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Defence Nursing Services

Use this guide to find information resources about defence nursing services including books, reports and journal articles.

Last updated: 16/05/2024

Key Resources

Care Quality Commission (2022) CQC’s inspection programme of Defence Medical Services: annual report for Year 5 (2021/22). Newcastle Upon Tyne: CQC.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (2019) NATO standard AJP-4.10: allied joint doctrine for medical support (edition C version 1). NATO.
Burnett Library (Defence Medical Services)
Ministry of Defence (2017) Mental health in the UK armed forces, London: MoD
Ministry of Defence (2015) Strategic trends programme: Future operating environment 2035, London: MoD.
Ministry of Defence (2017) The operational patient care pathway, London: MoD.
Sphere Handbook (2018) Humanitarian charter and minimum standards in humanitarian response, Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Great Britain. House of Commons. Committee of Public Accounts (2010) Ministry of Defence: treating injury and illness arising on military operation. 27th report of session 2009-10: report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence. London: Stationery Office
Armour C, Waterhouse-Bradley B, Walker E et al. (2017) Supporting and serving military veterans in Northern Ireland, (no place) (no publisher).
NHS - Veterans: NHS mental health services
Royal College of General Practitioners: Veterans' healthcare toolkit
Royal College of General Practitioners and The Royal British Legion and Combat Stress (no date) Meeting the healthcare needs of veterans: a guide for general practitioners, London: RCGP.
Veterans' Gateway: Healthcare in England - an overview
Armour C, Waterhouse-Bradley B, Ross J et al. (2018) Public attitudes to the UK armed forces in Northern Ireland, (no place) (no publisher).
We would like to thank the RCN Defence Nursing member community for their input into the development of this subject guide.


Book cover Beder J (2017) Caring for the military: a guide for helping professionals. London: Routledge.
Book cover Bowles S V and Bartone P T (eds.) (2018) Handbook of military psychology: clinical and organizational practice. Cham: Springer.
Book cover Cameron K  and Owens B (2016) Musculoskeletal injuries in the military, New York, NY: Springer Verlag.
Cataldo D (2018) Facial reconstructive surgery in humanitarian missions. Brescia: MarcoSerraTarantolaEditore.
Book cover Greaves I (editor) (2019) Military medicine in Iraq and Afghanistan: a comprehensive review, Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Book cover Hepner K, Sloss E and Roth C (2016) Quality of care for PTSD and depression in the military health system: Phase I report, Santa Monica: Rand Corporation.
Book cover Hutchings S (2016) Trauma and combat critical care in clinical practice. New York: Springer.
Book cover Khan M and Nott D (2021) Fundamentals of frontline surgery. Milton: Taylor & Francis Group.
Book cover Kushner AL (2017) Operation Crisis: surgical care in the developing world during conflict and disaster, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Book cover Leenaars A (2016) Suicide among the armed forces: Understanding the cost of service, Amityville: Routledge Ltd.
Book cover Orcutt M, Shortall C, Walpole S, Abbara A, Garry S, Issa R, Zumla A and Abubakar I (2021) Handbook of refugee health: for healthcare professionals and humanitarians providing care to forced migrants. Milton: CRC Press.

Book subject searches

Use these links to see details of books the RCN libraries hold on each topic.

Journal articles


Book cover Journals of interest for defence nursing services. Use these links to see details of availability.


Book cover RCN Exhibition: For Queen and Country: Nursing, Trauma and War
  • Throughout history conflicts have affected the physical and mental health of service personnel and civilians. From the Crimean War in 1853, when trained nurses were first posted to a war zone, to Afghanistan in 2014, each conflict has presented a unique challenge, while the environment and the threat of disease causes even more casualties than the battlefield. Nurses doing their duty for Queen and Country provide skilled, compassionate care to anyone at every stage of the patient experience. This exhibition told their story.

Nursing History Collection

Defence nurses’ experiences from Iraq and Afghanistan Royal College of Nursing (2015) Defence nurses’ experiences from Iraq and Afghanistan, London: RCN.
  • This item is available in the RCN Digital Archive for historical interest.
    View page
Book cover Fell A (2013) First World War nursing: new perspectives, Abingdon: Routledge.
Hall C (2021) The nurse who became a spy: Madge Addy’s war against fascism. Barnsley: Pen and Sword History.
Hallett, Christine (2016) Nurse writers of the Great War, Manchester, Manchester University Press
Book cover Hallett E (2014) Veiled warriors: allied nurses of the First World War, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Helmstadter, Carol (2020) Beyond Nightingale : nursing on the Crimean War battlefields, Manchester : Manchester University Press
Book cover McEwen Y (2014) In the company of nurses: the history of the British Army Nursing Service in the Great War, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Book cover Mortimer B (2012) Sisters: memories from the courageous nurses of world war two, London: Hutchinson.
Book Cover Pattinson J and Summerfield P (2020) Women of war: gender, modernity and the first aid nursing yeomanry. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Book cover Scannell-Desch E (2012) Nurses in war: voices from Iraq and Afghanistan, New York: Springer Publishing.

Special collections

Our Permanent Collection consists of nursing specific core items and rare items. It is viewable by appointment at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre. Here is a small selection of items from our collection.
Harrison A (1944) Grey and scarlet: letters from the war areas by Army sisters on active service, London : Hodder and Stoughton.
Her Majesty Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (1922) Reminiscent sketches: 1914 to 1919, London: John Bale Sons & Danielsson.
Taylor M (1857) Eastern hospitals and English nurses: the narrative of twelve months' experience in the hospitals of Koulali and Scutari, London: Hurst and Blackett.

Historical journals

Nursing Record/British Journal of Nursing (1888-1956)
  • Digitised journal available online.
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Bulletin of the UK Association for the History of Nursing (2012-)
  • Digitised journal available online.
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Nursing History Review (1997-)
Nursing Mirror (1907-1985)
Nursing Times (1905- )


The RCN Archive contains some of the most important collections dedicated to the history of the nursing profession in the UK. Visitors by appointment in Edinburgh.
Private papers
  • The Florence Nightingale Digitization Project (available online).
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  • British Commonwealth Nurses War Memorial Fund Book of Honour (reference C82).
    View details
  • Doreen Norton - British Commonwealth Nurses War Memorial Fund (reference C457).
    View details
  • Three typical First World War medals - the Mons Star, General Service medal and the Victory Medal issued to nurse Margaret Collins who served with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 (reference C581).
    View details
  • The earliest wartime photographs in the Archive are from the album ofAnnie Warren Gill, who served as a military nurse during the 2nd South African War (aka Boer War) (reference C580).
    View details

This subject guide relates to:

RCN Library staff

Andrew Temple-Mabe

Editor of this guide

RCN Library and Museum

Upcoming events relating to this subject guide

Page last updated - 16/05/2024