How to Have an Informed Conversation with a Veteran

January 10, 2020

Not everyonewho was in the military self-identifies as a veteran. Veterans themselves maymake the same false assumptions as their civilian counterparts and those falseassumptions can affect how they perceive themselves in relation to the civilianpopulation as well. They may think that one has to have served in combat orbeen wounded to be a “veteran.” They may simply associate the term “veteran”with a much older person than themselves and may not consider it part of theirprimary identity.  Consequently, they maynot want to reveal their veteran status because of their own stereotypes.Therefore, in order to determine veteran status, it is recommended that youask, “Were you in the military?” rather than, “Are you a veteran?” Having beenin the military is a simple historical fact, is more likely to elicit anaffirmative response, and may have implications for your care approach worthexploring.