The Importance of Nursing in the Military

Our modern understanding of the role of nursing has its roots in the care provided by Florence Nightingale and her nursing corps during the 19th Century Crimean War. Although nursing had long been a necessity during times of war, it took Nightingale’s treatise on the subject to being its transformation into a recognizable medical practice with agreed-upon standard practices. The Civil War in the United States saw more than five thousand nurses tending to the injured and ill on battlegrounds across the nation. In 1901, the Army’s official Nursing Corps was born, and nursing has had an officially recognized role in the American military ever since. Nurses serving in the military can do so in a variety of ways that range from full-time active duty to working as a civilian contractor. The type of service chosen generally determines the length of service required – with active duty personnel committing to lengthier terms of service than reserves, and civilian contract nursing professionals often serving shorter terms than either. Military nurses serve almost everywhere American military forces are to be found – from the battlefields of the Middle East to remote bases around the world. Military nursing is also found within the service hospitals located in the United States as well. Nursing in the military enables these health care professionals to exercise all of their nursing skills, while allowing them to obtain higher levels of autonomy in the practice of medicine than most of their civilian counterparts. The rigors of military service often place these nurses in extremely stressful situations, so most nurses obtain experience in emergency and other critical care...

Happy Nurses Week!

I think Florence would be proud to see how nursing has advanced over the many years since she opened the Nightingale School. Nursing has progressed far beyond the boundaries that were originally envisioned. Indeed, a good description of nursing today would be boundless. We have increased the educational levels found in both the academic and practical aspects of nursing. Nurse practitioners have further pushed our frontiers back in areas ranging from obstetrics to pediatrics to geriatrics. Nurses are a formidable force within the current healthcare system. Even as great as that sounds, we still have a long way to go. I think that much of nursing’s potential is still untapped. As a group that comprises over half of the healthcare workforce, nursing should be able to have a major say in the future direction of healthcare. This was part of the findings from the Institute of Medicine’s report on The Future of Nursing. This is an achievable goal, but it is not something that we can just walk in a policy meeting and lay claim to. There are certain keys that will give nurses entrance to the committees, study groups and other policy making functions that are found anywhere from the local level to national and above. The first key is formal education. If you don’t have a BSN, then get started on the road to increase your formal knowledge. Already have your BSN? Then set your sites on a MSN, MBA or other master’s level course. These initials behind your name show that you are serious about your future in this great profession. These initials show that you...

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