The number of veterans in the United States is on the rise. These veterans and their families face a wide range of health problems. The first health need is mental support. Many returning veterans have been observed to have diverse mental health needs (Jackonis, Deyton, & Hess, 2008). A good example is the problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depression is also evident in this underserved population. Some experts have argued that PTSD should be described as the invisible wound of war (Williams & Jackson, 2015). The second health issue affecting these veterans and their families is substance abuse. Most of these individuals will drink heavily and have increased chances of becoming homeless.
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Advocating for the Needs of Veterans
Many veterans and their respective families continue to face numerous health needs. The current policy on veterans’ welfare has not been effective. The policy is characterized by complex qualification requirements that lock out most of the veterans (Olenick, Flowers, & Diaz, 2015). That being the case, it would be appropriate to advocate for the needs of this population. The first step is coming up with a sustainable policy. The policy should focus on the best programs to ensure the mental health and substance abuse needs of the individuals are addressed. The second step is lobbying. During this stage, the “three legs of advocacy” will be considered to deliver positive results.
The first leg focuses on policymakers and legislators. Different politicians will be informed about the importance of the policy in order to support it. The second leg will encourage different media houses to sensitize more people about the proposed policy (Olenick et al., 2015). The third led will be used to inform more people in the community about the policy. This will be achieved using extensive campaigns and social network groups. The third stage will be to ensure the policy is adopted. With proper lobbying, more policymakers and community members will be willing to support the idea.
I will need four advocacy skills to achieve my goals. The first one is influence. This skill will support the lobbying process and educate more people about the policy. The second skill is communication and will guide me to interact with different stakeholders. The collaboration will improve my interaction with different people in order to support the advocacy process. My problem-solving skill will also support the process. I will interact with more people in order to develop my skills, such as influence, communication, collaboration (Williams & Jackson, 2015). I will read different materials in order to develop a powerful problem-solving strategy.
Responsibility of a Nurse to be an Advocate
Nurses should be on the frontline to engage in case finding (Barlem et al., 2015). This practice is done to identify vulnerable individuals in need of different health services. The nurse then collects data and uses it to educate more people about the emerging health issues. The professional should go-ahead to offer adequate support and design appropriate models that can support the needs of the targeted individuals (Begley, 2010). For example, the nurse can use his or her competencies to alleviate pressing issues such as depression and stress. The nurse will go-ahead to implement a powerful advocacy campaign to ensure quality support is available to these people (Barlem et al., 2015). For example, the nurse can design a policy to encourage different stakeholders to support the targeted population. The success of the advocacy process will ensure the needs of veterans and their family members are met.
Barlem, J., Lunardi, V., Barlem, E., Ramos, A., Figueira, A., & Fornari, N. (2015). Nursing beliefs and actions in exercising patient advocacy in a hospital context. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem USP, 49(5), 806-812. Web.
Begley, A. (2010). On being a good nurse: Reflections on the past and preparing for the future. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 16(1), 525-532. Web.
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Jackonis, M., Deyton, L., & Hess, W. (2008). War, its aftermath, and U.S. health policy: Toward a comprehensive health program for America’s military personnel, veterans, and their families. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 1(1), 677-689. Web.
Olenick, M., Flowers, M., & Diaz, V. (2015). US veterans and their unique issues: Enhancing health care professional awareness. Advances in Medical Education Practice, 6(1), 635-639. Web.
Williams, J., & Jackson, G. (2015). Utilizing evidence to address the health and health care needs of veterans. North Carolina Medical Journal, 76(5), 294-298. Web.