Deployment environment for military nurses

  1. Hey I'm new to this forum and new to the profession, but I do have a number of questions for the veterans out there. I was wondering if you could elaborate on the environments nurses in the air force or army may face while being deployed to iraq? I have been considering the reserves for a few years and I'm an ER junkie at heart. Ideally, I would like to work with a csh unit in the ER or maybe even flight nursing. Another question I have is how much protection do the medical personnel/facilities have while in combat situations? Do army nurses go on foot patrol with infantry? Last but not least, is the minimum time commitment 8 years (including inactive time) in all branches? Thank you for your time and service.
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   Jarnaes
    Army nurses do not go on foot patrol with the Infantry. The environment you may face on a deployment varies. When we first went into Iraq we had nothing. No running water, no electricity, no shelter, but once we set up the hospital we gained all that "luxury" stuff. And yes, as a nurse you are doing manual labor building/setting up the CSH, but it's a lot of fun to see the finished product. Other CSHs went to established areas and set up their hospitals in fixed facilities/buildings.
    What I have seen from an Army perspective is that the Air Force tend to take better care of their personnel, and they usually get the best locations.
    As a military medical unit you will generally be well protected, and in most cases you do not have to do your own perimeter security.
    The current situation in Iraq is a bit different from the standard doctrine of front lines and rear areas. The lines are blurred if not completely erased, and all units can become a target at anytime. The insurgency does not follow or respect the Geneva convention, so a medical facility is not off limits for them. We were targeted multiple times.
    If you want to become a flight nurse then the Air Force would be the best place. The majority of MEDEVACS in the Army are handled by the flight medics.
  4. by   michmurse
    Wow, thank you for the insight. I understand that because of the group we are fighting that there really is no "safe zone". However, my interests contain no drive or interest in ending more lives. I wish to only save them. That is why I inquired about foot patrols. I am aware that as medical personnel you may carry personal protection. I am fine with rough living conditions and I would be happy to put in the manual labor to build the unit. Going forward, I feel as though I have a good grasp on the nurse's role in the army, but not as much in the air force. Do you know what opportunities are available on the ground for air force nurses, such as something similiar to a csh? Flight nursing remains an interest for me, as I see it as more of a flying ICU, to sustain life from field hospitals to satellite hospitals in neighoring or distant countries. Again, thank you for your time and service.
  5. by   PRicanRN
    I have been wondering the same things thanks for asking these question.
  6. by   j.graham
    Hello from Baghdad,
    My name is Jason, and I am currently working in the EMT (ER) of Ibn Sina Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq. I am currently deployed with the 28th Combat Support Hospital. As well as working in the EMT Section of the hospital here, I am also part of our flight team which is made up of M5's and 8A's (ED and ICU RN's). We have 4 or 5 M5's who have flown approx. 35-40 missions to Balad. The EMT personnel fly head trauma, because Balad has Neurosurg capabilities. Our ICU personnel fly also but more flights than us because they fly American Soldiors to Balad for transfer to Germany.
    We as a guideline dont do point of injury flights unless we are on way back from transport mission. Flight Medics run the show. We take care of patient during transport but the Flight Medics are in charge of the back of the airframe. The Army does have a course for Nurses for flight at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. Called the Joint Enroute Care Course- was fun.
    As for foot patrols, never heard of nurses going on them. I am in the "Green Zone" of Baghdad. Dont let the name fool you. There is insurgent activity here. Definitely not that of the "red zone". Just more covert. We do get mortered, rocketed, and have our dose of indirect fire. When you leave our FOB you have to take your weapon. No big deal. I can tell you it is easy to become complacent here with all the amenities. However, what is gained in amenities is quickly made up for with all the GSW's, fragmentary wounds, blast injuries, tramatic amputations, and burns that we see on a daily basis. I may have left stuff out, but you get the idea. I have worked a number of ED's in the US, and nothing in the world compares to this experience. Any specific questions feel free.
    CPT JGraham
  7. by   j.graham
    sorry, got impatient before, and hit post reply too much....
    Last edit by j.graham on Jan 8, '07
  8. by   Gennaver
    Quote from ltj.graham
    Hello from Baghdad,
    My name is Jason, and I am currently working in the EMT (ER) of Ibn Sina Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq. I am currently deployed with the 28th Combat Support Hospital. ... I have worked a number of ED's in the US, and nothing in the world compares to this experience. Any specific questions feel free.
    CPT JGraham

    Hello CPT JGraham,

    Nice to read you.

    edited to add! Thanks for allowing questions and for getting online to post this to us!


    Not sure if and when I would be deployed, (as a new student graduate I am sure that requirements include some med/surg bedside experience before hand).

    This is why my question is, "what is the least amount of bedside experience any of the nurses deployed has?" I have read at this site that some nurses were deployed after four months of bedside experience.

    I plan to volunteer but, wonder what the likelihood would be, as a new nurse anticipated to graduate in June '07. I figure that it may be possible to go to Germany but, of course, would prefer Iraq.

    Gen-learning Arabic now, (although it is only the classical but, still...)
  9. by   Jarnaes
    Hey CPT Graham, I was with the original 28th CSH crew that set up Ibn Sina back in Aug 03. I bet the place has changed quite a bit since we moved into the building. As crazy as it was, I miss the place. Just wait until you get home, you're going to miss that 24/7 adrenaline rush... Take good care of yourself and stay safe.

    with love,
    CPT M
  10. by   traumaRUs
    Stay safe and you guys and gals are in my prayers...from a proud Navy vet.
  11. by   Gennaver
    Quote from Jarnaes
    Hey CPT Graham, I was with the original 28th CSH crew that set up Ibn Sina back in Aug 03. I bet the place has changed quite a bit since we moved into the building. As crazy as it was, I miss the place. Just wait until you get home, you're going to miss that 24/7 adrenaline rush... Take good care of yourself and stay safe.

    with love,
    CPT M
    Hello Jarnaes,

    I just saw "Wounded Warrior" on Cnn today of Ibn Sina.

    There was a newsjournal that did a documentary on Ibn Sina as well, (have you seen any of it? I can dig up the link, surely it would be a memory lane for you!). Heck, you might be in it.
    Gen
  12. by   j.graham
    CPT M and all,
    I am honored to walk in your footsteps, and you would be proud of the good work we are doing here. I deployed from Ft. Bragg, so I know some of your colleagues. I have a video on my myspace acct that has pics from your deployment. Anyway- 6 months on the floor is the vibe I am getting, it is just a guideline, and really you could go at anytime. If you went to civilian nursing school you may have an ace in the whole. You may be able to call some shots. Find out through recruiter (if they know) who is up next on rotation to iraq, then make that part of your deal. farfetched maybe, but give it a shot. They will accomodate. Remember, you call the shots at first. I regret not getting jump school as part of my contract. I will go when I get back to Bragg.

    Drink a Guinness for me-



    jg
  13. by   j.graham
    BTW - If you want to go to Germany, that can be arranged through your recruiter, and dont accept anything less.

    Go with Modern Arabic, differing dialects everywhere, but it covers most bases.
  14. by   Gennaver
    Quote from ltj.graham
    BTW - If you want to go to Germany, that can be arranged through your recruiter, and dont accept anything less.

    Go with Modern Arabic, differing dialects everywhere, but it covers most bases.
    Thanks jg,

    Okay, Modern Arabic.

    Meanwhile last I heard from my recruiter he said I wouldn't know until just before I go to OBC which base would be mine. I will send him an email and ask how to make it the next group up for deployment. It is worth a shot.

    Thanks,
    Gen

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