Military Medics’ Insight into Providing Women’s Health Services


Name: Candy Wilson

Rank: Maj.

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, TX; Carl R. Darnall Medical Center, Fort Hood, TX; Naval Medical Center San Diego, TX

Year Published: 2010

Abstract Status: Project Completed


More than 10% of deployed military personnel are women. Today’s military women are privileged to serve in military roles that have opened to them in the previous decade, which can be at forward deployed units or on ship. Forward deployed combat units and ships are typically staffed with enlisted medical providers trained in trauma care, but have limited education and experience in women’s health. Military women are inundated with pre-deployment briefings about feminine hygiene and self-care management; however, women continue to seek health care for genitourinary symptoms more often in deployed settings as compared to home (Wilson, 2006). The purpose of this ethnographic study is to gain better understanding of the enlisted medical providers’ (independent duty corpsman [IDC], independent duty medical technician [IDMT] and Army combat medic [68W]) experience of providing women’s health care in the deployed, remote, or ship setting in the context of a military culture. 

The study aims are: 1) Describe patterns, practices, and experiences of IDC/IDMT/68Ws when delivering deployed women’s health care. 2) Compare and contrast the patterns of IDC/IDMT/68Ws health care practices when managing women’s sex-specific needs in the deployed/ship verses the home setting. 3.) Describe patterns, practices, and experiences of IDC/IDMT/68Ws about military women’s illness behaviors. 4) Triangulate study results with an on-going TSNRP ethnographic study regarding women’s illness behaviors in the deployed setting. Sample size will be determined by saturation and include approximately 60-80 IDC/IDMT/68W. Data will be collected using focus groups and formal individual interviews. Inclusion criteria include IDC/IDMT/68Ws who have deployed within the last three years and provided health care. Rigor will be achieved through a systematic process to ensure trustworthiness (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).


Final Report is available on NTRL: