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Nursing Care of Service Members With Head Injury During the Vietnam War

Yost, Terri L.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: June 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 3 - p 157–163
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0b013e31825106ba

ABSTRACT The purpose of this article was to describe and analyze the nursing management of head-injured soldiers by military nurses serving in the Vietnam War. This study used traditional historical methods and a military history framework. Primary sources included original military reports, letters, and policies from the Vietnam War period (located in the archives of the Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History in Falls Church, VA); journal articles of the time period; and autobiographical texts. Secondary sources consisted of biographical and historical texts and Web sites of historical societies. Findings supported that advances in medicine, nursing, and technology throughout the 1960s have an overall positive impact on patient care in a combat zone. The Vietnam War was a time when new theories in the management of head injuries led directly to overall improvements in survival. In conclusion, nurses were professionally and emotionally challenged on a near daily basis but were able to directly apply new nursing science in a combat environment to help improve survivability for those who may not have previously survived off the battlefield.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to MAJ Terri L. Yost, PhD FNP-BC, at MAJ Yost is a nurse scientist at the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI.

This project was sponsored by the TriService Nursing Research Program, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; however, the information or content and conclusions do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred by, the TriService Nursing Research Program, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses