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Wounded warrier project.

As an Army Nurse, Navy Wife, and Army Brat, I have been ingrained in the military procedures. Since completing a dissertation investigating the quality of life and post-stress trauma after a traumatic limb loss in combat and spending one-year on active duty as a community-based nurse case manager for wounded warriors, I am enriched with a very broad knowledge of the issues, concerns, triumphs, and tribulations. The stories are amazing, but here I will focus on the organizations that are trying to improve the outcomes of our young men and women, who have been injured serving our country.

Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a national organization, designed to help all wounded warriors from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The organization is based in Washington D.C., and encourages participation in many types of athletic and artistic camps, and events for wounded warriors and their families. The southern California warrior bike ride was a three-day event for the wounded warriors and support personnel. Participants included medical, bike mechanics, security, media, photographers, and mess hall (meals) to provide three one-day rides in the cities of Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and San Diego, California. Warrior Bike Rides were designed throughout the United States to bring awareness of soldier issues and raise funds. The 2009 event was the first opportunity to actually meet and greet wounded warriors from OEF/OIF. As medical support for the three-day event, I had negotiated with the director of the WWP to ride with the wounded warriors. Many of these were also those military wounded with traumatic brain injury, burns, amputations and post-stress trauma.

Community based warrior transition units. The Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) headquarters is located in Alexandria, Virginia, where case managers supervise the care of the wounded warriors throughout the United States. The community based warrior transition units are designed to facilitate a smooth transition from a Military Treatment Facility to a community based setting closer to their home so they can be with their family, friends, and caregivers, while still receiving medical and psychological care, at either a Military Medical Treatment Facility or TRICARE approved provider. There are over 40,000 injured and many US Army Reservists and National Guard Nurse Corps are recruited to conduct the mission of nurse case management of wounded warriors. In 2011, I received a 365-day military order to join the ranks of the nurse case manager force. The goal is to oversee the medical care interventions for wounded warriors. Our headquarters were in Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington, and the community based office was in McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. The soldiers on my case management load lived in any one of four states to include California, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington. I worked with many military and civilian providers to address needs of each soldier, their care giver, and family. The focus was to obtain all necessary services needed to facilitate that soldier to return as a productive member of society, going to work, participating in home activities, enrolling in school, and taking back the role he or she had played prior to the injury. There are many organizations designed to assist with the wounded warriors, and one of the most challenging tasks as a nurse case manager is to determine, remotely, the needs and available resources.

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Each wounded warrior is unique. This country understands now, more than ever, that these disabilities often demand a long and difficult period of recovery and adjustment. Nurse case management is one step into recovery that integrates support that is personal, prolonged, and proactive. The goal is to heal and transition. The transition is a challenge with the need to learn new skills, while adapting to visible and invisible injuries. Over 75% of the wounded have post-trauma stress and/or traumatic brain injury, so the need for prolonged support that lasts through the entire transition is essential for success. Never in my 25 years of service with the Army have I been more proud to be a nurse. I dream each and every soldier will receive the care, interventions, and assistance they need to move on--To Heal and Transition.

Michele (Shelly) Burdette-Taylor LTC, AN, PhD
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Author:Burdette-Taylor, Michele "Shelly"
Publication:Nevada RNformation
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 1, 2012
Words:705
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