The Appreciation of Nurses in Times of War

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Although never the preferred method to resolve conflicts, America has been involved in many wars. During wartime, nurses have had a significant role in the care of soldiers. The Korean War began in 1950 and ended in 1953; the nurses of the Army, Navy, and Air Force were called to duty in combat areas. The Vietnam War began in 1962 and did not end until 1973. Nurses gained experience and were appreciated during both wars, yet the Vietnam War provided nurses with more experiences and nurses were more appreciated than during the Korean War. The length of the Vietnam War with the opinions of the American public, the changes in law and the types of injuries cared for all contribute to the appreciation of the nurses during the Vietnam War. The Army, Navy, and Air Force Nurse Corps called nurses into duty when the Korean conflict began. Nurses were able to utilize the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) for the first time and the injured were treated quickly and efficiently using these hospitals. Nurses also assisted critically injured soldiers while they were airlifted and transported to other hospitals for further care. A triage and treatment model was established during the Korean War which helped more soldiers receive timely treatment and gave nurses more autonomy. A pattern of action was followed as patients were admitted: pulse rates and blood pressures were taken and recorded on tags attached to each litter; infusion of whole blood was started; penicillin was given to everyone with an open wound; clothing was cut away and wounds exposed; critical cases were identified; and patients were sorted on the basis of treatment. (Donahue, 1996, p. 386). This action plan and the commitment of the nurses significantly decreased the wartime mortality rate from that of previous wars (approximately half the mortalities noted in World War II). The nurses in the Korean War were appreciated for the work they did and the care they gave, but the nurses...
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