Nurse Awards

Veterans’ service recognises the specific scars of conflict

Having spent 12 years in the Royal Navy, nurse Lynne Davidson knew the experiences of ex-military personnel meant their needs were not always met by standard mental health services.

Lynne DavidsonLynne Davidson. Picture credit: Tim George

The project she led to address that gap has been shortlisted for an RCNi Nurse Award.

The Coventry and Warwickshire ex-armed forces (veterans) project is a finalist in the mental health category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016, the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

‘Military life is never easy, and the long-term physical and psychological scars that conflict causes can have a large impact on many ex-service personnel and their families,’ she explains.

Lynne and her team from Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust have created an adapted care pathway that is tailored to veterans’ needs and reflects the range of their life experiences.

Lynne DavidsonLynne Davidson. Picture credit: Tim George

The team ensures those experiencing psychological trauma related to their service have priority access to treatment where necessary. Their families are supported too.

As well as recruiting a voluntary network of more than 40 ‘veteran champions’, the team has delivered a training package for clinicians on how to engage with and treat veterans.

Lynne says: ‘I was able to understand the military mentality and the difficulties that servicemen and women often experience on transitioning into Civvy Street.

‘I am honoured, privileged and excited the project has been shortlisted for this award. The staff involved work tirelessly to ensure the best care is given to our ex-service men and women.

‘We want to raise awareness and reassure the ex-armed forces community that a good level of mental health support is available through the NHS.’

Mental Health Practice editor Colin Parish was on the shortlisting panel. He says: ‘The RCNi Awards are always a great platform for mental health nurses to show how they are using their skills and ingenuity to bring about meaningful change for the service users they work with.

‘This year’s entries are strong and demonstrate that nurses, as always, are doing their best in the challenging world or mental health care.

‘All the shortlisted nurses are touching the lives of the people they encounter and making a difference to their quality of life – they should all be immensely proud of their achievements.’

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Mental Health Practice is the most widely read journal in its field, and the only publication to cover all areas of mental health and patient care. Mental Health Practice provides a wide range of information that will enable you to develop creative and evidence-based approaches to your practice and stay informed about changes in policy and legislation. Subscribers can access a host of online resources including our archive that contains clinical and research articles dating back to 2000 and RCNi Portfolio, a simple and effective tool that helps you build, store and track your evidence for revalidation. Subscribe to the journal here.