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An open letter from Susan P. Williams, instructor forPsychiatric Mental Health Nursing class in Nursing Department, fall2004.

In the fall of 2004 the evening Psychiatric Mental Health classof Raritan Valley Community College participated in a servicelearning project that combined course material with homelandsecurity. As part of civic engagement, the nursing students wereassigned a project related to the post 9/11 effects on mentalhealth.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is part of the curricula andis taught during the psychiatric rotation. It was agreed among theclass to use the information known about this disorder as a basisfor the research and to produce subsequent educational materials.This assignment required searching the literature for what had beenstudied, writing a paper critiquing the latest research andproducing educational materials regarding the signs and symptoms ofPTSD in children, adults and senior citizens.

The class had only seven weeks to assess, implement, evaluate andproduce the materials for dissemination. They divided into threegroups. Each group focused on the particular age related stage ofdevelopment of the target population. The students createdpamphlets listing the different manifestations of PTSD and includedcommunity resource information for treatment. The information wasthen posted to the Homeland Security web page.

There are many benefits to the community with this type of project.The information is relevant in identification and treatment ofPTSD. The nurse is made aware of the effects of trauma, and usesthis information in the care, treatment and successful outcome forthe community.

This was truly a learning experience for both the class and theinstructor. It reinforced the nursing process, civic engagement anddemonstrated the dedication and competence of our future registerednurses.

Raritan Valley Community College
Last updated 7/26/06 by AKA

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