University of South Florida College of Nursing collaborated with James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital to host the “Boots on the Homefront: Introduction to Military to Military & Veteran Health Issues” event at USF’s Oval Theater in the Marshall Center on April 15, 2013.
More than 350 people attended the event including invited guests, USF Nursing students and faculty, and many nurses from James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.
The goal of the program was to set the stage with an overview of the military culture, military families, and the deployment cycle followed by presentations from invited guests. The speakers focused on the key health issues of the current military conflicts including traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), blast injuries, and military sexual trauma.
Instructor and Clinical Collaborative, VA Nursing Academy Faculty at USF Nursing, Carla Nye, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, speaking in front of 350 attendees.
- USF College of Nursing Dean, Dianne Morrison-Beedy
- USF College of Nursing Military Liaison, Alicia Rossiter, ARNP
- USF College of Nursing Instructor and Clinical Collaborative, VA Nursing Academy Faculty, Carla Nye, DNP, ARNP
- Colonel Edward “Tim” Nye
- Benny Lloyd, BSN, RN
- Tracy Kretzmer, PhD
- MSgt Christian “Mack” Mackenzie
“There are roughly 26 million veterans in the United States and approximately 75% of our veterans seek care in the civilian sector,” said USF Nursing Military Liaison, Instructor and Coordinator, Graduate Simulation, Alicia Rossiter, MSN, ARNP, FNP, PNP-BC. “At some point in our student’s career they will care for a veteran and his or her family. It is imperative that we prepare our future nurses to have the insight and the skills needed to recognize the unique healthcare needs of those who have served in harm’s way. This was just one more way that the College of Nursing is transforming the healthcare, transforming the lives of our active military, our veterans, and their families.”
This program, the first of its kind at the USF College of Nursing, was created by Associate Professor and Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Programs, Cheryl Zambroski, PhD, RN. Dr. Zambroski came up with the idea after dreaming of having an All School Assembly, where all the undergraduate students had an educational program on a specific topic.
The USF College of Nursing’s strong focus on Veterans health, one of the Colleges Priorities under the umbrella of Research and Education to Rehabilitate and Restore the Lives of Veterans, Service Members and their Families (RESTORE LIVES), made the topic an obvious choice.
(Left to Right). Colonel Edward “Tim” Nye, Professor, Senior Associate Vice President, USF Health and Dean, College of Nursing, Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, Instructor, Clinical Collaborative, VA Nursing Academy Faculty, Gail H. Schinka, RN, MS, CNN, and USF Nursing Military Liaison, Instructor and Coordinator, Graduate Simulation, Alicia Rossiter, MSN, ARNP, FNP, PNP-BC.
Under the leadership and coordination of USF College of Nursing Instructor and Clinical Collaborative, VA Nursing Academy Faculty Carla Nye, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, the idea became a reality.
“I have been in the military as a reservist or a family member- literally my entire life,” Dr. Nye said. “I love the life I chose, and I am passionate about our active military and veterans receiving the highest quality and most appropriate care. I truly wanted the students and other participants to learn, to understand, but even more, I wanted them to become passionate about this courageous and selfless population.”
The event concluded with a powerful story from an inspirational military speaker, MSgt. Christian “Mack” Mackenzie, who had experienced a poly traumatic injury while serving in Afghanistan. During his speech, he spoke about his experience as a wounded warrior and the military nurses who cared for him. MSgt. Mackenzie was critically injured in a helicopter crash during a mission.
MSgt Christian “Mack” Mackenzie and USF Nursing student, Andrew Armstrong, reunite after the event.
“During his presentation, a USF Nursing student in the audience named Andrew Armstrong, realized that he was the medic that cared for MSgt. Mackenzie at the Air Force Field hospital on Balad Air Force Base, Afghanistan,” said Rossiter. “They were reunited at our conference. It was very touching! Having cared for critically wounded warriors during the Gulf War, I know that there are patients that I still think about today and wonder where they are and how they are doing–there are just some patients you never forget. There is no greater moment than to find out that someone you cared for, someone so critically wounded, is telling his story…just amazing!”
The event had a huge impact on the students. Many of them were amazed at the amount of information they learned. USF Nursing student, Mallory Mettler, said after the event, “From this experience, I have gotten a better insight on PTSD, blast injuries, and deployment troubles. I have never witnessed these stories, but it is important for us as nurses to be able to take care of soldiers…. This experience/assembly is something that I will apply when I work as a nurse.”