Title

Military to civilian nurse: Personal and professional reconstruction

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2017

Abstract

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aims and objectives: To examine and describe the transition process of military nurses from military nursing practice to civilian nursing practice. A second aim was to identify challenges and facilitators to this transition. Background: Serving in the military, and embodying its values, can have a major impact on a person's worldview. These individuals serve not only as nurses but also as part of a larger military culture with a mission to protect. The decision to separate from the military and transition into the civilian workforce carries many challenges capable of influencing nurses’ personal and professional identities. Design: Qualitative descriptive. Methods: Semi-structured interviews of 10 nurse veterans were conducted in 2015–2016. Data were collected until saturation was reached. Results: The transition includes four major phases from military to civilian nurse: Separating from Military Life, Conflict and Chaos, Shifting Sands and Personal and Professional Reconstruction. Duration and progress through each phase varied slightly for individual nurses. Conclusions: Both work–role and personal identity transition occur when a nurse leaves the military and enters civilian practice. Military and civilian organisations, in both the USA and other countries, can implement supports to aid these nurses during this personal and professional change. Recommendations from the study group are provided. Relevance to clinical practice: The global nursing profession, as well as healthcare organisations that employ nurse veterans, has a commitment and obligation to understand the transition process of nurses who practise within the scope of military nursing and later in civilian nursing environments so that they may be supported and used to the extent of their prior experience. Lessons learned and advice from this group of nurses may positively aid others in their transition experience.

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