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LSUHSC Nursing awarded $1 million grant to improve care for veterans

New Orleans, LA The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Nursing an Advanced Nursing Education grant in the amount of $1,049,739 over three years. The funding will support training interprofessional teams of students to improve the quality of care for military veterans and diverse populations with behavioral health disorders and multiple chronic conditions. Laura Bonanno, DNP, CRNA, LSUHSC Nurse Anesthesia Program Director and Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing is the project director.

It has been reported that up to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and 19% of these veterans suffer from the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI.) More than 315,000 veterans were living in Louisiana as of September 30, 2013. Unless recognized by the health care professional, PTSD, depression, and TBI can have far-reaching and damaging consequences, particularly in the operating room. Veterans undergoing surgery are at risk for serious conditions due to changes in neurobiological function linked to behavioral disorders.

Anxiety, depression, PTSD and TBI are associated with a condition called Emergence Delirium. Emergence Delirium is defined by the behavioral symptoms of restlessness, confusion, and combativeness upon emerging from general anesthesia, and it can affect up to 20% of combat veterans undergoing surgery. Surgery and general anesthesia are also recognized as potential triggers for flashbacks.

Dr. Bonanno, Dr. Deborah Garbee, Associate Professor of Nursing, and Dr. John Paige, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, along with other LSUHSC faculty, will teach teams of graduate nurse anesthesia, medical and allied health professions students to recognize these risks. They'll develop scenarios to train the student teams to better manage these patients using the full capabilities of the high-fidelity simulation-based training technology in LSUHSC's Isidore Cohn, Jr. MD Student Learning Center. LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans developed one of the first simulated operating rooms and team training programs, and is a national leader in high-fidelity simulation-based training and interprofessional education.

LSUHSC will consult with experts in veterans-related behavioral health disorders on the project and will also coordinate with Veterans Affairs and military clinical sites for clinical education rotations.

"Effective teamwork drives optimal patient outcomes," notes Dr. Laura Bonanno, LSUHSC Nurse Anesthesia Program Director, Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing, and project director. "Providing team-based care to veterans and local populations experiencing PTSD and other behavioral health disorders integrates the best knowledge and skills from an array of health providers. This grant provides such an opportunity."


Contact: Leslie Capo
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

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