Guiding Military Nurses - Nursing Education (2023)

Guiding Military Nurses - Nursing Education (1)

Sue Montgomery, RN, BSN, MA

Rated byNursing teaching staff

Who is a Military Nurse?

Wmilitary nurseworks as a health care worker in the United States Armed Forces. IN"Military Nursing: An Introduction for New Recruitsthe authors state that the military "educates and maintains nursing personnel who are prepared to provide care, lead teams and deploy at any time", also noting that there are different expectations for military nurses than for civilian nurses, such as military nursestrained nurses(RN) and officers.

In addition, military nurses "are often deployed in volatile global environments and lead interprofessional teams of healthcare providers, so they must be able to transition quickly and competently into either role."

(Video) How to Become a Military Nurse

Among the branches of the United States military, the Air Force, Army, and Navy have their own nursing corps. Marines get their health care from the Navy and Coast Guard nurses are civilians.

What Does a Military Nurse Do?

A military nurse must be a trained nurseBachelor of Nursing(BSN). For example, some military nurses are registered Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs).nurse,A certified anesthetist(Black andCertified Nurse Midwives(CNM).

The role and qualifications of a military nurse determine the scope of practice allowed and the types of duties a military nurse can perform. The duties of a military nurse are also influenced by the environment in which the care is provided. The following descriptions of the three military branches that have a nurse corps provide a snapshot of some of the roles and responsibilities of military nurses.

Military nurses in the United States Air Force

OfAir powersstates that "Nurses are an integral part of the first-class health care we provide to our airmen and their families, and in the Air Force, they are considered essential members of the care team. Our nurses are respected Air Force officers and provide them with personalized care in modern medical facilities or airmedical evacuation units around the world.”

The Air Force lists some of the following benefits of being an Army Nurse in the Air Force:

  • “Becoming a nurse in the United States Air Force not only allows you to focus on exceptional patient care, but also gives you the tools you need to advance your career and further your training and development, and become a respected leader in your field to become."
  • “As an Air Force nurse, your job will still be to treat patients and provide them with the best possible care, but your experience will be uniquely different from working in a doctor's office or hospital in the civilian world. Not only can you use your nursing skills, but as an Air Force officer, you will receive benefits that will allow you to take your nursing career as far as you want.”
  • “Air Force nurses are able to consistently provide excellent care to their patients by staying abreast of the latest medical innovations and technologies. To help you grow as a professional and advance as a leader, we offer a wide range of funded training and career opportunities.”

The Air Force says it has positions "for virtually every nursing specialty," includingcritical careemergency/injury,family nurse(FNP), mental health and more.

Military Nurses in the United States Army

OfMilitary Nursing Corpsit is part of the Military Medical Faculty (AMEDD). It represents “more than 11,000 military personnel who are committed to providing high quality, technologically advanced healthcare to military personnel, their families and military retirees around the world. They support humanitarian missions and respond to natural disasters, an experience unlike any other as a civilian nurse.

(Video) How To Become a Military Nurse | Life as a Critical Care Nurse

Military nurses choose one of five specialties:

  • Critical care
  • Mental health
  • Perioperative
  • Shows trauma
  • Gynaecology/Obstetrics

Military nurses in the United States Navy

OfMarine Nursing Corpsoffers a snapshot of what it's like to be a nurse in the Navy: “The greatest reward for almost any nurse is the joy of serving others. But when you work in the Naval Nurse Corps to improve the lives of others, you can greatly improve your own, both professionally and personally. As a naval nurse, you serve your country by helping not only the soldiers who defend it, but also their families and those in need around the world. Excellent scholarship opportunities mean you may be able to graduate from a nursing school debt-free, and specialized training can give you a competitive edge in your field.

Opportunities for Navy Nurse Corps officers in various specialties include:

  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Primary care nurse
  • Medical and surgical nurses
  • Perioperative nurses
  • Intensive care nurses
  • Mental health nurses and nurses
  • Military specializations


“As a Nursing Corps officer, you provide high-quality nursing care where it is needed, from naval medical facilities and ships to humanitarian relief missions around the world. You work closely with other healthcare providers in performing professional tasks such as:

  • Provide general nursing care to sailors, marines, other military personnel and their families in the best military nursing facilities on land, sea and in the field
  • Work with physicians, surgeons, cardiologists, and other specialists to create and manage treatment plans
  • Train and instruct hospital staff on how to ensure quality patient care
  • Apply leading medical advances in world-class hospitals
  • Take advantage of the world's most advanced technologies, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which can lead to less paperwork and more meaningful patient care
  • Aid in global humanitarian efforts such as vaccine distribution or emergency aid for victims of natural disasters.”

In addition, the Navy says that Nurse Corps officers "serve in more than 250 naval and medical facilities around the world, from Hawaii to Japan, from Germany to Guam, and from Washington DC to Washington State. As a Navy Nurse, you can work at one of the accredited Naval National Medical Centers in Bethesda, MD, Portsmouth, VA, or San Diego, CA. You can also provide medical assistance aboard one of two specialty hospital ships, USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. Additional capacities are available locally available with surface ships, aircraft squadrons and even a naval fleet."

