An Air Force Nurse Leader's Impact: Brigadier General Goodwin, 10th Air Force Nurse Corps Chief

Brigadier General Goodwin, 10th Air Force Nurse Corps Chief

Victoria Hughes, DNS, MSN, MA, RN, CENP


Online J Issues Nurs. 2021;26(3) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


To pursue and fulfill the limitless potential of nursing, it is important to recognize and record the stories of previous leaders who helped to pave the way for advances in the nursing scope of practice, clinical expertise, and leadership opportunities. The purpose of this oral history research method study was to preserve and explore the impact and contributions of Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Barbara Goodwin during the evolutionary time from 1988 to 1991. In an extensive interview, Brig Gen Goodwin reflected on her leadership strategies to address the nurse shortage, the advancement of nurse leadership and educational opportunities, and crucial collaboration efforts contributing to the deployment of 40,000 women in support of war efforts. The findings section discusses the leadership themes identified, which included collaboration, prioritization, understanding the system, and a passion for clinical nursing. The conclusion summarizes her significant impact on military nursing.


"The Air Force Medical Services supports the United States Air Force through the provision of full spectrum medical readiness to the 200,000 airmen currently engaged in operations around the world, and by delivering healthcare to 2.6 million patients though a system of 239 clinics at 76 installations worldwide" (Air Force Medical Services, 2020, para. 2). Nursing is a constantly evolving profession, spearheaded by passionate, visionary leaders, such as Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Barbara Goodwin. Little is known, outside of the Air Force Nurse Corps (AFNC), about her contributions toward resolving nurse shortages, advancing nurse education and collaborating with the United States Air Force (USAF) Reserve and Air National Guard to deploy the largest number of women in the United States' history.

The purpose of this research is to explore the impact and contributions of the Air Force Executive Nurse Leaders from 1988 to 1991, through the eyes of Brig Gen Goodwin, that have led to the advancement of nursing. The interview with Goodwin reveals the executive nurse leader role and influence on nurse retention, expansion of advanced practice nursing education, and collaboration between civilian and military nurse leaders to deploy the largest number of women within American history. The following Table is included to familiarize readers with military terminology used in this article.