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Papers of the Week

2020 May 14

Policy Polit Nurs Pract

Readiness of Non-Veteran Health Administration Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to Care for Those Who Have Served: A Multimethod Descriptive Study.


Federal, state, and educational policy, as well as public and professional initiatives, should influence how care is delivered to veterans from non-Veteran Health Administration (VHA) advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) located in civilian health care facilities. Due to the MISSION Act, more veterans are receiving care outside the VHA, but little is known about the readiness of APRNs to address the needs of this population. This mixed-methods study describes the perceptions of 340 non-VHA APRNs concerning practice, clinical needs, and challenges they face while delivering care to veterans. Survey results show only 8% of APRNs consistently asked about military service; less than 1% asked if the patient has a family member with military history; and only 25% applied research by inquiring into military history when patients presented with conditions like chronic pain, interpersonal violence, or insomnia. Technology use via mobile application was minimally reported (<1%). "Missing in Action," the overarching theme from qualitative data, included three subthemes: (a) absence facilitated collaboration with VHA, (b) concerns regarding personal competency in the care of the military person, and (c) lack of recognition of the significance of the need to know about military status. Practice implications proffered include implementation of mandatory inquiry into military service and enactment of APRN veteran-centric nursing competencies. Education actions involve updating graduate nursing programs to include veteran health content and increased policy awareness. Future research should encompass replication of this study in specific APRN roles and consist of ongoing evaluation of veteran care by the civilian sector as the MISSION Act is implemented.