A Career Serving Your Country
There is a nursing shortage across the nation and this shortage is just as critical in the military. Registered nurses and those who are considering a career in nursing may find that becoming a military nurse fulfils their career goals while serving their country. Many nurses choose to become military nurses in order to have their schooling paid for by the government.
Military Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
The military nurse performs the same duties as the civilian nurse. The nurse may administer medications, perform prescribed treatments, assess patient status, monitor patient progress and assist physicians in surgical procedures. There are nurse specialists in paediatrics, OR, OBGYN, orthopaedics and more.
The difference between a military nurse and her civilian counterpart is that the military nurse may be assigned anywhere in the country or overseas. The military has height, weight, and training requirements even for nurses. Therefore, a military nurse will be required to be healthy and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Military nurses can be deployed to overseas or combat zones.
Military nurses have career advancement opportunities much as the nurse in civilian life. An RN will begin as a commissioned officer and advanced schooling can be paid for by the service.
How to Become a Military Nurse
Many nurses enter the military through the ROTC. The individual who wants to become a military nurse should be accepted by an accredited nursing program and then speak to the local recruiter. The candidate should speak to the local ROTC recruiter to qualify for the scholarship opportunities offered by the military.
During the nursing school phase, the student nurse will be required to attend a summer program as well as training exercises. When the nurse graduates from school and receives their license, they can become a full-fledged military nurse.
Nurses who are already licensed may just speak to the recruiter in the branch of service of their choice. RNs usually enter the military as commissioned officers. The nurse will have to pass the medical and physical training phase necessary for all recruits.
Military Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
- Graduation from an accredited nursing school is required. Entry into the ROTC program may be necessary when student hopes to have the military pay for their training.
- Take the examination for RNs and receive a license.
- Apply for any advanced schooling such as a Master Degree.
- Nurses who are already licensed may choose to go directly to a recruitment office and sign up. There are physical fitness requirements for serving in the military.
- Specific certifications for military nurses do not exist, but the military offers pay and recognition incentives to any military nurse who receives any specialty certification through the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC). The ANCC offers certifications in pain management, psychiatric and mental health, adult health, cardiac vascular and medical-surgical among others. Certification is not necessary, but there are many benefits available to military nurses who obtain certification.
Military Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
The career outlook for nurses serving in the armed forces is bright. There is a nationwide shortage of licensed nurses and the military is experiencing the shortage as well as the private sectors. Jobs for nurses are predicted to grow at the rate of 21% through the year 2018.
Salaries for military nurses depend upon their rank and pay grade. The most experienced and ranking military nurses may receive up to $125,000 a year while the new nurse may receive $30,000 a year. Benefits such as basic subsidence allowance as well as housing allowances and health care tend to make this an attractive career choice for many nurses.