Generally speaking, a typical day for an Army nurse is similar to that of a registered nurse working in a civilian health care organization. An Army nurse has a routine schedule that includes morning meetings, patient appointments, administrative tasks and collaboration with other health care professionals. Read below to learn about the available army nurse jobs and how to become an Army nurse.
Nurse Military Occupational Specializations
The typical day for an Army nurse depends on their Military Occupational Specializations, or MOS. For example, Army Public Health Nurses are tasked with caring for all military and civilian personnel within the local military community. They participate in community assessments, promote public health programs and support community outreach activities. An Army Nurse Anesthetist performs the same function as a pre-op anesthetist in the civilian world. An Army Family Nurse Practitioner typically helps both children and adults during regular business hours through conducting patient care, preventing disease and collaborating with other health care professionals. However, they also assist with overseas emergency missions. Other MOS include Mental Health Nurse, and Medical-Surgical Nurse.
A Typical Path to Becoming an Army Nurse
Many army nurses start their career through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). An ROTC nursing student program incorporates standard college electives, health care courses, military science and a summer clinical program. Army ROTC programs also emphasize discipline and leadership skills, which are invaluable to every successful nurse. After graduating from the ROTC program and college, students are commissioned as an officer of the Army Nurse Corps. The best benefit of this path is that Army ROTC nurse graduates have exclusive training and experience that cannot be gained elsewhere. The Army Nurse Corps prides itself on being a meritocracy. That is, promotions are based on performance and competency.
Standard Specialty Courses
Most people associate being an army nurse with intensive or emergency care services. The Army does in fact offer both Clinical Care Nursing and Preoperative Nursing specializations. The Clinical Care Nursing program is 16 weeks long and prepares the nurse to excel in an intensive care setting. The program will include hands-on learning, supervision skills and standard clinical skills. On the other hand, Preoperative Nursing is a 16-week program that prepares nurses to serve as a first level staff nurse in an operating room. Therefore, students will be trained how to assist in special surgeries and properly prepare and sterilize supplies and equipment. In the end, the student will be able to function as a operating room nurse in any critical care setting.
There are also other specializations available. For example, the 22-week Mental Health Nursing program prepares the student with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver mental health care treatment. In fact, there is even an Obstetrical and Gynecological Nursing option. Keep in mind that many military bases have spouses and newborns that need proper medical care. This 16-week program prepares students to provide both inpatient and outpatient care to women who are pregnant or have gynecological problems.
What are the Differences between Military and Civilian Nursing?
The biggest difference between military and civilian nursing is that civilian nurses must obtain and maintain state certification. However, military nurses do not have this certification and civilian accreditation bodies do not accept military certification in lieu of state certification. Finally, military ranks influence how health care decisions are made in a military health care facility. That is, army nurses may be outranked by individuals with less medical training and knowledge. Therefore, military health care professionals defer by both medical training and military rank.
In the end, being an army nurse provides superior training and experience. These skills can also be transferred to the civilian world. A typical day for an army nurse depends on their specific MOS and location.
Please also see: Can I get a Nursing Degree While Enlisted in the Military?