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Military Nursing; is it Worth it

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Whenever men and women in the military are sent out to war, there is no surety or certainty to their eventual state of livelihood or death; there is a surety that they will be taken good care of physically, psychologically and emotionally, and military nurses, also known as navy nurses, are delegated to this duty.


The nurses have an enormous duty of compassionately restoring to appropriate health both the soldiers and harmless civilians affected by the war, but is it worth the pain, psychological and emotional trauma that these nurses go through in their line of duty. This paper will critically analyze the concept of military nursing, stating its history, development over the years, giving accounts from a few military nurses and conclude on its worth and importance.


The military nursing concept was non-existent until the year 1901. This is when the United States government in an attempt appointed civilian nurses into the Army Nurse Corps; an organization that has existed to date delegating nurses who take care of the country’s Army men. The Navy Nurse Corp created in 1908 followed it, and as the name suggests, it delegates nurses who take care of the of nation’s Navy men. The third wing of the military nurses corps in the United States of America is the Air Force Nurse Corps mainly concerned with the nurses who take care of the men in the Air Force. In her book, They Called Them Angels: American Military Nurses of World War Two; Jackson gives first hand account of the nurses who provided care to the military men fighting the Second World War. She refers to them as angels because that is what they practically were; they helped restore back to health the injured. In most of their sheer emotional accounts, these nurses had a duty to look beyond their own person and provide care to the various military personnel. During this era, they provided physical, emotional, and psychological treatment to the wounded individuals. What these nurses do is to look after the soldiers, marines, pilots, and sailors back to robust health both in the field and in hospitals. They carry out their work in clinics, community health centers, intensive care units, and operating rooms within hospitals. During the Second World War and the Vietnamese War, most of the military nurses were just sent out as educators and community health practitioners to go teach and train the local community and “heal”/ nurse the wounded (Pain & Pride 3).

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Most of the accounts from those who worked both in the Vietnamese and in Second World War are horrific. They worked under abhor able circumstances, with communities that had singularly little idea and information about healthcare. They put the military and local community’s health interest before hand; worked tirelessly to nurse them back to health. Sometimes they lacked enough facility nevertheless provided the best healthcare they could. An article published in the American Nursing Journal in April 1951; Military Nursing-1951 gives a story about the work done by military nurses in a hospital Fitzsimons during the Korean War. In this story, there were too many casualties with a shortage of nurses to handle them, and this ends in a question; are military nurses overworked or pushed beyond their capacity? It is for a fact that nursing need personal sacrifice, and there is a great need for one to be psychologically prepared for what lies ahead of them. For the military nurse, however, the future is uncertain; the numbers of causalities to be dealt with on a daily basis are obviously not predictable (Kathi 2-6)

In one of the letter sections in an issue of the American Nursing Journal; one fan of the journal commented on a need for many to enroll as military nurse corps. His point of encouragement is that there are better remuneration and chances of advancing in rank. Yes, military nursing provides a better package with a free dental and health insurance package. However, what happens when most of these nurses return to their home country when the war is allover? They are faced with a lot emotional and psychological trauma of the vivid memories and pictures of the patients that they treated and counseled during the war. A military nurse Payne who served in the Vietnamese War accounts how they were not allowed to talk about their experience in Vietnam; “Our country didn't welcome us back", she said. "We had to be quiet about our time here. It was a pretty lousy thing the U.S. did to our generation. They shoved us under the rug; we were an embarrassment and so we were ignored", (Payne 1). It is an undisputable fact that military nursing is a more than impressive concept. The is issue is who welcomes them back when they return from the war, which counsels them or helps them forget about the pain, trauma, anger and the horrific moments they had when in the battlefield taking care of both the civilians and wounded soldiers? The military nurses have a huge duty of compassionately restoring to good health both the soldiers and harmless civilians affected by a war (Pain & Pride 1). They do this with a loving heart and so much compassion; the main question at hand is who provides care to them when they return. This might have changed over the ages from the time of the Second World War when they were not even allowed to talk about their experiences, and that is a positive thing because they too need to be counseled and relieved of the psychological trauma that they experience in their dangerous line of duty (Wolters Kluwer Health).

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