The creed of an Army Nurse is to nurture, protect and tend to those patients that depend upon her, to advocate for family members, and to care for individual soldiers, recognizing each as unique and indispensable to the war effort.
This particular creed, established from the first Army nurse under Florence Nightingale, still holds true. The Army nurse must be skilled enough to specialize in numerous classifications, including intensive care, emergency, labor/delivery, psychiatric care, community health and post-operative care, all of them potential career specializations.
In addition to hospital work, including triage, anesthesia and post-operative care, they must also work as advocates and liaisons for families of soldiers. They must be available and on call at all times. They are seldom home-bound, but are found in every continent and every situation where there is combat.
How to Train as an Army Nurse
You must be an unlimited RN (Registered Nurse) to be an Army nurse, and possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (a Master’s level is encouraged); therefore most candidates begin early. It is absolutely necessary to take and excel in classes in the sciences, whether in high school or as late as the first years of college (the sciences include mathematics, biology, chemistry and anatomy).
The potential Army nurse has an advantage over most nursing students, in that Army ROTC offers training classes at college level as early as high school, and their recruiters are usually easy to find on any high school or college campus. ROTC also offers scholarships and summer training programs, as well as accredited nursing programs that will include all the necessary elements for student success.
Of particular interest to students are the Summer Training programs that include hands-on clinical experience, which is absolutely necessary to RN certification (a minimum of 1,000 hours is required and 4,000 is ideal). These programs gives an inside track to students wishing to complete their hours in clinical work, and, unlike the outside world, the Army has placement services to put candidates in careers as soon as they achieve their RN licensure.
The Army also offers two to four-year scholarships of up to $20,000, plus books and other stipends, and the opportunity to train in a number of specialties in Summer Training.
What an Army Nurse Can Do
As soon as you have passed the Registered Nursing examination and received certification and your Bachelor’s degree, the Army then “enlists” you for a term of service (three years full-time in the Army, four years for scholarship winners).
The Army nurse can also train during her term of service for a number of specializations. These include:
-medical and surgical assistance and hospital work
-clinical care and intensive care unit work
-obstetrics and gynecological specialization
-anesthesia and anesthesiology
-psychiatric treatment and post-traumatic stress disorder treatments
-critical care on the field, including emergency trauma
-case management and upper level management opportunities.
All these, as potential specializations in the Army Nurse’s career, have separate training programs, and any of them is available to an Army Nurse with any level of experience beyond one year.
The Benefits of Army Nurse Training
The Army nurse is prepared to be competitive in nursing in the outside world, should she choose not to re-enlist. She is a thoroughly experienced RN, and requires little additional training to specialize in any of the careers listed above.
If she chooses to remain in the Army, her employment is continuous and guaranteed, and she has an unmatched job security; she can attain the status of head nurse in 3 to 12 years.
Outlook and Salary for the Army Nurse
The Army nurse will always have employment, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and the job will continue to grow as the Armed Forces expand. The average salary of an Army Nurse is designated as pay grade 0-1. This is $2745.60 a month, plus a housing allowing on the post of $840.90 (with family), and a meal allowance of $223.04. Additional salary is accrued from deployment to combat areas and overseas work.
The ads say “Be All That You Can Be,” and Army Nurse Training, and an Army Nurse’s career, certainly gives that opportunity.