In an initiative that will be highlighted Wednesday at the University of Pennsylvania, the nation's nursing schools have pledged to increase training of current and future nurses about the "invisible wounds of war": post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and post-combat depression.
Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will speak on campus about the new program as part of a two-day national tour celebrating the one-year anniversary of their Joining Forces campaign to help soldiers and their families. After the Penn appearance, Michelle Obama will appear on The Colbert Report to talk about the program.
Penn's nursing school is among 450 that have pledged to increase training about the special needs of veterans. One hundred fifty nursing organizations have also signed onto the effort, which does not include extra funding. The initiative is meant to improve care, especially for veterans who get their medical treatment outside of the military system.
Afaf Meleis, dean of Penn's nursing school, said the impact of military service can be felt in "every facet of the health-care system" and in schools and communities.
She said she is interested in developing "best-care practices" for soldiers and families and conducting scientific research. Other schools may focus on continuing education or professional development.
In January, 135 medical schools made a similar commitment to Joining Forces. They said they would establish a network to share research and information about PTSD and TBI.