USAF: PTSD & Aeromedical Evacuation Nurses & Technicians

Research Paper Title

Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in United States Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation Nurses and Technicians.

Background

Critical Care Air Transport Teams (CCATT) are specialised military medical personnel who provide high-acuity care in an aeromedical environment.

Methods

The rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms was assessed in CCATT personnel and their rates were compared to general aeromedical evacuation (AE) personnel.

As part of a computer-based occupational stress survey, 188 crew members (138 AE nurses and technicians, 50 CCATT nurses and respiratory therapists) completed the PTSD Checklist – Military Version.

A categorical MEET/DOES NOT MEET CRITERIA variable was created, and a Fisher’s exact test was computed to identify differences between groups. Contingency table analyses were used to assess associations between demographic and occupational variables with meeting criteria.

Results

χ2 or Fisher’s exact test results, relative risks, and 95% confidence intervals were obtained, with 4.35% of AE and 14.00% of CCATT crew members meeting PTSD symptom criteria. The CCATT crew members were 3.22 times (95% confidence interval = 1.14-9.12) more likely to meet symptom criteria than AE, and for CCATT meeting criteria, the most commonly endorsed symptoms were arousal and avoidance.

Conclusions

The demographic and occupational factors assessed in this study were not associated with meeting PTSD symptom criteria. Current findings are discussed in relation to current research on post-traumatic stress in ground-based critical care personnel.

Reference

Swearingen, J.M., Goodman, T.M., Chappelle, W.L. & Thompson, W.T. (2017) Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in United States Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation Nurses and Technicians. Military Medicine. 182(S1):258-265. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-16-00107.

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