Researchers on the Battlefield: Military Trauma Care and Its Influence on Civilian Practice

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 8:50 AM

Teresa W. Ryan, DNS
81st MDG, United States Air Force, Biloxi, MS

Learning Objective 1: Describe the history of military trauma research and its influence on civilian healthcare delivery.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the mission of the military's deployed combat casualty research team in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Civilian trauma care has advanced greatly from innovations developed and tested on the battlefield. Writings and observations from the earliest of times on the care of soldiers and sailors injured in combat influenced the treatment of noncombatants and contributed to the current body of medical knowledge on trauma and recovery. From French Army surgeon Ambroise Pare’s discourse on wound care in the 16th century to Florence Nightingale’s statistical analysis of mortality in the Crimean War to today’s carefully conducted research studies in Iraq and Afghanistan, wartime medical discoveries have provided the foundation of modern trauma care.  These historic milestones and the translation into civilian healthcare have significantly changed trauma management and increased the survivability of catastrophic injury in peace and war. The United States military recognizes the importance of evidence-based treatment and rehabilitation of its personnel injured in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nurse researchers play an important role in initiating, conducting, and evaluating research protocols in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and are key members of the military’s deployed research team in the combat area of operations.