Posted on Apr 11, 2012

USF College of Nursing Joins Forces with the First Lady and Dr. Biden to support Veterans and Military Families

USF College of Nursing Joins Forces with the First Lady and Dr. Biden to support Veterans and Military Families

USF College of Nursing Dean, Dianne Morrison-Beedy is one of only 20 national nursing education leaders invited to attend the Joining Forces event with First Lady Michelle Obama

USF College of Nursing Dean, Dianne Morrison-Beedy is one of only 20 national nursing education leaders invited to attend the Joining Forces event with First Lady Michelle Obama

Tampa, FL (April 11, 2012) Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced a commitment from nurses across the country eager to serve our veterans and military families as well as they have served us. In a broad, coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and over 500 nursing schools, including the University of South Florida College of Nursing, have committed to further educate our nation’s three million nurses so they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

Led by the American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the National League for Nursing, in coordination with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, nursing organizations and schools have committed to educating current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and other combat-related issues, in ways appropriate to each nurse’s practice setting. 

“Whether we’re in a hospital, a doctor’s office or a community health center, nurses are often the first people we see when we walk through the door. Because of their expertise, they are trusted to be the frontline of America’s health care system,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “That’s why Jill and 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. It’s clear from today’s announcement that the nursing community is well on its way to serving our men and women in uniform and their families.”

“Nurses are at the center of providing lifesaving care in communities across the country — and their reach is particularly important because our veterans don’t always seek care through the VA system,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “This commitment is essential to ensuring our returning service men and women receive the care they deserve.”

Dianne Morrison-Beedy, Dean of the USF College of Nursing, was one of only 20 nursing deans nationwide invited to attend the Joining Forces campaign event with First Lady Michelle Obama at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia today.

“The USF College of Nursing is a national leader in educational preparation, and nursing research that deal with healthcare issues unique to service members, veterans and their families,” said Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, Senior Associate Vice President of USF Health, and Dean of the College of Nursing. “We are glad to bring our expertise to the table as we Join Forces with nursing professionals, educators and nurse scientists from across the country in a commitment to this important initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.”

Improving Veteran Healthcare

The invisible wounds of war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), have impacted approximately 1 in 6 of our troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq – more than 300,000 veterans. And since 2000, more than 44,000 of those troops have suffered at least a moderate-grade traumatic brain injury.

Veterans seeking care within the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are often treated by health care professionals who have received extensive training in mental health issues.  But the majority of veterans in the country seek care outside of the VA system — they usually visit their local hospital staffed by nurses and doctors in their communities. That’s why today’s announcement will be so significant for our troops and their families. America’s nurses are trusted partners in providing lifesaving and life-sustaining care in nearly every community and every setting where health care is delivered. They can make a dramatic and positive impact on the long-term health of hundreds of thousands of veterans. And they are eager to understand the needs of those who have served, to recognize the warning signs of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or suicide, and to know where to send them for help.

Nursing leaders have also committed to disseminating effective models for care and to sharing the most up-to-date information on these conditions across academic and practice settings.   By working to expand the body of clinical knowledge in this arena and by partnering with other health care providers and institutions, nursing leaders across the country will continue to advance high quality treatment for these conditions in every community.

USF College of Nursing’s Commitment

The USF College of Nursing has a long history of supporting our nation’s service members, veterans and their families with workforce issues, innovative educational programs and out-of-the-box nursing research conducted by our world class faculty. We will continue in our efforts and enthusiastically join nursing organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and all sectors of the nursing profession to support the national Joining Forces campaign, Dr. Morrison-Beedy said.

The USF College of Nursing is recognized as a national leader in education and research in military and veteran health issues because of initiatives like:

  • A RESTORE LIVES Center to improve the lives of returning veterans and their families through education and innovative research. Currently, we are conducting a five-part research project including studies such as: a novel approach to treat veterans with PTSD using accelerated resolution therapy (ART); and a bio-behavioral program on women veterans studying relationship of combat exposure to cardiovascular, metabolic and immune risk.
  • In conjunction with our partners at the James A Haley VA Hospital, we are one of only eight programs in the nation to host a VA Nurse Academy (VANA) that prepares baccalaureate nursing student to work in the VA environment, and to deal with the specific health issues of veterans and their families.  As national leaders in the field, the USF College of Nursing was one of only five nursing programs asked to participate in the national VANA Think Tank in 2011. In addition, this collaboration has allowed the USF nursing faculty to develop a course, Introduction to Military and Veteran Health, that will provide an introduction to the military/veteran culture and the healthcare needs and concerns related to this unique population.
  • The USF Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program has signature residencies for students who wish to focus on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), polytrauma and orthopedic injuries.
  •  Dr. Carrie Elk was appointed as Nursing Military Liaison to build and maintain relationships with service members and their families, military agencies and veteran groups by increasing the visibility and involvement of the College in the military community locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Development of an accelerated baccalaureate program at the USF College of Nursing specific to returning military program veterans incorporating their prior service in health-related specialties and applying time served in those specialties towards college credit.
  • The USF College of Nursing Virtual Simulation Center of Excellence plays an integral part in the US Air Force (USAF) Nurse Transition Program in Tampa, providing military appropriate simulation experiences and training platforms for newly assessed USAF nurses to assist in the transition for deployment.
  • The USF Nurse Anesthesia master’s program is housed in the newly opened high-tech Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) center that provides realistic training in simulated combat environments for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA’s), nurse practitioners, and other interprofessional healthcare providers.

On Nov. 13, 2012, in Tampa, FL, the USF College of Nursing will host a RESTORE LIVES: Nursing Education and Research in Veterans Health conference where the nation’s finest nurse educators and scientists will Join Forces to focus on nursing education and research designed to meet the needs of veterans, service members and their families.


-USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities.