Thursday, 3 January 2013, VA001
VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING FOR COMMUNITY NURSES
Investing in the health of more than 325,000 veterans, war widows and widowers, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon today launched a new online, interactive professional development course for community nurses.
Mr Snowdon 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 in consultation with nurses and other mental health professionals, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” he said.
A community nurse from Queensland commented, ‘I found this online training really great. I actually found it fun to do and the variety of interactive learning tools used maintained my interest.’
vetAWARE has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing Australia, and nurses who complete the course will achieve points towards their professional development requirements.
Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government is committed to providing appropriate, accessible and evidence-based mental health care for veterans.
“Working with the medical community to increase their awareness and understanding of veterans’ mental health conditions is an important part of this work,” he said.
For more information about vetAWARE, visit the DVA website – www.dva.gov.au – and search for ‘community nursing’.
Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 02 6277 7820 or 0407 108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203