Military nurses, along with military physicians and medics, have helped increase survivability of combat wounds to approximately 95% in Iraq and Afghanistan – the highest of any war ever fought.
The war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in U.S. history, and military nurses – the most educated in the nation – have been there from the beginning.
In a new book called You’ll Know You’re a Military Nurse When…, Army, Navy and Air Force nurses describe in their own words what it is like to care for soldiers – and sometimes the enemy – with life-threatening wounds, some of whom never return home.
Here are just a few of the impressions and reflections of war military nurses wrote on a special website designed by The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI). The best of those comments have been compiled into the book You’ll Know You’re a Military Nurse When….
“On one ward, you are caring for a Marine who has been wounded, and on the other ward, you are caring for the EPW (prisoner) who wounded him.” – Megan Dodge, Army
“You witness the pinning of a Purple Heart on an injured service member’s hospital gown. He salutes from his bed and says, ‘Thank you.’ Then, when all the VIPs leave, he says to you, ‘This is the one medal I never wanted to receive.’” – Mary Carlisle, Air Force ”…You spend the rest of your life worrying and praying for patients whose names you don’t even remember...” – Paula Quindlen, Army
The book highlights the professional, personal, physical and emotional challenges and rewards that differentiate military nursing from civilian nursing. The book also includes comments from nurses who served in the Vietnam War.
Stories are categorized by: · On the move · Uniforms that pack more than a stethoscope · Trauma · Honor and dignity · Band of nurses · Nurses · Multitaskers · Real life on the front lines · Rewards of the job From Army, Navy and Air Force nurses, stories honor the contributions of nurses who are willing to risk their own lives to care for their fellow service members.
The book includes a foreword by Major General Gale S. Pollock, the former chief nurse of the Army and former acting Army Surgeon General.
You’ll Know You’re a Military Nurse When… Published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Available at www.nursingknowledge.org/STTIbooks
Advance praise for You’ll Know You’re a Military Nurse When…
“Until now, only the military nurse and the warriors they cared for knew. This collection captures the heart and soul of military nursing, previously an enigma to those on the outside looking in.” Cindy Gurney, Colonel (Ret.) U.S. Army Nurse Corps Historian.
“I laughed; I cried; I remembered. These pages are a fitting tribute to the incredible accomplishments of today’s military nurses. The short vignettes are rich in accounts of daunting challenges, unforgettable patients and inevitable occasions of sadness that come when you care deeply about those you serve. Yet there are also stories of the humor, camaraderie and pride that sustain the spirit through the toughest times. This book will spark memories and, I hope, inspire many to join the ranks of military nurses.” Barbara C. Brannon, Major General, USAF (Ret.) Assistant Air Fore Surgeon General for Nursing, 1999-2005.
“This book is a must-read, particularly for anyone thinking of becoming a military nurse or for military nurses who haven’t served in a combat environment. More importantly, it is a must-read for all who care about our soldiers, the medical treatment they receive, their courage and the commitment of the medical teams. To read this book, look at the pictures and not have a tear come to the eye seems impossible. It leaves me touched and prouder than ever of those who serve.” Wilma L. Vaught, Brigadier General, USAF (Ret.) President, Women in Military Nurse Service for America Memorial Foundation