Our Vietnam Nurses – Compelling Australian stories of heroism, friendship and lives changed forever by Annabelle Brayley – Book Review

This book presents the experiences of fifteen medical personnel who served in South Vietnam in various capacities. These range from Corporal Phil Dobson the medic with D Coy 6 RAR and his experience at Long Tan, through to caring for civilian evacuees in Vietnamese Provincial hospitals.

Penguin Random House 2017  Paperback 320pp RRP: $24.99
Penguin Random House 2017
Paperback 320pp RRP: $24.99

The individual stories are straightforward accounts of working in often stressful and sometimes confronting situations during the Vietnam War. The working locations varied from the Australian Field Hospital at Vung Tau, Vietnamese Civilian hospitals and casualty evacuation flights to Butterworth, Korea and the Philippines.
Whilst not presented in chronological sequence, each story shows the care and efforts the nurses made to deal with difficult and sometimes overwhelming situations, to do their best for the casualties they treated and to deal with the reality that, despite their best efforts, patients would not always live. Included photographs show some of the authors, but concentrate on showing working conditions.
In most cases in addition to experience in Vietnam there are reflections on the post-operational problems of recognition of service and winning support from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These situations have affected too many of those who served in South Vietnam and its support locations.
Reviewed for RUSIV by Peter Alkemade, November, 2017

Contact Royal United Services Institute about this article.

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