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Group to Honor Vets’ Caregivers During National Nurses Week

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2009 – Helping veterans with physical and emotional problems can be overwhelming for caregivers, but despite the long hours and magnified stress, nurses continue to provide quality care to wounded warriors across the country.

To recognize their commitment to wounded servicemembers, a Maryland-based wellness center will provide free acupuncture and therapeutic bodywork sessions to nurses at the Veterans Affairs medical center here May 5 as a prelude to National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

“These nurses tend to the long-term consequences of war,” Alaine D. Duncan, executive director of Crossings Healingworks, said. “They help young veterans with missing limbs, head injuries and traumatic stress reactions. They help older veterans who carry some of the heaviest burdens in life. We believe helping caregivers with stress-reduction services will enhance their wellness [and] maximize their skills, performance and job satisfaction.”

Fourteen acupuncturists and “bodyworkers” from Crossings Healingworks will work in three shifts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., providing services such as ear acupuncture, acupressure, holistic body and mind therapy and massages, Duncan said.

“Through these services, we hope to bring ancient healing traditions that restore and renew the body, mind [and] spirit of people touched by trauma,” Duncan said. “Soldiers bring the trauma of war home with them. Their families, their caregivers and the institutions that serve them are impacted. We are hoping to bring a sense of internal order and coherence, as well as balance and harmony to these nurses that they can pass on to the patients.”

This will be the second year Crossings Healingworks has provided free wellness services to VA nurses here. Last year, members of the medical center’s Nurses Week committee heard about the wellness clinic that Crossings Healingworks has offered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here since 2005, and asked the group to bring the stress-reduction services to them. Crossings Healingworks treated 151 nurses in a 12-hour day at the medical center last year.

“The nurses here were so grateful last year, stating it was the best ever,” Donna King, chairwoman of the Nurses Week committee at the VA medical center, said. “You could literally see the changes in the nurses as they came from their ‘encounter’ with Healingworks. We are so grateful for their generosity.”

The Crossings Healingworks Restore and Renew Wellness Clinic at Walter Reed provides free services weekly to all staff year-round, on a walk-in basis.

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