Nursing Students Perceptions About Caring for Veterans

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 2:05 PM

Doris Troth Lippman, EdD, APRN, FAAN
School of Nursing, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
Jaclyn Conelius, FNP-BC
Hospital Education/118A, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT
Sadiann Ozment, MPH, BS
Hospital Education Service / 118A, VA Healthcare System, West Haven, CT

Learning Objective 1: Examine differences in perception among nursing students in their ability to care for Veterans and non-Veterans in specific care settings.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss ways to educate nursing students about the unique care needs of Veterans.

Purpose: In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs established the VA Nursing Academy with the goal of increasing the number of nursing students is prepared to care for Veterans. Students in this program learn to how to provide the highest standard of healthcare to Veterans

Methods: The Watson theory of transpersonal caring was chosen as the theoretical framework (Watson, 1996). Using the survey, Perceptions of Nursing Students About Caring for Veterans (Lippman and Ozment, 2007) the authors were able to evaluate the students’ perception of their efficacy to care for the Veteran population.  Specific items queried student perceptions about health. Following IRB approval by Fairfield University, Connecticut data collection began. The tool was administered to a cohort of second degree BSN students before their first and after their last clinical practicum at VA Connecticut Healthcare System. The student’s perceptions were measured using the following statistical tools: descriptive statistics including means, standard deviations, frequencies, percentages and t-tests.

Results: An analysis of the results indicated there was a change in a positive direction in the nursing students’ perception of their ability to care for Veterans. For example, item #2 indicated most students initially disagreed with the statement, “I feel confident in my ability to communicate with Veterans who have served during different wars”, compared to strongly agreeing at the end of the program

Conclusion: These nursing students will have an increased vigilance when providing care to Veterans in any clinical settings. Additionally, these findings will be used to educate future nursing students in the care of Veterans.