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Keywords:

  • blast injuries;
  • collaboration;
  • millennium generation;
  • polytrauma;
  • servicemembers

This article describes a variety of nursing issues that emerged over a 3-year period on polytrauma rehabilitation nursing units and the leadership roles and strategies that were used to meet the rehabilitation needs of newly injured servicemembers who served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Nursing's leadership responsibilities focus on three primary areas: patient advocacy, family centeredness, and advocacy for staff. Collaboration among the four national polytrauma rehabilitation centers (PRCs) run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has enhanced the skill set for nursing staff members. These rehabilitation nurses possess the strong skills necessary to assess complex patient cases involving blast injuries, as well as strengthened interpersonal competencies in family dynamics, family education, and team function.