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Military Nurse: Education and Career Information

If you are interested in becoming a nurse and still desire the flexibility of traveling around the world, you may want to consider a career as a military nurse. This can be a very lucrative position, based on the location worked and what is going on at the time. These nurses have all the standard qualification as that of a regular RN, but it is more specialized and tailored for that particular branch of service.

What does a military nurse do?

A military nurse is part of the armed forces and provides medical care for military members, veterans and civilians all over the world. They can work in a number of fields and specialties in general areas or areas specific to military based situations. They work on the front lines on soldiers during war, and some work in administration or education. These nurses also work on medical aircraft or military ships. A military nurse can work overseas or in the United States and provides pediatric and maternity care when needed. They also provide pre- and postoperative care for military members and civilians. This position has a number of benefits, as military personnel receive free healthcare, can get an education and get paid for your service. For the most part, you will find military nurses in military hospital and clinic settings. The interesting part of being a military nurse is that military nurses are the only healthcare professionals beyond a physician who are able to work on military members.

How much does a military nurse earn?

Military nurses make competitive wages for their specialties. On average, a military nurse can make from $44,000 to $93,000 a year depending on their qualifications, experience, position and location. Part of the salary of a military nurse is also contingent on a number of factors, including base pay, basic allowance for housing, and basic allowance for subsistence. The higher the cost of living in the area where the military nurse is stationed, the higher the pay. This field is always growing as the military is continuously looking for nurses to care for military personnel and their families, and is a high demand position within the armed forces.

What skills are needed to become a military nurse?

The skills needed to become a military nurse are the same as a standard RN, but the physical requirements are the same as those of the military.

Training: Military nurses must be trained in combat and warfare to withstand being on bases that are in war zones.

Patience: Patience is key. A military nurse must be able to exercise patience in receiving orders and other directives, understand the necessity for quick extraction, and a high degree of patience in working with military personnel and their families.

Ability to handle stress: This can be a highly stressful position. Being able to juggle a number of priorities under duress is key. This is a highly active position, where interaction with others is a given. It is up to the individual in this role to be able to take a step back, recharge, and continue their duties.

Lifting ability: A military nurse must be able to lift heavy objects or people who have been injured. They must be strong enough to carry someone, or lift large artillery when necessary.

Organization: A military nurse must be organized and responsible. There are a number of records that must be maintained and prepped to be sent overseas, or transported to another base for medical treatment. This position also works as a liaison with other departments to get situations resolved.

Compassion: Military service can be rewarding, but it can also be upsetting. Being able to have compassion for others who are going through a hard time speaks volumes, and is needed in this role.

Communication: Being able to clearly communicate is mandatory. There are a number of different areas where the nurse will be required to speak on behalf of certain organizations. Communicating both verbally and in writing are two essential skills needed to be successful in this position.

Attention to Detail: If there’s one thing in the military that is continuously being ingrained into individuals, it’s the ability to be observant and pay attention to detail. This role, especially when in the midst of war, is important in getting all the little details in order.

Decision Making: This role will ultimately be responsible for making some hard decisions on behalf of the facilities, patients and family members. When working with officials, this role must be able to assess situations and work with others to come to resolutions and new goals.

Internship Requirements

A military nurse will have a number of hands-on experiences going through the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The hours needed for completion has a huge bearing on the amount of experience needed and whether not the position requires more hands on development than a standard program.

Educational Requirements

You must first have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program. Coursework under this program should include clinical nursing, primary healthcare, social justice and bio-sciences. Once the bachelor’s degree program is completed, the nursing student must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) to become certified as a nurse.

Most military nurses must undergo officer training through their branch of the military, which will provide leadership skills and military life. For those individuals who are already in the military, but want to pursue a career as a military nurse, there are online programs in nursing that provide flexibility for those students who are in another country to log in and get the assignments done.

To become a military nurse, these educational requirements are just the beginning. The individual must have US citizenship, a clean background and work experience as a nurse prior to working as one in the military. Individuals who have interest may want to enroll in a JROTC program to understand the simple, yet intricate details of military life.

If you have always contemplated a career in the military where you can travel the world and see new things, and have a desire to work as a nurse, this would be the perfect fit for you. This career is the same as a civilian nurse, only with more stringent standards and variables involved.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association


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