Our modern understanding of the role of nursing has its roots in the care provided by Florence Nightingale and her nursing corps during the 19th Century Crimean War. Although nursing had long been a necessity during times of war, it took Nightingale’s treatise on the subject to being its transformation into a recognizable medical practice with agreed-upon standard practices. The Civil War in the United States saw more than five thousand nurses tending to the injured and ill on battlegrounds across the nation. In 1901, the Army’s official Nursing Corps was born, and nursing has had an officially recognized role in the American military ever since.
Nurses serving in the military can do so in a variety of ways that range from full-time active duty to working as a civilian contractor. The type of service chosen generally determines the length of service required – with active duty personnel committing to lengthier terms of service than reserves, and civilian contract nursing professionals often serving shorter terms than either. Military nurses serve almost everywhere American military forces are to be found – from the battlefields of the Middle East to remote bases around the world. Military nursing is also found within the service hospitals located in the United States as well.
Nursing in the military enables these health care professionals to exercise all of their nursing skills, while allowing them to obtain higher levels of autonomy in the practice of medicine than most of their civilian counterparts. The rigors of military service often place these nurses in extremely stressful situations, so most nurses obtain experience in emergency and other critical care situations prior to enlisting. In addition, the registered nurses who make up the military’s nursing corps have usually obtained a bachelor’s degree of nursing science prior to enlisting – which also enables them to begin their term of service as officers.
Many of the most generous benefits of a nursing career in the military have to do with the educational reimbursement that is available. For registered nurses who commit to obtaining a master’s degree, three-fourths of the tuition costs are covered by the government. There are a variety of reasons why the advanced degrees in nursing are so desired. The most important reason, of course, has to do with the fact that master’s degrees are required before being promoted to a major’s rank and beyond. That, coupled with the increased pension benefits enjoyed by higher ranking officers, serves as a strong incentive for military nurses to seek advanced degrees.
Nursing in the military continues to be an important part of maintaining a healthy fighting force, and the broad range of medical conditions which military nurses are forced to confront provide them with crisis and trauma experience that often serve them well in later civilian careers. Many military nurses find increased opportunities in administrative nursing and other leadership roles upon completing their military service. For anyone contemplating a fast-paced and exciting career in nursing, serving as a military nurse offers experience and opportunity that few other nursing career paths can match.
Article Source: Karen_P_Williams