Paying tribute to our Military Nurses
Today, we pay tribute to all Veterans.
We thank you for your service, dedication and sacrifice, especially those who gave The Ultimate Sacrifice.
We would also like to salute all of the military nurses that we don’t always hear much about.
Nurses in the military provide nursing care for wounded and ill soldiers wherever they are stationed anywhere in the world. In combat, they provide this care on the front lines and on the field. In non-combat assignments, they work providing ambulatory, maternal/child, acute and rehabilitation care. They can serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines.
When a nurse enlists in the military, it is for a set period of service and they are assigned a position based on ability and need. They may travel to different countries and climates where they face new and challenging clinical situations.
In combat, military nurses manage battle trauma that is unimaginable – land mine injuries, vehicular accidents and blast injuries. In recent times, because of the improvement of protective gear such as body armor and Kevlar, the number of thoracic injuries has been reduced but there are still an incredible amount of limb injuries. Caring for these wounded warriors is a very special mission with awesome responsibility. These are not just soldiers and sailors; they are dads, moms, son, daughters, brothers and sisters. Although it can be heartbreaking, it is also extremely rewarding.
Unfortunately, in a lot of today’s combat, the enemy is not an organized military, but insurgent forces who do not recognize the humanitarian guidelines set forth in the Protocols of the Geneva Convention. The large red crosses on medical and evacuation vehicles offer little protection for their occupants, as they are routinely fired upon and become targets themselves. Being a front-line military nurse takes a special kind of person. You can be evacuating a critical patient on a ventilator in a helicopter that’s over 100 degrees inside in full body armor and you come under enemy fire. So many of those with amputations, high caliber gunshot wounds and burns, are so young. These scenarios can really take a toll on these nurses. Then there are the civilian casualties – including a lot of injured children – and this can affect even the toughest nurse. Many of these caregivers suffer from “compassion fatigue.”
Military nurses can also be assigned to duty at facilities in the US or on foreign bases. Here they deliver care to recovering personnel. The also provide care to the families of the military including maternity and pediatric care.
Entering into military nursing is a commitment and is not been immune to the nursing shortage. There are age limitations and you must be in good medical and physical shape. There are four branches of the military and each have nursing opportunities. If you are considering it, be sure to understand everything explained to you at the recruiting office. Since most recruiters aren’t nurses themselves, seek out someone who is and talk to them about everything and get all of your questions answered.
In military nursing, not only will you come in contact with heroes from previous generations but also those that prove that our current generation is also great; and you will be one of those heroes yourself!
Are you a military nurse? We would love to hear of your service and experiences! If you are not, and you know of someone who does, we would also love to hear from you about their experiences…