LisaMarie Wands, RN, PhD is the author of the current “Editor’s Pick” article titled “No One Gets Through It OK”: The Health Challenge of Coming Home from War. In her mixed-methods study, Dr. Wands explored not only the experience of student veterans coming home from war, but ways they have used to overcome the challenges they face. Dr. Wands shared this background about her work:
After serving military duty, coming home is a much-anticipated and usually joyous occasion; however, the process of reintegrating into previously-known, civilian-world relationships and environments is often fraught with struggle for veterans. Training, deployment experiences, and time inevitably change the brave persons who voluntarily serve our country through military service, while their family, friends, and communities also change with the passage of time. Reconciliation between these old-but-new entities requires effort in often unanticipated ways, and seeking assistance with encountered difficulties may not be intuitive for the individuals navigating the difficult journey of reintegration. Likely influenced by the learned military mindset that individuals should be strong and self-sufficient, veterans often rely on intrinsic processes to overcome the challenges they face during their experience of coming home. Necessity, so the saying goes, is the mother of invention; couple this with resourcefulness and determination developed during military duty, and it reasonably follows that veterans will strive to independently rise up to meet the challenges before them. Paying attention to these inherent responses is a logical place to gather information that could potentially guide the formation of interventions delivered by healthcare providers, including nurses who as a collective discipline have not strongly articulated our relationship with this group of vulnerable persons.
Dr. LisaMarie Wands
I was extremely fortunate to have engaged with a group of student veterans who were willing to share their stories of coming home with me. Recruitment efforts for this study were challenging, which I believe suggests veterans’ reluctance and/or inability to articulate their experiences of either deployment or reintegration. As a unique population, I think student veterans can teach us a great deal about caring for veterans in a variety of settings, and I am tremendously grateful for the experience of listening to their stories and now sharing them with the nursing community.
We invite you to read her article, and share it with others — providers who work with returning veterans, and returning veterans and their families. You can access the article at no charge on the ANS Web site while it is featured! Add your comments and responses here!
The current Editor’s Pick article, titled “Peace Through a Healing Transformation of Human Dignity Possibilities and Dilemmas in Global Health and Peace” addresses the challenges of the premise that health is a bridge for peace. The author, Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN, uses her research within the Israeli-Palentinian conflict as an exemplar of these challenges. She provided this commentary on her work:
We needn’t look far to see the devastating effects of collective violence. The daily headlines are filled with tragedies of war across the globe. Harder to find are the stories of countless acts of peacemakers, struggling to build communities of good relations. These groups often do not receive the recognition or support that they deserve. Their actions are sometimes unrecognized and even disparaged because they challenge the very paradigms that perpetuate violence. Yet they continue the struggle for peace, despite obstacles and risks.One such example is the group Combatants for Peace which I discuss in my article. The Combatants for Peace movement was started by Israelis and Palestinians who had been actively involved in the cycle of violence and who chose to renounce violence and work for peace. These photos from the Combatants for Peace web site illustrate some of their activities.” I conducted a qualitative study with members of this inspirational group a few years ago that is reported in the book, The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Movement: Combatants for Peace.
The research study with Combatants for Peace illustrated that members of the group experienced their own transformation and the transformation of those around them. It was in their personal experiences of change that hope was born and kept alive. This awareness of the possibilities for human transformation for peace is expressed in the words of one of the Palestinian members of CFP (Perry, 2011, p. 233).
“If I changed . . . the way that I’m thinking, maybe I could change others. . . I feel more powerful. Really. Because the power of the human being is in his mind and his ideas. . . if you could change somebody maybe you give him more power . . . He could be a better person.”We in nursing need to be part of this human transformation to build a healthier society. My doctoral studies were inspired by the conviction that the knowledge gained would help me to help others in a new way. Led by a concern for the many social problems impacting health, such as violent conflict, social injustices and human rights abuses, I felt that it was important to bring a nursing lens to increase understanding of these issues. Through research, solidarity and advocacy we, as nurses, can partner with communities to help them create change that advances human dignity.
You can download and read this article at no cost while it is featured on our web site!