Angels Behind Doors
Women in the war are often only noted for their nursing skills but it’s never said how much they go through to be their best for their patients. Some of the many things that make them so dedicated are their working conditions, living conditions, and that their help didn’t stop at the soldiers.
Nurses in the Vietnam War had a very demanding job. Often with 3 patients to a bed, sitting around wasn’t an option. The average admission for battlefield injuries was about 3 hours in the hospital, meaning the doctors and nurses had to work very quickly. Nurses usually worked for 6 days a week, 12 hours straight, before they could get sleep, if any. Many nurses said that “sometimes sleeping was the best recreation of all” (Vietnam Woman’s Memorial, 2011). Working 12 hours in a bug-infested, noisy, hot and humid hospital obviously didn’t help them get through the long days by any means. Besides having to work in poor conditions, one nurse said “We didn't have enough instruments. We didn't have enough hands. Needless to say we shared things during surgical procedures that were absolutely needed to save lives, but they weren't sterile.” (Knox, 1995). By the Vietnam War, they had created new and more severe ways of attack: white phosphorous bombs that burned through the skin and right to the bone, helicopter wounds, and new found diseases. Because of this, the Vietnam nurses had different injuries to cure. On top of that they had little to no training for these type of
Angels Behind Doors 3
wounds. One nurse even stated, “The surgeon threw a pair of scissors at me and said, "Don't just stand there. He's going to lose that arm anyway. Cut it off." and so I did. And I remember the soun...
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McMahon, M. All About Military Nurses in Vietnam. About women who served in Vietnam, Tim O’Brien, Wilfred Owen, Irish on the Wall, Norwich terriers, poetry and more!. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from http://www.illyria.com/vnwnurse.html
The Vietnam Conflict: Women, the Unknown Soldiers. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from, http://www.deanza.fhda.edu/faculty/swensson/bestresearch_womensoldiers.html
The Women of the Army Nurse Corps During the Vietnam War. Vietnam Woman’s Memorial Foundation. Retrieved April 18,2011, from, www.vietnamwomensmemorial.org/pdf/iwest.pdf
Vietnam War Statistics. The Mobile Riverine Force Association. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from http://www.mrfa.org/vnstats.htm
Women in Vietnam. (Tour of Duty Info Home Page). Retrieved April 19, 2011, from, http://www.tourofdutyinfo.com/Notebook/Essay3-women.htm
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