How much does a military nurse earn per year?

According tosalary dataaccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for registered nurses was $77,600 in May 2021 – with half of nurses earning more than that amount and half less. Nurses' salaries in the bottom 10 percent were less than $59,450. Nurse salaries in the top 10 percent exceeded $120,250.

However, the salary of a military nurse is determined differently. This is reported by the US Department of Defense (DOD)Military compensationsiteBase pay is "the basic component of military pay. All members receive it, and it is usually the largest portion of a member's salary. A member's rank (usually the same as rank) and years of service determine how much base pay you receive."

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Nurses enter the military as civil servants - therefore a bachelor's degree is required. According to the monthly base salary table for January 2023, a 0-1 civil servant with less than two years of service earns $3,637.20 per month. As military nurses rise in rank and add more years of service, wages rise.

In addition to base pay, soldiers receive additional pay-related benefits, including:

  • Special one the stimulation payment (S&I).- which can be used "to improve recruitment and retention by increasing salaries in key job specializations or critical skill areas. These salaries are also used to compensate for strenuous or dangerous duties or circumstances. In addition, S&I payments can be used to provide services to members with incentives to develop certain skills important for national security purposes." Of the more than 60 S&I payments allowed by law, the four most common are: Hardship Duty Pay (HDP), Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay (HFP/IDP), Assignment Incentive Pay (AIP), and Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay (HDIP) .
  • Accessories- referred to as "the second most important element of military pay". These funds are provided for 'specific needs such as food or housing'. Benefits are granted when the government fails to meet a specific need. … The most common benefits are Basic Living Allowance (BAS) and Basic Housing Allowance (BAH). The majority of staff receive these allowances, and in many cases these allowances represent a significant portion of a member's total salary.”
  • Tax exemptions“An important but often overlooked and overlooked aspect of military pay is certain built-in tax credits. Most add-ons are tax-free. In addition, certain difficult circumstances ensure that your normal taxable wages become tax-free.”

How do you become a military nurse?

The path to becoming a military nurse depends on the credentials required. There are military nursestrained nursesand must be enrolled in an accredited civilian nursing program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Military nurses must also be licensed by passing the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX-RN) and meeting any additional requirements of the State Board of Nursing. The National Board of State Boards of Nurses (NCSBN) provides resources to determinestate nursing license requirements.

Military nurses they areadvanced nursesare licensed registered nurses who have earned at least a master's degree in their specialty role, passed a national certification exam, and are licensed by APRN in their state.

According to the authors of "Military Nursing: A Primer for New Recruits," all three nurse corps have different age, physical, education, experience, and nationality requirements -- and in addition to BSN credentials, "nurses who join the nurse corps in direct commission one of the three branches” must have at least one year of experience as an RN.

The authors also note that there are several scholarships and recruiting programs available, such as the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships. Referring to award-winning officers from the Army's three nurse corps, they say that "about 500 nurses who join each year are pre-licensed and another 300 post-licensure RNs who join the Army after serving as civilians. Most pre-licensed recruits come from ROTC programs offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States.”


What Are the Benefits and Challenges of Being a Military Nurse?

The authors of "Military Nursing: A Primer for New Recruits" also describe the various benefits and challenges of being a military nurse.

Benefits include:

  • "to be hired as an officer"
  • "Exercises in Collaborative Environments"
  • "Enhance leadership skills through hands-on and professional development opportunities"
  • "Meet the latest technology"
  • "Travel in the US and/or abroad"
  • "Generous pay and benefits"

Challenges include:

  • "The prospect of being deployed, perhaps in dire circumstances, and also being separated from family and friends."
  • "Ability to work long hours without overtime pay."
  • "Two-Year Physical Fitness Tests".
  • "The uncertainty of not knowing where the next job will be until you have 'orders in your hands'."
  • "Risk your life in the service of your country."

I "Navy Nurse Corps: Needed Now More Than EverU.S. Navy Vice Admiral Cynthia Kuehner describes the impact military nurses have.

“As part of the One Navy Medicine team, Navy nurses are an essential part of advanced and complex medical weapon systems. As U.S. adversaries' tactical weapons, cyber threats, war strategy, and stimulation capabilities evolved, matured, and became more complex, so did the complexity of lifesaving, advanced medical technology, specialized training, and advanced medical logistics, made possible by dedicated medical professionals who, together deploy with the warrior and support him,” Kuehner writes.

It also describes Navy nursing: "Navy nurses now commanded hospitals and operations, led convoys in war zones, served as the only medical resources in remote and isolated locations, saved lives around the world, returned the wounded to battle or to higher levels of care, cultivated international partnerships, served as diplomatic intermediaries, collaborated with government and non-governmental agencies, projected the power of naval medicine into every area of ​​operations, against all threats, prevented and treated injuries, promoted health, improved human achievements, protected and enhanced quality and resilience Marine and performed with care and compassion for the last 113 years Modern naval nurses are ready to talk and want to do more.

Additional Resources to Become a Military Nurse

To learn more about becoming a military nurse, these additional resources may help:

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