Background: The history of critical care nursing is intertwined with that of battlefield nursing, where for almost 200 years, nurses worked to save injured soldiers' lives, risking their own physical and emotional injuries. Today, with nurses increasingly deployed to provide critical care during natural, man-made and public health crises that can resemble battlefield situations, there is much to learn from battlefield nurses. Aim: This qualitative study aims to explore the lessons of the experiences of civilian nurses deployed to Israeli battlefields in three wars between 1967 and 1982. Methods: Qualitative, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty-two former military nurses who were deployed in three wars between 1967 and 1982. We analysed interview transcripts using a content analysis approach. COREQ, a 32-item checklist, guided method selection, data analysis and the findings' presentation. Findings: Data analysis revealed three main themes, with ten related subthemes: Field Service Challenges, Coping with Challenges, and Nurses' Need for Recognition. Conclusion: The findings identify mental, emotional, and organizational issues resulting from nurses' wartime experiences, revealing numerous opportunities for better preparing and supporting critical care nurses before, during, and after crises. Relevance to Clinical Practice: Critical care nursing during crises, such as wartime, is unique but increasingly common. The memories and ongoing impact of those experiences offer invaluable information for nursing and health policy stakeholders planning for future deployments during wartime or other disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian war.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!Critical Care