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Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of Military Nursing Officers

Conlon, Lisa; Wiechula, Rick; Garlick, Amanda

doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000342

Background Nurses working in military trauma teams often work in hostile and remote locations. They are faced with the burden of carrying out their duties while ensuring the safety of their patients and themselves in areas of conflict and humanitarian crisis. The stories and experiences of military nurses often go untold. In a phenomenological study, six Australian Defence Force Nursing Officers share their stories of working as members of military trauma teams.

Objectives The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of nursing officers when working as a member of a military trauma team.

Methods A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to conduct this research. In-depth interviews were conducted with six participants.

Results The following themes were identified: telling their stories; the role—who we are and what we do; the environment—it is so different; training—will it ever fully prepare you; working in teams—there’s no “I” in team; and leadership—will the real leader please stand up!

Discussion This study has provided an insight into the experiences of six Australian military nurses working in trauma teams—experiences that were rarely given voice outside the military. Central to this experience is the need to have these stories told.

Lisa Conlon, DNurs, RN, is Senior Lecturer, The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.

Rick Wiechula, DNurs, RN, is Senior Lecturer, Adelaide Nursing School, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Amanda Garlick, DNurs, RN, is Director, Fleet Health, Royal Australian Navy.

Accepted for publication December 1, 2018.

The authors wish to thank members of the Australian Defense Nursing Branch for their time and contribution to this study.

Research in this publication was supported by the Australian Defense Force Ethics approval and The University of Adelaide Ethics. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors.

The authors have no conflict of interest to report.

Corresponding author: Lisa Conlon, DNurs, RN, The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, 88 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW, 2050, Australia (e-mail:

Online date: February 1, 2019

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