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Becoming a Military Nurse

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Military Nurse

Military nurses are registered nurses who provide medical care to soldiers and their families, as well as to civilian partners in the field, in a military clinic or hospital.

Surely, like any other registered nurses, they take care of patients – provide nursing interventions and attend to medical emergencies. However, these nurses are trained to conduct different medical procedures such as on performing wound sutures.

Military nurses are engaged on emergency and life-threatening situations. Notably, they function in a highly stressful environment dealing with various medical cases.

On the other hand, a military nurse should be able to competently multitask and work under pressure. Further, they should have endurance and strong stamina, resilient and with good communication and decision-making skills.


Here’s a YouTube video of a Military Nurse, Tess De Munk:

and another by the United States Air Force:


ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Military nurses bear complex roles. To enumerate, here’s a handful of their responsibilities:

  • Provide treatment of wounded soldiers and other military personnel
  • Set up military triage in war zones, as needed
  • Provide emotional support to soldiers and families
  • Treat civilians, as needed
  • Provide treatment to service members’ families and dependents
  • Administer vaccines to children
  • Provide assistance in any humanitarian relief efforts, as needed
  • Assist victims of natural disasters
  • Provide medications
  • Function in pre-operative settings, as appropriate

REQUIREMENTS: EDUCATION, LICENSE, CERTIFICATION

Military nurses, like all of the RN positions, are obliged to have: first, a Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree and; second, should pass the National Council for Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses in order to practice in their country/state of jurisdiction.

As soon as one obtained a license as an RN,one can then practice as a civilian to gain experience prior to applying as a military nursing officer.

Thereafter, one may apply as a military nursing officer to the U.S. Army, Navy or Air Force. The RN should take the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) which is a 10-week leadership and skills training.

The entry-level for a nursing officer is as a second lieutenant and can  work the ranks up through service (clinical, operational, staff, executive or leadership)


CAREER OUTLOOK AND SALARY

The career outlook for military nurses is excellent as the Army, Navy and Air Force is continuously recruiting nursing officers for military service.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for registered nurses will increase to 15% up to year 2026. In fact, these numbers depicts a much higher representation as compared to other professionals.

Moreover, a military nurse’s salary depends on their rank. According to the website PayScale.com, one may earn a minimum of $58,000 up to $103,339 annual salary.

Consequently, experience, education and training will result to a higher or lower salary. By all means, one may consider boosting their career through certifications and/or additional education.


WORK ENVIRONMENT

The U.S. Military Nurses are required to serve the country for at least 3 years. In due time, they will then be stationed on a different region or country.

Depending on where they function, whether with the army, navy, airforce, or coast guard, they may be required to travel where emergency situations arise.

Most of the military nurses are based at a military hospital or clinic. Moreover, like any other registered nurses, they also work on rotating shifts, regardless if it is on a weekend or a holiday.

Indeed, nurses, no matter where they are stationed, should be adaptive and resilient on different working conditions.


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