Standardized Languages in Military Nursing Practice


Name: Harry Tillman

Rank: CDR, USN

Organization: Henry M. Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth,VA; Norfolk Naval Base, Langley Air Force Base, & FT Eustice Army Base

Year Published: 1998

Abstract Status: Initial


In discussing nursing knowledge and practice, Clark and Lang (1992) have noted that "if we cannot name it, we cannot control it, finance it, teach it, or put it into public policy." Establishing a standard language could benefit military nursing by providing for: a) validation of existing diagnoses; b) testing of interventions, and c) measurement of the effectiveness of these interventions as nursing outcomes of care. Recent developments in standardizing nursing language include: a) the Nursing Minimum Data Set (NMDS) proposed as a structure for a unified nursing language; b) revisions in the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) taxonomy; and c) the publication of the Nursing Intervention Classification (NIC). These developments have moved nursing closer to realizing a standardized language. This language system however, would need to work in roughly six thousand hospitals in this country, and this study will assist in evaluating whether these classification schemes have the potential to do so within the military health care system.The purposes of this study are to examine the availability of the NMDS elements in acute care patient records and to determine how reliably the data elements can be translated and coded according to the NANDA taxonomy and the NIC. Furthermore, data that does not fit these language systems will be examined for patterns that suggest revisions in the classification schemes and/or unique military nursing practice patterns.This descriptive, ethnomethodologic field study will use content analysis as an investigative strategy within an interpretive research design to examine 85 health records from each of four categories of patients; medical, surgical, obstetrical, and mental health (n=340). These randomly selected records will be drawn from nearly 20,000 adult medical admissions to a military research and teaching medical center.