The purpose of today’s information is to share what Veterans need us to know about them so that we care providers can honor their service with credibility, and authentically create a space for them to feel safe and comfort in our care.
Honoring Our Veterans
This past week I took a friend to a dinner put on by the San Diego Coalition for Compassionate Care.
My friend and her fiancee had just been to Washington DC in October to visit the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. Their trip was sponsored by the Honor Flight Network, whose mission is
“To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.”
It was through this trip that my friend learned more than she had ever known about her fiancee’s Vietnam War experiences and those of others.
We were lucky to have Heidi Squier Kraft, Ph.D present at our dinner event. Dr Kraft is a psychologist and subject matter expert on military life and cultures. She grew up in a military family, served in the Navy and her husband is a Marine. She teaches at SDSU and the PsychArmor® Institute.
The mission of the PsychArmor® Institute is to educate the nation. It is a national nonprofit that provides FREE online education and support to all Americans who work with, live with, or care for Military Service Members, Veterans, and their families.
PsychArmor® Institute provides critical resources to Americans so they can effectively engage with and better support military service members, Veterans and their families across our nation.
The course was created to educate Healthcare Providers who care for our military Veterans.
PsychArmor asked hundreds of Veterans what they wanted civilians, employers, educators, health care providers, and therapists to know about them. Their comments are the foundation of the course.
What Veterans want us to know:
- Our families serve with us
- We are not all “soldiers”. Each branch has a different culture and a different language.
- We take pride in our appearance and our conduct
- Those of us who do have an invisible wound are not dangerous and are not violent
- We do not all have PTSD
- We did not all kill someone … and those who have do not want to talk about it. Please do not ask …EVER
- We are ALWAYS on duty
- We All made this SACRIFICE for one reason: To serve something more important than ourselves
- The Reserves are part of the Military. Note – When Reservists are deployed, their families are left with few resources, as compared to active duty.
- We would DIE for each other and our country
- It is really hard for us TO ASK FOR HELP
- Everyone in the Military is not Infantry
- We have leaders at every level in the Chain of Command
- Our Military service changes us
- We differ in how much we identify with the Military after we leave active service.
Dr Kraft advised us to always open our conversations with Veterans by acknowledging and honoring their service.
The next step is to gain credibility with the Veteran by asking about their Military branch and where they served. And then listen.
Hopefully, from there, the Veteran will feel more comfortable and willing to share their specific health details that will help you in your care.
For more information, access video here