DISSERTATION: Angels of the Mercy Fleet: Nursing the Ill & Wounded Aboard US Navy Hospital Ships in the Pacific During World War II


Name: Patricia Connor-Ballard


Organization: University of Virginia

Performance Site: University of Virginia School of Nursing, Charlottesville, VA

Year Published: 1998

Abstract Status: Final


Note: Dissertation available through UMI Dissertation Services - UMI Order Number AA19975400.Nurses were among the cross section of American society that immediately volunteered for wartime duty after the Pearl Harbor attack. More than thirty percent of American nurses enlisted in the military during World War II, including fourteen thousand nurses who entered the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. Naval nurses were assigned to base hospitals, clinics, and hospital ships. Under the protective mercy guidelines promulgated in the international Geneva Convention treaty, naval hospital ships followed the fleet into battle to evacuate, transport, and care for the ill and wounded. The purpose of this study was to reconstruct and analyze the experiences of nurses serving aboard naval hospital ships in the Pacific during World War II. Particular attention focused on the transition over time of the nurses' ability to adapt and function in a team aboard ship while under wartime conditions. Research foci included the personal and professional characteristics of the nurses; the role and responsibilities of the nurses in the triage and treatment of military personnel; the diversity of patients aboard the hospital ship fleet; the clinical skill acquisition of the nurses; the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the military medical team aboard ship; the changes that occurred in clinical nursing practice and the delivery of care over time aboard ship; and the identification of patient care and nursing scenarios which could be effective as simulated learning opportunities in the readiness preparation of current naval nursing personnel. The findings of this study emphasized the ability of the naval nurses to function effectively under stressful and adverse conditions, and develop clinical competency under wartime conditions.


Final Report is available on NTRL at: https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/searchResults/titleDetail/PB2005108...