Military nursing is a unique profession that involves caring for active-duty servicemembers and even veterans. While their duties do not differ much than that of normal nurses working in hospitals and care centers, military nurses travel alongside active-duty servicemembers to help care for the individuals that serve the county. Up until 1901 in the United States, military nurses were nothing more than civilian nurses who usually volunteered their time. However, it all changed when the United States Army Nurse Corps was established in 1901. Today, military nurses hold military rank and can be part of any of the Nurse Corps of any major military branch, including the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
What is a Military Nurse?
Military nurses care for patients within the military and from around the world. As with all nursing careers, there are a number of disadvantages and advantages to working as a military nurse. Military nursing can be extremely stressful and often heartbreaking. It can also be dangerous, since it’s not uncommon for military nurses to be deployed to foreign war zones with troops.
Despite the drawbacks of the career, there are also a number of benefits. For instance, military nurses have the chance to travel and see the world, have access to first class education and are often well compensated for their time, and have excellent benefits such as free healthcare. One of the biggest rewards of working as a military nurse is the experience gained and the respect earned from colleagues and loved ones.
What Can You Expect as a Military Nurse?
Military nurses often follow their assignments all over the globe. As a military nurse you can look forward to a fast-paced, multifaceted, patient-facing, and invigorating career in patient care.
Similar to other nurses, military nurses administer medication, treat the sick, and care for the wounded. However, military nurses are not only educated in basic nursing skills, they’re also trained on how to work with military patients and in military environments. It is not uncommon for nurses to work alongside military personnel in war zones. Caring for deployed members of the military during wartime is one of the most dangerous and difficult aspects of military nursing. During deployment military nurses treat severe life-threatening injuries, such as gunshot wounds or lost limbs. Because of the severity of the injuries and volatile work environment, military nurses must be able to keep a cool head under pressure.
Military nurses also care for active-duty servicemembers and veterans along with their families. They may help soldiers, wounded in the line of duty, recover from their injuries. Military nurses may also treat patients suffering from a vast variety of medical problems, ranging from the common cold to a sprained ankle to cancer.
The military needs nurses trained in all specialties, so you can work in whichever specialty you choose: pediatrics, psychiatric, emergency trauma, critical care, neonatal, midwifery and more.
Where do Military Nurses Work?
- Military bases
- Military hospitals and clinics
- Overseas war zones
- Ships at sea
How do I Become a Military Nurse?
- Speak with a military recruiter. You may find a tuition reimbursement or scholarship. Enlist to work as a military nurse for a certain number of years after completing the program.
- Complete your BSN with Nightingale College
- Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX – RN).
- Undergo officer training through the branch of military you wish to serve in. This training educates you on leadership skills and military life. During the training, you will also be required to complete and excel in physical exercises.
- Start working as a military nurse.
To learn more about the steps to becoming a military nurse, visit Discover Nursing, sponsored by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation.
Military Nurse Organizations
Navy Nurse Corps Association (NNCA)
U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
Army Nurse Corps
Amputee Coalition of America
Army Nurse Corps Association (ANCA) –
US Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S)
Nightingale College Serving the Military
Nightingale College is proud to be part of the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative by providing educational opportunities to servicemembers and their families. The College accepts Post-9/11 GI Bill as well as offers the Joining Forces Scholarship to active-duty servicemembers and veterans. To learn more about the opportunities for service members and their families to enroll in the College, speak with an Admissions Advisor or with a member of the Learner Advising and Life Resources Department at (801) 689-2160.