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chronic pain, hazardous exposure, homelessness, military sexual trauma, military veteran, polytrauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, suicide, traumatic brain injury, veteran



  1. Johnson, Barbara S. MSN
  2. Boudiab, Lina D. MSN
  3. Freundl, Margaret MSN
  4. Anthony, Maureen PhD
  5. Gmerek, Gregory B. MSA
  6. Carter, Jemica PhD


Overview: There are currently 22.5 million living U.S. military veterans, and this number is expected to increase dramatically as military personnel return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Although honorably discharged veterans may qualify for health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), only about 25% of all veterans take advantage of this benefit; a majority seek services in non-VA settings. It's imperative for nurses in all civilian care settings to understand the impact that military service has on veterans' health. This article provides an overview of veterans' unique health care issues, focusing particularly on traumatic brain injury, polytrauma, hazardous exposures, chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, substance use disorders, suicide, and homelessness. Evidence-based assessment tools and treatment guidelines for these health issues are discussed. A resource table provides telephone numbers and Web sites offering tools, educational materials, and veteran services. A second table provides detailed veteran-centered health assessment and screening questions.