You may be forgiven for assuming that military nurses, like other types of nurses, are healthcare professionals who provide medical care to patients, but military nursing is a starkly different career with many different circumstances.
On the face of it, the following questions may seem obvious to some, but to this day, military nursing is still plagued by countless myths and misconceptions. As it’s Armed Forces Day, we thought we’d take this opportunity to address some of the most common questions the general public has about military nurses.
“How is military nursing different from other types of nursing?”
Military nursing shares many similarities with other types of nursing: the common goals are to care for patients, to provide them with comprehensive care, and to promote their health and wellbeing.
A military nurse may work in their home country or abroad, but their work environments generally include hospitals with military units, or ground-based environments like medical regiments and field hospitals. You can also find military nurses working in the Global Response Centre alongside deployed military personnel during natural disasters and times of war.
Military nurses – again, like any nurses – can specialise in a variety of fields. They can also serve in many different fields, some traditional and some unique to the military. For instance, a military nurse could care for the families of individuals in the military in an on-base clinic or hospital, or they could work on the front line – providing medical attention to troops who have been wounded in combat.
Essentially, a military nurse’s role is very similar to that of a civilian nurse; what they do will depend on which specialism they choose to pursue.
“How can I become a military nurse?”
Those who aspire to become military nurses have good reason to be excited, as not many people can say they have the honour of serving their country in this capacity. It’s a massive privilege and it’s a career path that will set you up for a life of success beyond your time in nursing.
If you’re interested in becoming a military nurse, here is how you can qualify:
- You must be a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
- You must hold a valid and in-date PIN with no restriction of practice
- You must also hold current and valid personal medical indemnity insurance
In terms of soft skills, military nurses need to be able to stay calm at all times considering the groups they work alongside and the types of patients they attend to. Lastly, it goes without saying that life-saving skills are also essential for anyone who’s considering a career in military nursing.
“What are the benefits?”
With great responsibilities come great rewards. Military nurses can find rewarding opportunities in military clinics and hospitals – so it’s not all hard work. Other than earning a competitive salary and a non-contributory pension, they can also avail a number of career incentives in the form of free healthcare, education, life insurance, career progression, and amazing life experience.
On top of that, there are opportunities to travel to different parts of the UK or different countries to live, and work or complete assigned training.
“What are the day-to-day duties?”
Military nurses share similar responsibilities as traditional nurses. If a nurse is delegated to work in a clinic or hospital, they may check in with their line manager upon arriving at their assigned area, where their daily responsibilities typically include carrying out patient assessments and subsequent reviews, providing general nursing services, passing medications, maintaining accurate records and clinical notes, and working alongside other healthcare professionals to care for referred personnel. In addition, military nurses may also be required to attend individual management reviews or case conferences if necessary.
In areas of active war, military nurses may serve to triage patients or to stabilise and treat patients with life-threatening war wounds. In any other settings, their patients can be military personnel or their families, or any other military employees (such as those in local support roles, like diplomats or educators).
“What is it like to be a military nurse?”
A military nurse is exposed to a vast amount of opportunities and challenges. Since they can often work in potentially high-risk environments and extremely stressful conditions, their clinical skills will be kept sharp, their ability to think critically and calmly under pressure will develop quickly, and their time-management skills will be tested in fast-paced environments.
The role of a military nurse provides superior training, immense experience, and invaluable skills that can be transferred to civilian nursing – it’s one of the highest levels of nursing care any nurse could achieve.
Find a Job in Military Nursing
Think you have what it takes to become a military nurse? You can find military nurse roles with CRG Defence or get in touch with us. We will advise and support you in making the right career choice so that you can realise your true potential.