Caring for our Nation’s Heroes and their Families

By Bonny Kehm, PhD, RN
Faculty Program Director, BS & MS Programs in Nursing

Did you know Excelsior College offers an 8 week, 3 credit hour elective course called NUR 340: Caring for our Nation’s Heroes and their Families? This course is designed to prepare professional health care workers and nurses as leaders of a healthcare team. The course provides critical insights and skills that are required to assess the unique healthcare needs of the military, veterans, and their families, and ensures they receive culturally sensitive and superior health care. Included in the course is an overview of the military and veteran population, the culture of the military, the military and veteran healthcare systems, veteran healthcare resources, and the military family.

This course explores veteran-centric health-related topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder, transition issues, poly-trauma, homelessness, women veteran health issues, and applicable theories.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) veterans is another unique group discussed in this course. At one time, the Department of Defense discharged any service members who revealed their LGBT status—it was a “don’t ask, don’t tell” world. Today, sexual orientation is no longer a reason for discharge. The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs both recognize and support the LGBT service members and veterans.

One faculty member who recently taught this course said, “I love this course and think that every nurse, especially those in direct care, should take this course.”

With so many veterans needing health care, NUR 340 is beneficial to providers on what they need to know to provide better health care. For professional development, why not take it and earn three credits?