Online assistance for nurses to help war veterans

A NEW online service will help nurses better prepare to assist in the treatment of war veterans, widows and widowers.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon launched the online, interactive professional development course for community nurses last week.

 He said finding time to fit professional development into a hectic work and family life is difficult for most, but for busy nurses-especially those working in remote or regional communities – it can be just about impossible.

 “The vetAWARE course increases nurses’ understanding of the common mental health challenges faced by veterans, and how to best support them and their families,” he said.  The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) contracts hundreds of community nurses around the country to provide health services to former and current servicemen and women, and war widows and widowers.

 Mr Snowdon said that community nurses see our most vulnerable veterans and war widows in their own home and so are uniquely placed to recognise signs of mental distress. Even the most experienced nurses will benefit from knowing where to refer their patients, and newer nurses will gain an insight into the mental health issues associated with war and war-like service.

 “The interactive course was developed  with nurses and other mental health professionals, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. For more information about vetAWARE, visit the DVA website – www.dva.gov.au – and search for ‘community nursing’.

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