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For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2012

Contact: Patricia Adams

UMSON Participates in Joining Forces Campaign

UMSON Joins the Ranks of Hundreds of Others in Educating Nursing Students on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the Coming Years

Baltimore, Md./Washington, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have 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 and more than 500 nursing schools, including the University of Maryland School of Nursing, have committed to further educate our nation’s 3 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.”

“Our participation in the Joining Forces campaign is in keeping with the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s long standing involvement in educating military nurses and veterans ,” said Janet D. Allan, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing.” 

Dean Allan noted, for example, that the School of Nursing established the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing in 1964—a four-year program subsidized by the U.S. Army in which graduates were obligated to serve for three years in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps following graduation. More than 1,100 nurses graduated from the program before it ended in 1978.

“Since nurses make up the largest segment of the professional health care workforce—and they are the most trusted among all professions— it is only fitting that nurses and nursing schools are at the forefront of this important national campaign,” said Dean Allan.

The invisible wounds of war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), have impacted approximately one in six 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. 

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. 

Nursing School Commitment

More than 500 nursing schools in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have committed by 2014 to:

  • Educating America’s future nurses to care for our nation's veterans, service members, and their families facing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and other clinical issues;
  • Enriching nursing education to ensure that current and future nurses are trained in the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for military service members, veterans, and their families;
  • Integrating content that addresses the unique health and wellness challenges of our nation’s service members, veterans, and their families into nursing curricula;
  • Sharing teaching resources and applying best practices in the care of service members, veterans, and their families;
  • Growing the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our service members, veterans, and their families; and
  • Joining with others to further strengthen the supportive community of nurses, institutions, and healthcare providers dedicated to improving the health of service members, veterans, and their families.

For more information about the Joining Forces initiative, visit http://www.aacn.nche.edu/joining-forces

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked seventh nationally.  Enrolling more than 1,600 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.

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