Quick Facts :
Military Nurse


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses, May 2017

info-icon ADN or BSN
info-icon $73,550 Annual Wage
info-icon 15% Job Growth
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What Is a Military Nurse?

The brave souls in our military are some of our nation’s most honorable men and women. Not do they fight for their own lives every day, but they also fight for our lives and freedom, as well as the lives and freedom of our children and grandchildren. Of course, it goes without saying that it’s not uncommon that members of the military suffer from medical problems, ranging from serious injuries to emotional problems.

A Brief History of Nursing in the Military

In the early days of the United States military, nurses were civilians who volunteered their services but were not enlisted officers. However, that changed in 1901, when the United States Army Nurse Corps was established. 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.

In some ways, a military nursing career is very similar to a traditional nursing career. The main goal of all nurses is to care for their patients and help them get better, for instance. However, in many ways, a military nursing career is very different than a traditional nursing career. For instance, instead of caring for civilian patients in comfortable hospital settings, military nurses care for current or past members of the military, sometimes in very dangerous settings.

As with all nursing careers, there are a number of disadvantages and advantages to working as a military nurse. First of all, a military nursing career can be very stressful and sometimes heartbreaking. It can also be somewhat 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, as a military nurse, you will have the chance to travel and see the world. You will also have access to a first class education and be well compensated for your time. Also, excellent benefits, such as free healthcare, often go hand in hand with a military career. However, one of the biggest rewards of working as a military nurse is the experience your gain and the respect you earn from colleagues and loved ones.

What Does a Military Nurse Do?

Military nurses have a number of the same responsibilities as traditional nurses. However, they are not only educated in basic nursing skills, but they’re also trained on how to work with military patients and how to work in a military environment.

It’s not uncommon for military nurses to work right alongside military personnel in war zones. One of the most dangerous and difficult aspects of a military nursing career is caring for deployed members of the military during wartime. This often includes treating severe life-threatening injuries, such as gunshot wounds or lost limbs. Because of the severity of the injuries that they may encounter as well as the volatile work environment, military nurses must be able to keep a cool head under pressure. Life saving skills are also essential skills to have if you’re looking to pursue a military nursing career.

Military nurses also care for current and past members of the military and their families during peace-time as well. For instance, they may help soldiers that were wounded in the line of duty recover from their injuries. They may also treat patients suffering from common medical problems, ranging from the common cold to a sprained ankle to cancer.

Serving in the military is an extremely stressful job, to say the least. Because of this, military nurses must not only care for the physical needs of their patients, but also the emotional and mental well-being.

Where Do Military Nurses Work?

Military nurses might work either at home or in foreign countries. The most common settings for military nurses include military bases, military hospitals, and clinics.

How Do I Become a Military Nurse?

In order to become a military nurse, you will need to obtain a nursing degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NLCEX). However, one of the biggest advantages of becoming a military nurse is the fact that the majority of your education and licensure expenses are covered or reimbursed by the government.

You will also need to undergo officer training through the branch of the military that 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 as well.

Additional Resources for Military Nurses