AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
It's refreshing to read an article that educates nurses on the needs of the families of deployed troops ("Caring for Families with Deployment Stress," November 2010).
I'm a nurse studying for my bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and the spouse of an active-duty member of the United States Navy. Because of my husband's military status, I'm aware of much of the information presented in this article. However, the families of deployed guardsmen and reservists—according to the authors, these service members account for 40% of the 143,000 currently in Afghanistan and Iraq—tend to live in the community, without the assistance of the volunteers, support groups, and military organizations available to those living on military bases.
It's hard to understand what military families go through unless you've lived this life. Days are filled with stress, loneliness, and, often times, feelings of despair. The families of the deployed carry an enormous psychological burden; there are many sleepless nights and much sadness and heartache. In times of hopelessness, it makes a world of difference to encounter people who care and offer support.
Nurses can provide this, and this article contains crucial information about how to do so. I particularly like the description of the sources of stress in this population: suddenly becoming a single parent, lack of information, insufficient social support, and financial issues. Sometimes all that's needed is to be guided in the right direction.
Nicole Kuhn, RN
Emerald Isle, NC