Military Nursing Profile
Steve Berman | NursingLink
What do Florence Nightingale, Walt Whitman, and Mary Todd Lincoln have in common? They were all nurses during wartime, with Nightingale supporting the British during the Crimean War and the latter two serving during the Civil War. Today, military nurses work all over the world in every branch of our armed forces; gaining invaluable experience while serving their country.
Military nurses work in a variety of facilities across the world, including army and navy bases, medical centers, and even hospital ships. The work can vary greatly, from taking vital signs to consoling the wounded to assisting in disaster relief either in the United States or abroad. Specialties for military nurses include critical care, nurse anesthetist, psychiatric, and many more, with opportunities available to boost one’s skills through training and educational courses in anything from obstetrics to operating room nursing.
Nurses in the military come across such a wide variety of situations and circumstances that the experience gained prepares one for a variety of nursing jobs both in the service and after. However, the truth is one must be ready to be deployed in hostile environments such as war time duty, which at times can lead to dangerous working conditions.
To work as a nurse in the military, one generally earns a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an RN license from any U.S. state or territory. Also required: a clean criminal record and the ability to pass a background check.
Another way to break in is through a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, as long as you are attending an approved 4-year university that’s a part of the ROTC program and making good grades (at least a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA). Once you earn your bachelor’s in nursing, you are commissioned through whichever branch of the military your ROTC program is linked to.