Military nurses may be a part of the U.S. Army, Navy, or Air Force. Medical care for Marines and members of the Coast Guard are handled by the Navy; as such, these branches do not have their own designated medical personnel. Military nurses can work in a wide variety of fields–any field that a civilian nurse may work in–in just about any part of the world. In addition, the military has some unique jobs, like providing airborne medical support to soldiers wounded in combat zones.
Education for Military Nurses
Like any nurse, a military nurse needs a college degree. Military nurses are officers and commissioned as a second lieutenant. They can work their way up the ranks through their service. There are two ways to join: direct commission or ROTC commission. To complete a direct commission, you must graduate from a school of nursing that is accredited, become licensed to practice, and then apply to join the military. ROTC commissions involve making a commitment to serve during college. You will receive financial help with your education, take special ROTC classes, and upon graduation you are automatically commissioned.
What does a military nurse do?
Military nurses, like any nurses, can specialize in a variety of fields, like trauma or pediatrics. They can also serve in many different fields, some traditional and some unique to the military. For example, a military nurse could work in an on-base clinic and provide care to the families of individuals in the military, or they could work in combat and provide medical attention to soldiers wounded in action. Still others work in education and administration. Thus, being a military nurse is just like being a civilian nurse; what exactly you do will depend on which specialization you choose to pursue. There are, of course, some opportunities that only military nurses can experience, such as providing nursing care on military ships or on military medical aircraft.
Salaries for military nurses are based on several factors and can vary widely. Military nurse compensation can be divided into three categories: base pay, basic allowance for housing, and basic allowance for subsistence. As an initial point, base pay depends on the nurse’s individual rank. Additional pay may be awarded for in-demand specialties. Housing and subsistence compensation varies based on where the military nurse is stationed. The higher the cost of living, the more the nurse will make. Thus, a nurse stationed in the relatively expensive state of Hawaii will receive a higher housing allowance than a nurse in comparatively inexpensive Alabama.
The job outlook for military nurses is excellent. The military is almost continuously recruiting nurses, particularly since the U.S.’s involvement in the middle east and attendant solider injuries that have resulted.
Similar Nursing Options
There are really no jobs comparable to military nurse. Although each individual specialty will perform services similar to what a civilian nurse does, only military nurses can experience providing health care to wounded soldiers, sailors aboard military vessels, and wounded veterans who have returned home from battle. Military nursing also provides the opportunity to see the world through being stationed at different locations; not many nursing jobs include international travel as a perk.