Caring for our Veterans

Caroline Swets, a senior in the traditional BSN program at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, had an impactful psychiatric mental-health clinical nursing practice experience. As part of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (NUR 448), which is a requirement of the BSN degree, Swets assisted with the group therapy program for post traumatic stress disorder-affected patients at the Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center
Swets experienced an intense breakthrough during a music therapy session. The veterans had been assigned a “write your own lyrics” exercise, which is a form of music therapy that helps patients find an outlet for their emotions through lyrics. The nursing students were also invited to participate in this exercise, so Caroline Swets wrote her own lyrics to the selected song, “It’s Going to Take Some Time This Time” by the Carpenters. What she wrote resonated so deeply with the veterans in the group that Caroline was asked to repeat her song several times. Having such an impact on a group of war veterans was not something that Caroline had anticipated would happen during her psychiatric mental-health clinical practice experience. “It really made me take a step back and realize that by participating in exercise and meeting the patients on their own ground, even a student like me can make a difference”, Caroline says. This experience of helping to heal patients’ hearts and minds as well as their bodies is one that will stay with this student throughout her nursing career.

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