Comparative Study of Military Nurse Veterans


Name: Marietta Stanton


Organization: Research Foundation of State University of New York on behalf of SUNY at Buffalo

Performance Site: University at Buffalo School of Nursing, Buffalo, NY

Year Published: 1994

Abstract Status: Final


This research examined the experiences, feelings, and perceptions of United States nurse veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm to determine if themes and shared meanings identified in a previous phenomenological study were present in a broader sampling of nurse veterans. The sample (500 nurses) was randomly selected from a list compiled by the principal investigator. A multistage, cluster stratification process was used. An exploratory, survey research design was employed. A 66-item instrument was mailed to the sample, with the items derived from data obtained from the previous phenomenological study. The instrument was piloted with a group of 50 nurse veterans. A coefficient alpha reliability of p >= 0.84 was derived. Face validity was determined using a panel of nurse researchers and nurse veterans. Common themes and shared meanings identified in the earlier study were identified by the majority of nurses. Strategies for coping with military life and adjusting to postwar life were delineated. Methods for preparing nurses for military duty during a war/conflict were identified. Physical and mental sequelae for nurses who served in a war zone reflected those identified by previous studies. The results may be used to determine common perceptions and feelings about nursing in a combat environment. Knowledge of these perceptions/feelings will help nurses prepare themselves, their colleagues, and subordinates emotionally and physically for similar experiences. Previously studied common themes or shared meanings are consistent with those identified in this study. The majority of nurses had difficulty adjusting to military life, needing to focus more on survival. Postwar, they had difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Many coped by maintaining contact with veterans groups or war "buddies." A majority had physical and mental sequelae, and most evidenced survivor guilt and other intrapsychic changes. Many revealed symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Final Report is available on NTRL: