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AJN, American Journal of Nursing: November 2017
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000526748.61302.b6
From the AJN Archives: PDF Only

Editor's note: From its first issue in 1900 through to the present day, AJN has unparalleled archives detailing nurses’ work and lives over more than a century. These articles not only chronicle nursing's growth as a profession within the context of the events of the day, but they also reveal prevailing societal attitudes about women, health care, and human rights. Today's nursing school curricula rarely include nursing's history, but it's a history worth knowing. To this end, From the AJN Archives highlights articles selected to fit today's topics and times.

This excerpt, from an article in the August 1918 issue, is part of a report presented at the 21st annual American Nurses Association convention. The author, a physician, discusses at length and with compassion the new diagnosis of “war neurosis” or “shell shock.” At the end of his report, he emphasizes the need for “specially trained nurses… women of the greatest possible intellect,” to care for these men. (To read the full article, go to and scroll to page 1010.)

Nurses today still care for these patients—only now they are diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rather than shell shock, and may include women as well as men. Some nurses are also looking at the larger picture of how well we serve these soldiers. To read a recent study by two Pennsylvania nurses that examines why veterans may not receive appropriate care for military service–related health problems, see “Primary Care Providers and Screening for Military Service and PTSD” in this issue.

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