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The Vietnam War had a lasting effect on both the men and the women who served. While there appears to be plenty of research on how the war impacted the

The Vietnam War had a lasting effect on both the men and the women who served. While there appears to be plenty of research on how the war impacted the lives of the men, there is very little publicity given to how the war impacted the women, despite the extensive documentation in the forms of oral histories and studies. By looking at oral histories and various studies on different aspects of service, such as PTSD, experience, combat exposure, and gender in the conflict, this study recognizes the gaps in the examination of the nurse's experiences in Vietnam. It strives to contribute to the process of forming a more comprehensive study of how the war impacted the women who served. This study will answer the following questions: How did the experiences of the Vietnam War change the lives of the women who served as nurses? What struggles did they face while in service and when they returned home? How did the war impact them psychologically and, thus, change their behavior? Since the majority of the women who served were Army medical personnel, this study will focus on that population. This study begins with an investigation of their prewar lives, their reasons for joining the Army Nurse Corps, and their experiences in basic training. It analyzes their services in Vietnam by examining their experiences, gender roles, and working conditions. Finally, it explores the impact of the war on their lives, through an analysis of their homecoming, the controversy of Agent Orange, and PTSD. It shows how many of these factors would overlap with their experiences, causing trauma and a change in the behavior of these women. In many cases, the nurses changed from innocent and sheltered to depressed, angry, and struggling with their memories. Their experiences before, during, and after the war changed their perceptions of the world and themselves, resulting in increased anxiety, the need for adrenaline, and isolationist behaviors. The war was indiscriminate, and therefore, had a similar impact on both the men and women involved.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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