Conclusion
‘Shared experiences and meanings’
in Working in a world of hurt
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While medical histories have traditionally focused on the factual and concrete, our analyses of the accounts discussed here emphasises the interdependence of experience and emotion, and it is in exploring this interdependence that we find reflected specific commonalities. Although we separate the wars under discussion into their own chapters, in bringing them together collectively, similarities, more than differences, become increasingly visible. Looking at the experiences of trauma and the attendant methods of coping through which the medical personnel discussed here survive such trauma, allows these accounts to speak to each other across time and culture. Although, as we note in the Introduction, psychiatric historians emphasise difference in definitions of trauma, stressing the cultural role in its construction – for example, the shell-shock of the First World War cannot be the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome of the Vietnam era – it is equally important to note how much these accounts point to common traumatic experience that allows us to investigate similarities of response over the decades.

Working in a world of hurt

Trauma and resilience in the narratives of medical personnel in warzones

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