2.50
Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10755/211537
Type:
Research Study
Title:
“I FEEL SO OUT OF PLACE:” HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN COMBAT VETERANS
Abstract:
Purposes/Aims: The purpose of this exploratory study was to develop an understanding of the healthcare experiences of women veterans returning from service in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rationale/Conceptual Basis/Background: Although the Veteran’s Administration projects that the number of women veterans accessing healthcare will more than double in the next five years, fewer than 50% of those returning home will seek healthcare at a Veteran’s Administration facility. The majority of these women veterans will be of childbearing age and many will have served multiple tours of duty in combat settings in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They will return home with unique mental and physical healthcare needs related to their military service, but fewer than 50% will seek care in a VA clinic or other facility. Unless community healthcare providers become more aware of healthcare needs that arise from combat and combat support services, these women combat veterans may receive care that does not fully address their needs. Enhanced understanding of the healthcare experiences of women veterans can lead to the development of care that is better suited to meet their needs; ultimately, this will result in improved health outcomes for women who have served in combat settings. Methods: Nineteen women participated in interviews for this community-based qualitative study. Based on their initial interviews, two women were selected for inclusion in a separate case study and their interviews were not analyzed as part of this study. The seventeen remaining participants completed semi-structured interviews lasting approximately two hours within one year of returning from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. All participants completed one interview; eight also completed a second interview to discuss issues related to childbirth and mothering. Audio and transcribed data were analyzed using a multi-staged narrative approach. Results: Results describe healthcare experiences both during and following deployment. Negative experiences during and following deployment included the absence of consistent assessment that allowed discussion of service-related health concerns, general lack of gender-sensitive care for issues related to reproductive health, perceived inadequate treatment for overuse-type orthopedic injuries, perceived lack of privacy, and/or confidentiality, and difficulties in obtaining supportive care for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, marital/relationship discord, and/or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Upon return to the United States, participants who wished to remain actively involved in their military units were reluctant to seek care for mental and/or physical health concerns for fear of mandatory separation from their units. Healthcare-related fear and anxiety were heightened when healthcare providers were male and/or of middle-eastern ethnicity. Implications: Further study is needed to evaluate stressors and identify opportunities for improved care and further support for women combat veterans and especially for dual-military families, childbearing women veterans, and services designed to address the needs of families with school-age and adolescent children. A study being planned by the author will include quantitative measures of wellbeing, health status, and quality of life in addition to a continued focus on the stories of healthcare experiences and needs told by women combat veterans who find themselves back at home.
Keywords:
Iraq war; Afghanistan war; Healthcare experiences; Women veterans
Repository Posting Date:
20-Feb-2012
Date of Publication:
20-Feb-2012
Other Identifiers:
5398
Sponsors:
Western Institute of Nursing

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.typeResearch Studyen_GB
dc.title“I FEEL SO OUT OF PLACE:” HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN COMBAT VETERANSen_GB
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10755/211537-
dc.description.abstractPurposes/Aims: The purpose of this exploratory study was to develop an understanding of the healthcare experiences of women veterans returning from service in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rationale/Conceptual Basis/Background: Although the Veteran’s Administration projects that the number of women veterans accessing healthcare will more than double in the next five years, fewer than 50% of those returning home will seek healthcare at a Veteran’s Administration facility. The majority of these women veterans will be of childbearing age and many will have served multiple tours of duty in combat settings in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They will return home with unique mental and physical healthcare needs related to their military service, but fewer than 50% will seek care in a VA clinic or other facility. Unless community healthcare providers become more aware of healthcare needs that arise from combat and combat support services, these women combat veterans may receive care that does not fully address their needs. Enhanced understanding of the healthcare experiences of women veterans can lead to the development of care that is better suited to meet their needs; ultimately, this will result in improved health outcomes for women who have served in combat settings. Methods: Nineteen women participated in interviews for this community-based qualitative study. Based on their initial interviews, two women were selected for inclusion in a separate case study and their interviews were not analyzed as part of this study. The seventeen remaining participants completed semi-structured interviews lasting approximately two hours within one year of returning from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. All participants completed one interview; eight also completed a second interview to discuss issues related to childbirth and mothering. Audio and transcribed data were analyzed using a multi-staged narrative approach. Results: Results describe healthcare experiences both during and following deployment. Negative experiences during and following deployment included the absence of consistent assessment that allowed discussion of service-related health concerns, general lack of gender-sensitive care for issues related to reproductive health, perceived inadequate treatment for overuse-type orthopedic injuries, perceived lack of privacy, and/or confidentiality, and difficulties in obtaining supportive care for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, marital/relationship discord, and/or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Upon return to the United States, participants who wished to remain actively involved in their military units were reluctant to seek care for mental and/or physical health concerns for fear of mandatory separation from their units. Healthcare-related fear and anxiety were heightened when healthcare providers were male and/or of middle-eastern ethnicity. Implications: Further study is needed to evaluate stressors and identify opportunities for improved care and further support for women combat veterans and especially for dual-military families, childbearing women veterans, and services designed to address the needs of families with school-age and adolescent children. A study being planned by the author will include quantitative measures of wellbeing, health status, and quality of life in addition to a continued focus on the stories of healthcare experiences and needs told by women combat veterans who find themselves back at home.en_GB
dc.subjectIraq waren_GB
dc.subjectAfghanistan waren_GB
dc.subjectHealthcare experiencesen_GB
dc.subjectWomen veteransen_GB
dc.date.available2012-02-20T12:00:57Z-
dc.date.issued2012-02-20T12:00:57Z-
dc.date.accessioned2012-02-20T12:00:57Z-
dc.description.sponsorshipWestern Institute of Nursingen_GB
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