oa Curationis - Pre-deployment preparation of military nurses of the South African National Defence Force for participation in peace support operations : original research



South Africa has dedicated itself to participate in peace support operations (PSOs). The concept of 'jointness', involving different arms of services, was adopted within the South African National Defence Force, thus involving nurses in PSOs.

Combat-readiness being a prerequisite for those involved in PSOs raised questions as to the readiness of forces to participate in these missions. There is a need for specific nursing care during PSOs, but the role and functions of nurses during such operations were not clearly defined; thus their preparation for these missions had very little scientific grounding.
These were to explore the pre-deployment preparation needs of military professional nurses during PSOs, and to describe the experience of these nurses whilst being deployed.
A quantitative exploratory, descriptive and contextual approach was used. Questionnaires were distributed to 99 professional nurses who had deployment experience, and 72 participated (73% response rate). Relevant peace mission concepts are the environment, jointness, behaviour and mission readiness, which served as the conceptual bases for the study.
Findings indicated that the nurses were not fully informed of their responsibilities during deployment or the circumstances under which they would have to work and live. Their preparation is not fully integrated with that of the other armed forces, and deficiencies in their training and development were identified which negatively impact on their mission readiness.
Recommendations were made in terms of human resource requirements, psychological training, better integration of jointness training, and content of training and development to ensure mission readiness of nurses.


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