Careers in Military Nursing
February 16, 2017
Obtaining an RN licensure opens up a world of healthcare career options. Registered nurses can work in a variety of specialties in physician’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, home health care services, and more.
With an RN, nurses have the opportunity to travel or continue their education to become a Nurse Practitioner or a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Another option for those with degrees in nursing is becoming a military nurse. If you have an interest in serving your country by caring for military personnel, a career in military nursing may be right for you. Here are some frequently asked questions about military nursing.
What is a military nurse?
Military nurses are healthcare professionals who provide medical care to military personnel. These nurses are like traditional nurses in that they care for patients by administering medications and treating wounds; however, there are many aspects of military nursing that make it different.
For instance, instead of taking care of civilians in a traditional hospital settings, military nurses treat current or past members of the military in non-traditional settings that can sometimes be dangerous. Another unique factor of military nursing is training. In addition to training in basic nursing skills, military nurses are educated on how to work with military personnel in a military environment.
They treat soldiers, set up triage in war zones, and help patients all over the world.
Where do military nurses work?
Military nurses can work in all over the world in war zones, military bases, or ships at sea. The work environments are often fast-paced and high-stress and require the ability to stay calm under pressure.
During wartime, it is not uncommon for a military nurse to be deployed and work alongside troops in war zones. During peacetime, they care for current or past military personnel and their families.
Just like civilian nurses, military nurses can specialize in a variety of fields such as pediatrics, psychiatry, trauma, midwifery, critical care, and neonatal nursing.
How do you become a military nurse?
A college degree in nursing is required to become a military nurse. After obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree, one must obtain an RN licensure by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NLCEX).
After that, there are two paths one can take to become a military nurse: through direct commission or ROTC commission.
To become a military nurse through direct commission, one must already be a registered nurse with RN licensure. Nurses can then apply for positions in the Army, Navy, or Air Force, and become sworn in as an officer.
In the Reserves Officer Training Program (ROTC), the military assists students through their education with college tuition and a small stipend during undergraduate studies. In exchange for this assistance, college students take military history and leadership courses as well as attend ROTC summer camps.
There are opportunities for military nurses to advance their careers as well. After obtaining a master’s degree, nurses can become Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anesthetists, and Clinical Nurse Specialists and receive higher pay and better benefits.
What are the benefits to becoming a military nurse?
With their professional schooling, military nurses enter the military as officers. As a military nurse, one can choose to be on active duty (full-time) or in a reserve or guard category (part-time). Nurses who choose this route have different periods of time where they are placed on active and inactive duty.
Military nurses qualify for tuition assistance, reimbursement, or student loan repayment. They are compensated based on grade and rank, with the average United States Army nurse making around $73,643. Military nurses receive competitive bonuses, and could be eligible for a sign-on bonus of as much as $30,000.
They also enjoy low-cost or no-cost medical, dental, and life insurance, as well as housing allowances and 30 days of paid vacation annually. Military nurses can retire after 20 years of service and receive a pension.
In addition, military nurses have the ability to travel and see the world.
Is a career in military nursing right for you?
Military nursing is different from traditional nursing in many ways. They often work in high-pressure and precarious environments and are specially trained in how to care for military personnel. However, there are many benefits to choosing this career path and serving your country by providing medical care to some of the most honorable men and women in the United States.