Exploring coping and Adaptation in Veteran Army Nurses with Combat-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Exploring coping and Adaptation in Veteran Army Nurses with Combat-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Author: 
Thelma Nicholls
Program of study: 
Ph.D./NUR
Abstract: 
This research study explored coping and adaptation in veteran army nurses with combatrelated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A qualitative case study method was used to explore coping and adaption in veteran army nurses with combat-related PTSD, and how coping with PTSD affects the concepts of self, the role of self in relation to others, and personal relationships in this cohort of army nurses. A directed content analysis based upon the Roy Adaptation Model (RAM) conceptualization of coping and adaptation was used to analyze the study data. Use of purposeful and snowball sampling method yielded 14 study participants that were either in active duty, retired or separated from active duty status, and who met all other inclusion criteria. Validation of PTSD was accomplished using the PTSD Check List-Military Version (PCL-M). A pilot study with three veteran army nurses with combat-related PTSD and who met the inclusion criteria was used to test interview questions prior to the main study. Analysis of data from the semi-structured interviews was completed with the assistance of NVivo 10 to determine prominent patterns for interpretation. Three themes emerged from data: Strategies for coping and adapting, Poor self-concept, and Relationship challenges. Study findings revealed that veteran army nurses with combat-related PTSD were at the compensatory adaptation level based on the concepts of the theoretical framework. The findings also indicated that veteran army nurses with combat-related PTSD need more targeted assistance and support to employ effective coping and adaptation strategies.
Dedication: 
To God be the glory, for to whom much is given, much is required. This study is dedicated to my husband Robert for his support and encouragement when I felt like giving up; for being the wind beneath my wings and for believing in me. You were content to let me shine. To my mother, my sons Gavin, Gary, and Gregory; my grandchildren Kacey, Kyree, Makhi, Courtney, Gabby, Jazlyn and Tyler, all for whom I strive daily to be a role model. Finally, to my darling Maltese, Max who was my companion many days and nights when everyone else was asleep.
Acknowledgements: 
My deepest appreciation to those who agreed to participate in this study. The brave men and women of the Army Nurse Corps who behind the scenes save lives every minute of every day. Thank you. Without you this study would not have been possible. Achieving this doctoral degree would not be possible without the wonderful team that I was blessed with. To Dr. Treschuk. Thank you for being more than my committee chairperson. You were my mentor. You encouraged me to keep persevering and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To my committee members Dr. Mullen and Dr. Bachand, the guidance you provided was invaluable. As a team, you all were able to make sense out of words that were somewhat incoherent to me at times. Thank you all.