What is a Military Nurse?

What is a Military Nurse?

What is a Military NurseWhat is a Military Nurse?

Military nursing is an offset of traditional nursing, but it’s no less demanding or challenging. Military nurses work under vastly different circumstances due to the nature of their position. They’ll work either in their home country or abroad, depending on where the military sends them. For the most part, these nurses will work on bases or in places where troops are present. In times of crisis, they may also lend a helping hand at civilian hospitals.

Military nurses do much the same work as a typical nurse, including caring for and occasionally treating patients as well as assisting doctors. These professionals will be well versed, highly skilled, and able to help just about anyone. They are there to help injured soldiers and other military personnel, and those who may be put in the line of fire can literally be the difference between life and death. Military nurses who work on base make sure that the people there stay healthy and ready to defend their country at a moment’s notice.

Nursing is a fantastic career and finding the right branch of nursing for you will help you feel empowered to succeed and progress. The military offers a great chance for nurses to make a big difference.

How to Become a Military Nurse

There are a few different steps that need to be taken in order to become a nurse in the military. The first is to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. In some cases, you can get a nursing degree with financial help from the military, but it does have to be a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.

Once you’ve received your diploma you’ll need to take the NCLEX exam to get your nursing state and board certifications. Most nursing schools will help you get set up to take your test and can help you find the testing site that is going to work best for you and your particular needs.

After you pass your NCLEX exam you have two choices. You can either get some experience as a nurse in the civilian setting such as a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or a doctor’s office, or you can talk directly to a recruiter and start the process of enlisting in the military. For those who are unsure if they want to join the military, getting some experience in a civilian setting might boost your confidence and help you decide.

After you have decided to enlist you are going to need to speak with a recruiter. They will help you to gather the necessary paperwork and documents to get you started. In order to become fully enlisted, you will have to fill out an application packet which process could take some time.

After you have completed your enlistment you are going to need to take a Basic Leadership Course (BOLC) that will prepare you for your military nursing role and the possibility of leadership. You will also have to complete basic training.

As a military nurse, there are different certifications and ranks that you can achieve to help further your career. Though they are not required, you can get the basic life support, acute cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, and Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certifications. You can also work to improve your military ranking to qualify for more responsibility and higher pay.

Military Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

Military nurses have a great career outlook and have the potential to make a decent salary. How much do military nurses make? The average pay for a military nurse is around $58,000 and many military nurses can get their student loans forgiven after they have served for a period of time. The salary can fluctuate based on the individual’s education level, military ranking, special certifications, and experience. Additionally, there are potential sign-on bonuses and accession bonuses that can help boost your income even more.

One advantage of becoming a military nurse is the possibility of working in many different settings. You can work on a military base, in the military field, and even in civilian hospitals in certain cases. Your nursing experiences will range from mundane to high-stress. Learning on the job will definitely be your thing.

Military nurses are required to work under a range of different circumstances including time constraints, foreign lands, limited supplies, and hostile encounters. On the other hand they can perform routine duties such as vaccinations, physical examinations, and routine care required by soldiers and their families.

Military nursing is a very rewarding career pathway that can truly change people’s lives. Your experience will be unlike that of any other nurse. And, if the time comes that you wish to leave, you will be able to apply your experience as a military nurse to find a nursing job in a civilian setting.

Important skills needed for this career include good time management, especially in times of stress, the ability to remain calm and level-headed no matter what your surroundings may be like, and the knowledge and confidence needed to take charge and help even when you haven’t been given direct orders from your supervisor.

You are not likely to work very long hours on a base, but you may never know when circumstances change, whether on base or in the field, so you must be prepared to be on your feet for long stretches of time. You should also be able to work well with a team as you’ll be working with other nurses, doctors, and other military personnel. On top of that, you also need to be organized and resourceful so that you can make the most of what you have. Being organized and resourceful may mean taking the opportunities available to you to receive additional training, experience, and certifications.

Military Nurse Resources

Helpful Organizations:


Do you have to go through basic training? Yes, they are active-duty military members which means that they can be called up to fight if needed. They go through the same training as other military members which may help them to better understand and care for their comrades.

Do you get deployed? Yes, they can get deployed alongside other active-duty military members. Most of their career is going to be at a military hospital or military base but they may also be deployed alongside other members of the military during times of war.

Does the military pay for nursing school? The military does offer aid in paying for nursing school. There is a great deal of scholarships for those who are in the military that want to go to nursing school. There are also plenty of reimbursement programs as well as grants and loan repayment options that help to cover the cost of nursing school.

Can you go to nursing school while in the military? Yes, you can go through nursing school while you are in the military. On-base nursing programs may be an option, as well as attending a typical college or university.

Do you have to have a nursing degree before you go to the military and become a military nurse? No. If you are already enlisted and you want to go to military nursing school, you can still work for the military while you do so. If you are not enlisted and want to enter right off the bat, you do need to have a nursing degree and already be a registered nurse.

Can you move up as a military nurse? Yes, you can move up in the military rankings as a nurse. You can also get better certifications and better education to help you to become a better nurse with better qualifications.

Is military nursing always high pressure? No, military nursing is not always high pressure. You may work on-base and never see active duty or wartime, or you may work in military hospitals to assist other nurses and doctors. Nurses may work in the field as well, but that won’t be the case every day of your career.


Though the military already has great programs to help their recruits get the education they need, we still want to help! Apply today for our scholarship that’s open to all potential nurses.

List of Nursing Programs

If you want to become a military nurse, get started on your nursing degree as soon as possible. But don’t stress too much! We’ve done a lot of the work for you. Take a look at our list of the best BSN degree programs out there.

Now what?

Military nursing will challenge you, help you grow as a person, and help you be the best and most experienced nurse you can be. With the right skills, resources, and opportunities you can become a truly fantastic  and make a difference in the lives of our military men, women, and families every day.

For more information contact us today to find the program that will work best for you and will truly help you to become the nurse you have always dreamed of being.

Nursing Articles