will also need the support and care of well trained nurses and doctors throughout the healing recovery process.
Nurses are the front line troops in that battle. They wage that battle with skilled hands, and caring hearts. These nurses, who will be educated for this purpose, will serve the nation by serving the returning troops with their practiced care, skill and dedication to others. They will serve our veterans with the same kind of dedication and commitment to others that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have shown for the nation.
As a former Navy/Marine Corps Hospital Corpsman, I think that this calling forth of nurses is a superb idea. It is a natural for those who are called to be nurses. These nurses will make a huge difference in the individual lives of those veterans. By caring for the medical and psychological needs of those who have sacrificed so much in service to the nation, these nurses will be serving the nation as well in profoundly powerful, life supporting ways. The unspoken truth in this story is that these nurses will be positively affected through their experiences with these wounded warriors. They will find the true meaning and purpose of their profession. And they will never serve a more grateful clientele. This is a win-win idea.