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    Military Experts Educate the Next Generation of Doctors on Veteran Healthcare Challenges

    Military Experts Educate the Next Generation of Doctors on Veteran Healthcare Challenges

    Photo By Colleen Shifflett | Ensign Wesley Yuan, Navy Medical Corps and Health Professions Scholarship Program...... read more read more



    Story by Colleen Shifflett 

    1ST Medical Recruiting Battalion

    Veterans face a number of challenges when leaving the service, including getting the healthcare they need. Given that out of 20 million veterans in the United States, only 9 million are in the VA healthcare system, the importance of civilian practitioners understanding how to treat veterans is crucial to that population.

    “The Army is working closely with universities to reach more medical students and help close the knowledge gap when it comes to veteran healthcare,” said CPT Caleb Manning, who is the officer in charge of the Cherry Hill U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Station. A psychiatric nurse, Captain Manning has several years of experience treating soldiers and soon-to-be veterans.

    Joining Captain Manning was Mr. Ronald Steptoe, CEO of Warrior Centric Health, Ensign Harish Jairam, former Navy submariner and current Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) student, and Sgt. Patrick Brown, USMC (ret.). Ensign Wesley Yuan, Navy Medical Corps and HPSP student, facilitated the presentation which was held at Rowan University’s Cooper Medical School.

    Ensign Yuan led the discussion describing each branch of service to the 80 medical students present, including what the members are called, emphasizing how crucial to the doctor-patient relationship this can be. For example, if a doctor refers to a former sailor as a soldier, he or she may end up feeling more misunderstood and isolated. Students were given insights into the state of mind of veterans and why they might not understand all of the resources available or communicate the same way other patients do.

    “It is important to help veterans because they often have disabilities that keep them from being able to serve.” Captain Manning explained that some veterans may have wished to continue serving, but found themselves medically limited and unable to continue, leading to a feeling of isolation. “Many veterans live far away from VA facilities and even avoid them because they are a reminder of the trauma they have suffered.”

    Mr. Steptoe spoke of the mixed feelings many veterans may have as well. “There is a pride and pain in service.” He added that the ability to better care for veterans is crucial because “there is going to be someone, maybe nine generations later, that will benefit or not benefit from that care you gave to someone.”

    Along with feelings of isolation come the other challenges faced in the transition from service. “We go to this class, where they teach us how to function in the civilian world - then we leave and go back to our military job for three months and everything shifts right back to that mindset,” explained Sgt. Patrick Brown, USMC (ret.).

    Although improvements are being made in transition programs, veterans still enter into the civilian healthcare system with a different mindset and sometimes a lack of knowledge. “They may be used to being told not to complain or ask questions,” explained Ensign Jairam. “There is a fundamental need for information in the vast bureaucracy that is intimidating for a lot of people. If you can learn how to better serve veterans, you can make a significant impact.”

    Throughout the presentation, students and faculty were engaged and sought to understand what they could do as practitioners to serve veterans better. “One thing that’s important to understand is that your patient relationship with a veteran will not necessarily be built all at once, but over time,” said Ensign Jairam. The panel discussed national as well as local resources where practitioners can direct veterans.

    As the panel wrapped up, the impact of the discussion on everyone in the room was apparent. What’s next? Captain Manning says that “Army medicine will continue to integrate into civilian medical schools to educate future doctors on helping veterans.”



    Date Taken: 02.13.2019
    Date Posted: 02.13.2019 15:08
    Story ID: 310586
    Location: CAMDEN, NJ, US 

    Web Views: 212
    Downloads: 0