Exploring Post Deployment Behavioral Health among Military Enroute Care Nurses
Name: Felecia Rivers
Organization: The Geneva Foundation
Performance Site: Womack Army Medical Center, Ft. Bragg, NC; Charles R Darnall Army Medical Center, Ft. Hood, TX
Year Published: 2013
The purpose of this study is twofold, first to better understand behavioral health symptoms (BHS) experienced by military nurses that provided en route care while serving in Iraq and/or Afghanistan who have returned home and second to determine their perceptions of their BHS and the process of seeking behavioral health assistance.
The specific aims are to: (a) explore and quantify the extent of BHS among military nurses who provided en route care during deployment and have returned from Iraq and/or Afghanistan, (b) determine how social support, gender, length of deployments and the number of deployments relate to behavioral health symptoms experienced by military nurses, and (c) describe how the military nurses’ narrative data extend, refute, or illuminate the quantitative outcomes regarding their BHS. Achieving these aims will provide data for designing sound, specific behavioral health interventions to support nurses after deployment.
Four research questions guide the study: (1) What are the BHS (anxiety, depression, signs or indicators consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced by military nurses who provided en route care during deployment and have returned from Iraq and/or Afghanistan? (2) What are the strengths of the relationships between BHS, social support, and demographic characteristics of military nurses who have returned from Iraq and/or Afghanistan? (3) What are military nurses’ perception of their BHS and the process of seeking assistance? (4) How do military nurses’ narratives extend, refute, or illuminate the quantitative outcomes?
It is imperative that this study be conducted as a greater understanding of military nurses’ BHS and psychosocial needs are warranted. Issues related to behavioral health can impact retention, patient care, morale and the well-being of the military nurse. Furthermore, unit readiness may suffer in ways that may go un-noticed. Information gained in this study could be used toward development and intervention(s) to better support nurses’ behavioral health after their return from deployment and improve their overall reintegration process. Additionally, findings from this study could potentially effect policy change and training.
The proposed study builds on the PI’s previously funded study “US Army Nurses’ Experience of Reintegration and Homecoming after Iraq & Afghanistan” in a continuing effort to add to an important avenue of research that supports the priorities of the Army Nurse Corps. This purposed research aligns with the TriService Nursing Research priority of the Force Health Protection. Specifically, the study addresses the subcategories of Fit and Ready Force and Care for all Entrusted to our care. The secondary priority falls within the subcategory of Care for the Caregiver.