Air Force Combat Casualty Aeromedical Nursing Post-9-11


Name: Mona Ternus

Rank: Maj, USAFR

Organization: Old Dominion University Research Foundation

Performance Site: Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, IL, Old Dominion University

Year Published: 2003

Abstract Status: Final


Combat casualties depend on aeromedical evacuation (AE) as the link to life-saving definitive care from the battlefield. Attempting to understand AE nursing in combat environments is therefore of great importance to military nursing. Until recently, having access to a large sample of nurses with combat experience has been limited. Given current world events, and with an increased number of contingency operations, an increased operational tempo, and an expansion of AE activities globally, research into current nursing practice in the AE system is timely. The overall goal of this research is to develop and pilot an instrument that can be used to increase the knowledge base of current Air Force combat casualty AE nursing practice. The research question guiding this study will be: What is the practice of combat casualty AE nursing post September 11, 2001? The specific aims of this study are to 1) describe the experiences of AE crewmembers that provided AE combat casualty care, 2) develop theoretical concepts, constructs and/or propositions for combat casualty AE nursing practice, and 3) develop and pilot an instrument to measure: a) the characteristics of AE casualties cared for from combat zones and contingency operations, b) the nursing care provided on operational AE missions from combat zones and contingency operations, and c) the similarities and differences of AE care given from different deployment locations. The theoretical conceptual orientation for this research includes utilization focused evaluation with the uses of the research defined at the outset by intended users, and grounded theory techniques for analysis and interpretation of data. The instrument will be developed through the use of focus groups and pilot testing at active duty, reserve and guard AE squadrons. The focus groups will be targeted to represent a wide variety of aeromedical operations and missions, allowing exploration of the similarities and differences in AE nursing practice influenced by aircraft type, urgency of operations and geographic location. These reported experiences would provide insight into the current knowledge needed to care for combat casualties. The resultant instrument will be piloted and then revised. A long-term aim, to be done in a subsequent study, is to use the instrument developed to evaluate the relationship between the AE competencies and skill sets in the Readiness Skill Verification Program and actual combat casualty AE practice. Understanding the characteristics of combat casualties and the similarities and differences of AE from different deployment locations will provide grounding for a general theory of AE combat casualty nursing practice and can be used by stakeholders to guide training, improve AE care, and enhance AE readiness.


Final report is available on NTRL: