The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Save The World One Life At A Time As A Military Nurse
I am not enlisted nor am I a part of the United States military or advocating that you do or do not join. The choice is completely up to you on what you wish to do with your life.
While the United States military certainly needs warrior, along with an endless list of other specialties, the one occupation it cannot survive without is military nurses. Within any military branch, whether it is the army, the marines, the navy, or the air force, it is expected there will be injuries. Those injuries may be very minor or more severe, but in combat or in peace-time, military nurses are always needed.
From RN to BSN to more specialized nurses, there is a great demand for the services of a nurse. Without nurses, and during combat time, 90% of combatants who make it to a military hospital survive, though there is also a 90% casualty rate for those that do not make it to a military hospital during combat. When it comes to soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines, nurses are the leaders. Annual medical nurse examinations are on leadership in the military, not clinical work.
As far as the United States military history of nurses, they have been present since the founding of the U.S. military in 1901, with the first nurses appearing in the Army, 1908 in the Navy, and Air Force nurses in 1948. There were 563 military nurses at the start of World War I and 22,000 by the end of World War II. Nurse casualties in wartime are generally low, with the highest casualty rate occurring during World War I because of the Spanish flu, but some nurses are required to be on the battlefront and there may more risk involved.
The services of a military nurse extend to the reserve, active, and retired members of the armed forces. Military nurses do face some of the worst scenarios, as they must deal with wounded and dying servicemen, and high-stress factors and PTSD are not uncommon. Military nurse salary depends on rank and there is usually a sign-on bonus of up to $30,000, depending on specialty, with military paying for additional nursing school. As of 2016, a military nurse can generally make anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 with benefits.
This infographic goes focuses on the job and tasks-at-hand of a military nurse.
Infographic submitted by Jayne Abner, article by Matthew Gates.
Click to open / Right-click for save options
What’s Inside a Military Nurse’s Toolkit?
Required formal education:
Air Force: RN/BSN
Sidenote: only the Army currently employs active duty LPN’s, though they serve as soldiers as well.
New Nurses: begin at large medical complexes called MEDCENs for an expansive learning experience called the CNTP (Clinical Nurse Transition Program)
Experienced nurses: sent to smaller high-need community-based hospitals called MEDDACs.
Army, Air Force, and Navy Medical Training is now all located under one command: the Medical Education and Training Campus
1.) A Basic Medical Training Course Similar to a Civilian EMT
2.) Tactical Combat Casualty Training
[3 stages of TCCT]
1.)Care Under Fire focuses on quick assessment and the stopping of major bleeding.
2.)Tactical Field Care involves making triage and evacuation decisions. Can often utilize advanced airway treatment as well as IVs.
3.)Tactical Evaluation Care involves treatment during evacuation to higher levels of care, often with greater resources away from the front.
90% of combat deaths occur before casualties reach military hospitals.
More than 90% of those who make it to military hospitals survive.
Military nurses are more than nurses, they’re also
Annual medical nurse examinations are on leadership in the military, not clinical work
Military Nurses care for:
Members of the armed forces
Military nursing salary depends on rank:
With every year of civilian nursing counting as 6 months prior military duty
[average monthly salary by rank 2015]
With some commissioned nurses receiving large signing bonuses:
Nurse Accession Officer Bonus: $30,0000
Nurse Anesthetists Officer Bonus: $50,000
Pre-History: For as long as men have fought each other, others have tended to the wounded. Though there was likely no distinction between civilian and military medical practitioners for some time.
Monastic orders of monks and nuns often accompanied soldiers to the holy land, providing care for the wounded, sick, and destitute.
1850: Florence Nightingale– known as the mother of modern nursing– was a nurse in the Crimean War and helped reduce the death rate in British military hospitals by 2/3rds.
1859: Jean Henry Dunant helps to form the International Red Cross as well as the Geneva Convention, eventually winning the first Nobel Peace Prize.
1898: The Daughters of the American Revolution recruit nurses and doctors for the Spanish American War.
Founding of Modern Military Nursing Institutions:
Army Nurse Corps: 1901
Navy Nurse Corps: 1908
Air Force Nurse Corps: 1949
[number of military nurses]
Start of World War I: 563
End of World War II: 22,000
Spanish American War: 13
All but two of the nurse casualties in the Spanish American War were the result of the harsh conditions of war and Typhoid.
World War I: 400+
Though some nurses did see action closer to the front, nearly all American nursing deaths in WWI occurred due to the Spanish Flu.
World War II: 201
The first American war to regularly see female nurses near the front line. 16 died as the direct result of enemy action.
Korean War: 17
Most military nursing deaths in Korea occurred due to plane crashes.
Vietnam War: 8
Most nurses died in helicopter crashes.
Sidenote: New medivac capabilities resulted in less than 2% of the injured dying as a result to their wounds.
Military nurses face the worst of hardships in terms of observing other cultures in chaos, wounded and dead servicemen, high stress work, and actual physical threats from enemy combatants. Nursing is critical to modern war. And requires a unique bravery that only some can provide. We salute military nurses!