Are you passionate about helping others as well as serving your country? Becoming an army nurse may be the right fit for you and your dreams.
A registered nurse (RN) provides daily patient care that encompasses medical procedures and administration, hygiene, mobility, health education, and mental and emotional care. They work in collaboration with doctors and other primary care providers to help treat, preserve and promote the health of their patients. Registered nurses are distinguished from other types of nurses, such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs), by the level of education and training they receive, autonomy, and duties they are allowed to perform. Registered nurses are allowed to evaluate and treat injuries, analyze diagnostic tests and administer medications that physicians order for patients.
Army nurses are registered nurses who are members of the U.S. Army health care team. They use their skills and knowledge to provide a full range of patient care. This gives registered nurses the chance to help others while serving their country. There are a variety of benefits to becoming an Army nurse; however, it is not for everyone. The job of an Army nurse is physically demanding, requires a lot of traveling, and the conditions they face can be quite stressful and hazardous.
How to Become an Army Nurse
There are three educational paths available to those who wish to become registered nurses. They can earn a diploma in nursing, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing. There are also fast-track programs for registered nurses who have an associate’s degree in order to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing. Those who graduated from non-nursing degrees and wish to enter the nursing field can earn a second bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in nursing. All RNs must complete their education at state board-approved degree programs before they can be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or the NCLEX-RN.
All military registered nurses are commissioned officers; therefore, those who have earned an associate’s degree in nursing are disqualified. In order to be able to apply for a direct commission, civilians must earn a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in nursing, and obtain their RN license in their state. Alternately, aspiring Army nurses may join the Army ROTC in college which will allow them to receive benefits as they complete their degree and seek to obtain their unrestricted RN license.
Army nurses are usually required to have at least one year of supervised experience or take a course in public health nursing.
In addition to the educational requirements, all Army nurses are also expected to complete a basic officer leaders course which lasts from 10 to 14 weeks. This course teaches basic Army skills and the Army health care system, among other job requirements. Civilians who choose to undergo the Army ROTC program are required to attend a nurse summer training program every summer. Here, they will work and receive further training in an Army hospital setting.
Other Qualifications for Army Nurses
All Army nurses must be U.S. citizens, between 21 and 42 years of age. Army nurses are expected to meet the same physical requirements as all members of the Army, including weight and height standards. They must submit to and pass a physical examination, and undergo physical fitness tests every six months, which include running 2 miles, push-ups and sit-ups. The physical requirements vary depending on the Army nurse’s age.
Important Qualities for an Army Nurse
Critical Thinking – Army nurses must be able to make accurate decisions in every circumstance.
Emotional Stability – Performing well under stress is expected of an Army nurse at all times.
Focus – Army nurses must be able to work with tremendous concentration no matter the environment or medical emergency.
Army Nurse Licenses, Certifications and Registrations
Army nurses must hold valid and unrestricted registered nursing license which is granted to those who pass the NCLEX-RN. There may be other requirements in order to obtain the RN license, depending on the individual’s state of residence. It is best to check the state board to verify the license requirements.