Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Military nurses returning from war

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Then involvement of western countries in war has been a constant feature of life since 1990 and the First Gulf War which, in addition to the mobilisation of fighting troops and their support, saw one of the largest mobilisations of military medical services since the Second World War.  Nurses play a significant role in military medicine and these are constituted of both regular military and reservists.  Either way, large numbers continue to be mobilised, most recently to Afghanistan, and when they return to their countries they return to 'normal' life working in military and civilian hospitals.  But coming back is never normal and military service changes nurses' perspectives, provides stress and feelings that they no longer fit in on return.

Some of the conflicts, dilemmas and stresses are explored in a recent article from the USA published in JAN by Elliott (2014) titled Military nurses' experiences returning from war.  Elliott interviewed 10 military nurses returning from conflict and developed nine themes including 'Facing the reality of multiple loss', 'Serving a greater purpose', and 'Looking at life through a new lens'.  Clearly there were positive and negative experiences and, in the words of the author: 'Through this research, nurses and healthcare providers will be better prepared to interact and support returning veteran nurses'.


Reference

Elliott B (2014) Military nurses' experiences returning from war Journal of Advanced Nursing DOI: 10.1111/jan.12588

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