The Professional Strains and Moral Dilemmas of Nursing in Vietnam
There is a timelessness to a nurse's recollections of war. Whether she served near the trenches of France in World War I, in North Africa during World War II, or in Cu Chi, South Vietnam, each remembers long hours working with grievously injured men. The recollections that follow in many ways correspond to Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, her account of World War I nursing, or Theresa Archard G.I. Nightingale, a record of nurses in the North African and Italian campaigns of World War II.
Wartime nursing is particularly stressful because of the age and the severity of injury seen in the patients. It is easier to accept disability, even death, in the elderly than in the young. An elderly person has experienced work, friends and family, sports and good books, health and illness, seasons and holidays. A young person is only on the verge of such a life. Most patients in Vietnam were so young that nurses often looked at them to see if the boys lying on the stretchers or beds were high school