Warrior nurse : duality and complementarity of role in the operational environment
This grounded theory study explored the nature of contemporary military nursing, in particular, the juxtaposition of personal, professional and organisational dogmas to identify the actual or potential affect on the operational nursing role. With increased deployment into low spectrum conflicts there is a need for a deeper understanding of this altered world to prepare military nurses, in particular, for their role. No research to date has explored this field. The sample comprised 24 military nurses drawn from the Royal Navy (RN), Army and Royal Air Force (RAF), with a counter-group of 4 military chaplains from the RN and Army. Data collection involved in-depth interviews and a focus group. Three core categories key to the central ideology 'Caring for War: Transition to Warrior' emerged from constant comparative analysis: (1) The spectrum of modem conflict (2) The profession of arms and the profession of caring (3) Caring warriors. Data analysis culminated in a substantive theory capturing the essence of the harmonious relationship of nurse and warrior. The combination of training and socialisation with the Social Defence Mechanism enacted by military nurses and to a degree, chaplains, resulted in the employment of coping strategies in response to operational challenges. Value identification was articulated as It's Who We Are, a sense of being called to serve. Further research is needed to explore the culture of contemporary military nursing, as conflict is a catalyst to social and role development.