The Lived Experience of Chief Nurses in Military Operations Other Than War-- M. Turner

Comprehensive Description
- Lived Other

Lived other or relationality refers to the relationships maintained with others. The chief nurses' experience of others in the local community or in the larger global community provided a sense of purpose. The chief nurses established friendships with co-workers during the deployments as well as maintaining relationships with their families at home. (Caring, Living)


I met a lot of people and a lot of nurses. Most of us keep in touch now, keep in touch with each other.


The only thing I think... Any time when you are gone more than about 4 weeks... Is talking to your kids. And we used E-mail. My husband spent the $20 per mo. and talked on E-mail. So even though... You know, you're only supposed to make a phone call once per week. That was o.k. but talking on the E-mail was nice.


I promised my son that... He was very worried. I mean I can't tell you how many times he told me... Now he was 8 years old. He said "Mom. All I want is a camel and 5 dollars of their money and for you to come back home alive." And he said this to me multiple, multiple times. He was very worried that I wouldn't come home. And... And so I told him that I would do everything I could do to try to make sure that I came home safe. And... And I probably could have gone downtown as one of the escorts at one of those times but I was so busy, I just don't think I could have fit that it. But I could have done it though. But... But I just felt like the safest place for me to be was on that base.


We knew everybody. I have developed, I think, some friendships with some of the nurses that I was with now and we get Christmas cards and I send... Just this week, you know, I sent Christmas cards to them.


Most of the executive teams worked hard to develop trusting relationships so the mission could be accomplished. Common doubts, fears, concerns and worries provided lots of material for discussion. Difficult decisions were made that much more easily when there were supportive people to encourage them. (Caring, Knowing, Leading, Working)


This is going to sound a little weird because it was weird to me at the time. Ah... When faced with situations like that and people that see every day of your life. I mean, you eat with them, you sleep with them, you work with them, they're everywhere, because we all lived right there in the same little camp. I mean, you know, door to door to door. We all used the same rest room. You know what I mean. And we all... There was one place to eat. And... And so everybody ate in the dining hall. And there were only certain times so you always met up there together. You will not know what that does to a person, it just really bonds you.


Me and... my friend, who... She retired this summer and I really miss her. But we'd go walking and... For hours and hours and hours. We got to be good friends because I... You know, after a while, you just have to talk about anything that you can think about.


The more senior of the chief nurses had an easier time with social relationships in the field. Fraternization was not a problem for any of them but the appearance of inappropriate relationships with subordinates was a consideration for some, and it limited their openness. Very strong bonds were built among those who shared the profound experiences in the field, many of them still keep in touch. (Leading, Leaving)


It's kind of the typical chief nurse thing where you really can't be friends with people. I couldn't be friends with the Col.really because she couldn't be friends with anybody.


So when... When it was time for us to go, even though we were all glad, we were also sad because we had made such interesting friends and we had gone through so much together, all of us as a group, that unless you were a part of that group, you couldn't possibly understand what we had gone through.


Storytelling and listening to stories led to understanding through getting to know one another. Soldiers from other countries had stories to tell and so did troops from the sister services. The patients also had stories to tell, stories of family members who died at sea while trying to reach the camp and stories of the lives they hoped to establish in the U.S. The staff responded with genuine concern and that concern was the seed of a caring, healing relationship. (Knowing, Caring, Working, True Military)


Believe it or not, not only did we get close to the people we deployed over there with, the people we met from the other contingents. Because there were, on Camp, probably 12 or 15 other contingents. And you'd... You'd... You'd... You developed friendships with them. I mean, we had close association with the French contingent and they had their own little medical, ah... First aid station .... The Danish group of folks there and the Swedes and folks from the Netherlands and you had your Russians and the Ukraines. I mean, you know, there were 10 or 12 other contingents on that base. After you'd been there a while, everybody'd eat in the same dining room and you'd see them around, they'd come to our hospital, it got to be not just our little family but a bigger family that people had developed very close associations. Very close associations.


It really was joint force. And it really was United Nations. I mean, we had people from all contingents. And what you learn is that people really come together in times like that.


There again, it was really bad... the interpreters came from the camps to help us, they were volunteers. And a lot of times, they were doctors or... They would tell us, you know, when you got know them, "You know, I was a lawyer" or "I was a college professor" and here they're reduced to asking for a coke and being an interpreter and trying to help us out.


Some of them spoke very good English. And there were physicians and nurses and teachers that were in these groups of people living in these tents, like animals really. They were more like prisoners..... So, you know, we heard their stories and people really got attached. And although there was supposed to be no fraternization between Americans, no matter what service, and the migrants, in reality, there was some fraternization.


There were some beautiful artists there, they could really draw. And they were very... Just a neat group of people. You know... So we got to... You got to know people personally.


And they all had stories. And if you saw some of the paintings... You could tell how, there were paintings of people in chains and... They had lost boats and family coming across the water. And there were a couple of old boats that they had made and rafts that were just sitting off the back of the island where we were housing these folks. When I went on the boat, you could see some of this stuff.... and everybody had their story, who they had lost, what was going on, whose family was back home.