MILWAUKEE — Marquette University's nursing students came together to honor military members on Veterans Day. However, it's something they will continue to do past the Nov. 11 holiday.
"They've committed their clinical experience to Veteran Affairs," Kristen Peterson, a nursing educator with Marquette University said. "It's important to be active in the community and to support veterans as well."
The VA Nursing Academic Partnership Program (VANAP) brings students together with veterans in need of medical help at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee. These students also have the benefit of learning from a special teacher.
"I can speak from a nurse side and a veteran coming back side," Tabitha Eden, Program Manager for nursing education and research at the Zablocki VA Hospital said. "It's incredibly important."
Eden is also a Commander in the United States Navy. She's been enlisted for some 21 years. Her experience is invaluable to the students int he program to get first hand knowledge of what it can be like for veterans in need of medical care.
"Just having a basic understanding of what veterans experiences are, even specifically dependent on what war era they've served under, really impacts not only their medical health but their psychological and emotional health," Eden said. "Providers should have a good baseline of understanding of veterans no matter where they work."
Under her tutelage, the students are able to better prepare themselves for when they get into the nursing field at the VA Hospital.
"She can shed more light not hose we are going to be serving," Alexandra Goodrich, a senior in the VANAP program said. "It's a unique aspect she can bring to the program."
"It's amazing," Peterson said. "She's my manager so she's an idol to me. She has both the world of medical as well as the veteran world."
"Nurses are who the veterans spend the majority of their time with," Eden said. "It's incredibly important for nurses to have an understanding of veteran culture and experiences."