Modern nurses are independent, adept, and highly educated health care providers who can accurately diagnose, treat, and otherwise provide care for a wide range of medical issues. There are a few places where nurses remain highly revered medical professionals, and one of the most prestigious is the United States Armed Forces. Here, nurses are provided the utmost respect, with meaningful titles, worthy earnings, and unprecedented freedom to help them thrive. Read on to learn more about why the military is a nurse’s best career move.
Military nurses have the power of the United States at their backs, which means they are awarded with countless prizes and opportunities not usually granted to civilian health care workers. In addition to competitive salaries, which rival those of well-funded hospitals, most military nurses receive a flat signing bonus of around $30,000.
Additionally, military nurses receive excellent benefits, including low- or no-cost medical, dental, and life insurance. The military also assists nurses (and all service members) in setting up retirement accounts, so vets will be well-prepared for life after the military. While on active duty, nurses can also look forward to housing allowances as well as 30 days of paid time off — nearly three times more than the average nurse can earn.
The military wants to attract the best possible nurses and help those workers provide the best possible care, which means they wholeheartedly support nurses’ education. Many military nurses become admitted to the health professions loan repayment program, which provides nurses up to $120,000 to pay back any student debt accrued during their nursing education. Further, the military encourages continued education and specialization; the organization understands the value in having nurses with superior medical and technological skill.
Within the military, there are 10 distinct nursing careers from which interested nurses can choose:
- Army public health nurse. Like a general practitioner, the public health nurse monitors the health of the military community and maintains a high quality of living for everyone.
- Critical care nurse. Working with the most at-risk patients, these nurses must work quickly and efficiently to heal those who most need medical aid.
- Emergency room nurse. The ER nurse is one of the most valuable health care providers, wielding knowledge and skill to save patients from dire medical trauma.
- Family nurse practitioner. Like family NPs in civilian life, military family nurse practitioners provide general medical assistance to various members of the military community.
- Medical-surgical nurse. Completing surgery quickly and correctly is abundantly important in military contexts, and thus, these nurses are incredibly important.
- Nurse anesthetist. Administering anesthesia is one of the most dangerous steps in medical care, and these nurses ensure the process goes smoothly.
- OB/GYN nurse. As women become more prominent in the military sphere, they require specialized health care providers to address their needs.
- Perioperative nurse. Operations require specific planning and treatment, and perioperative nurses provide organization and care necessary to help the patient and doctors.
- Psychiatric/behavioral nurse. Psychiatric nurses can thwart the deluge of mental disorders plaguing America’s armed forces.
- Psychiatric nurse practitioner. Specialized to provide expert psychiatric care, psychiatric NPs work one-on-one with troubled military individuals to prevent and treat disorders.
Individuals shouldn’t strive to become military nurses simply because the salary and benefits are incredible. Instead, the best nurses are those who first and foremost desire to heal those in distress.
Additionally, successful nurses demonstrate advanced communications skills, physical and emotional stability, logical thinking, and other characteristics of leaders and care-givers. Individuals who demonstrate these qualities are perfect candidates for the nursing field.
Additionally, the military requires nurses to become certified before entering active duty. There are a wide range of degree programs available to prospective nurses, but the military only accepts nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree, which qualifies them to become commissioned officers. After graduation, nurses must pass their board exams, the NCLEX-RN, before taking an abridged officer candidate training course and becoming a member of the armed forces.