CCATT Nurses' Deployed Experience


Name: Theresa Dremsa-Brewer

Rank: Lt. Col, USAF

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: Wilford Hall Medical Center Lackland AFB Texas, Keesler Air Force Base Mississippi, 433 aes Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base Texas, 320 Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (EAS) Seeb, Oman.

Year Published: 2003

Abstract Status: Final


The purpose of this study was to describe knowledge gained by Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) nurses while providing patient care within a combat environment. Benner's (1994) phenomenological method with purposive sampling of subjects was used for this study. Individual interviews were conducted with registered nurses, and focus groups were conducted with nurses, physicians (MDs) and respiratory therapists (RTs). Through purposive sampling, 23 RNs, 6 MDs, and 11 RTs who had deployed with CCATT missions shared their recent experience as CCAT Team members in a combat environment. Unstructured interviews were used to obtain data about knowledge gained during deployment. Questions asked of participants encouraged them to describe their everyday lived experience during deployment. Other means of data collection included written narratives, group interviews, participant observation, and review of in-flight documentation of care. Data were transcribed and entered into a qualitative research computer program called NVivo. Data analysis began concurrently with data collection. Interviews revealed that the CCATTs were highly collaborative and yet specialized. Team members indicated that the challenges of their jobs were related to the types of injuries they witnessed and treated, equipment and supplies, logistics of transport, and personal challenges related to physical and emotional stress and sleep deprivation. Final analysis was broken down into four major categories: challenges of the multiple transitions that are a normal part of the CCATT environment, impact of environmental unpredictability on practice, personal and professional attributes, and challenges or adjustments while in the deployed setting. This information should be shared with CCATT trainers and CCATT unit personnel to better prepare them for the realities of future deployments. Items developed from the thematic analysis of qualitative data will be converted to a self-assessment scale to measure readiness for future deployments, which will be further developed and tested in future studies.


Final report is available on NTRL: