1. Section Editor(s): Palatnik, AnneMarie MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

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In this issue, we have a unique article in our Research Rounds department, "Military Nurses Adjust to Postdeployment Life." I had the privilege of working in the same health system with the author, Brenda Elliott, PhD, RN, for a brief time when she was putting together this research project. I found Dr. Elliott's commitment to her family, our profession, and our country second to none. It's an honor to include her work in Nursing2015 Critical Care.

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The themes that emerged from Dr. Elliott's research really made me think about the challenges that military nurses face when transitioning back into traditional practice after leaving the service. It made me wonder what we do as a profession to support our colleagues through this transition. Those thoughts led me down another path that was even more frustrating. We spend little or no time (outside of Veterans Affairs hospitals) talking about how to care for the soldiers that these nurses cared for on the frontline.


According to the Wounded Warrior Project's website, since September 11, 2001, more than 52,000 soldiers have been wounded, an estimated 320,000 soldiers have traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and an estimated 400,000 soldiers have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).1


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 21.8 million living veterans as of July 2012.2 These numbers are staggering, yet we're having very few discussions about the impact of caring for these individuals in the critical care areas. Additional considerations regarding care for veterans involve exposure to hazardous materials, traumatic amputations, radiation exposure, hearing impairment, visual impairment, and chronic pain.


While these soldiers may have survived the combat zone, are we prepared to care for their unique needs in our critical care units? I believe that we owe it to these men and women, who've made significant sacrifices, to provide them with the best possible care. We need to think about situations like triggers in a critical care area that could exacerbate PTSD. Our veterans are a unique population with distinctive needs.3,4


I hope that you'll take some time to think about what additional education you may need to better care for our veterans. The reference section below lists some websites that provide great information, please take a look at them.


Until the next time, be healthy, be happy, be great advocates for your patients, and take some time to think about how we can better care for our veterans!


AnneMarie Palatnik, MSN, APN, ACNS-BC

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1. Wounded Warrior Project(R). 2015. [Context Link]


2. United States Census Bureau. [Context Link]


3. United States Department of Veterans Affairs. [Context Link]


4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. [Context Link]