Navy Nurse Corps: What to Expect
More Information About Navy Nursing
As an Officer in the Nurse Corps, you’ll provide high-quality nursing care wherever there’s a need, from Navy medical facilities and ships to humanitarian aid missions overseas. You’ll work closely with other health providers to carry out job responsibilities such as:
- Providing general nursing care for Sailors, Marines, other service members and their families at the best military nursing facilities on shore, at sea and in the field
- Collaborating with Physicians, Surgeons, Cardiologists and other specialists to create and administer treatment plans
- Directing and instructing Hospital Corpsmen on how to provide quality patient care
- Applying leading-edge medical advances at world-class hospitals
- Utilizing some of the most advanced technology on the planet, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which can lead to less paperwork and more meaningful patient care
- Assisting with global relief efforts such as distributing vaccines or providing emergency care to victims of natural disasters
Nurse Corps Officers may serve at any one of more than 250 Navy and medical facilities around the globe, from Hawaii to Japan, Germany to Guam, and Washington, D.C., to Washington state. As a Navy Nurse, you may work at one of the highly acclaimed National Naval Medical Centers in Bethesda, MD, Portsmouth, VA, or San Diego, CA. You might even provide medical support aboard one of two dedicated hospital ships—the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. Additional opportunities are available on surface ships, with aircraft squadrons, or even with the Fleet Marine Force.
Training & Advancement
Upon commissioning, Nurses who are new to the Navy are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. ODS is a five-week program designed to introduce you to Navy culture. Nurses commissioned through a school ROTC program may not need to attend ODS.
Officer training is complete, you will learn the ins and outs of life as a Navy Nurse before receiving your first posting. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.
The Navy provides Nurse Corps Officers the opportunity to specialize based on manning needs. Specialization fields include:
Nurse Anesthetists – Administer general and regional anesthesia, monitor patients receiving anesthesia, and assist in instructing medical trainees and other Officers
Primary Care Nurse Practitioners – Provide comprehensive health care and health maintenance for service members and their families
Medical-Surgical Nurses – Assess, plan and implement direct nursing care of patients on an assigned unit, and assume charge nurse responsibilities
Perioperative Nurses – Plan, implement and evaluate nursing care of surgery patients
Critical Care Nurses – Provide highly skilled, specialized nursing care to critical patients, including en route care, and train personnel in critical care nursing procedures
Mental Health Nurses and Nurse Practitioners – Provide direct patient care in mental health services, and lead and train other military and civilian personnel
Military-specific Specializations – Education and training, manpower systems analysis, and nursing research
Specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in the medical field.
Wherever you are in your nursing career, the Navy can help ease your financial burdens and advance your career with generous financial assistance and continuing education programs. Available offers consist of scholarships, sign-on bonuses and loan repayment assistance. Help can be available if you're in graduate school or already in practice as well.
For High School Students:
Through a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Nurse Option scholarship, the Navy can cover the full cost – up to $180,000 – of your nursing education at some of the best colleges and universities in the country.
For Nursing Students:
If you’re a nursing student opting to serve full-time in the Navy, you may get up to $34,000 to help pay your way through nursing school through the Nurse Candidate Program (NCP).
For Graduate Students:
If you’re a graduate student enrolled in a postgraduate nursing program in certain nursing specialties and opting to serve part-time in the Navy Reserve, you may qualify for up to $50,000 in nursing school loan repayment assistance.
For Practicing Nurses:
If you’re a practicing nurse opting to serve part-time in the Navy Reserve, you may qualify for an immediate, one-time sign-on bonus of up to $30,000. Depending on your specialty, you may have the option of choosing between a sign-on bonus, nursing school loan repayment assistance or specialty pay.
To learn what you qualify to receive, request a medical recruiter contact you.
Qualifications & Requirements
A degree from a four-year college or university is a minimum educational requirement to become a Commissioned Officer. You must also attend Officer Training. There may be exceptions to the degree requirements based on extensive service experience. Additional qualifications include:
- U.S. Citizen between the ages of 18 and 41
- Currently licensed and practicing nursing in the U.S. (new graduates must obtain a license within one year of beginning Active Duty service)
- In good standing (as a student or graduate) with a CCNE-accredited U.S. education program granting a Bachelor of Science degree
- Willing to serve a minimum of three years Active Duty
- In good physical condition and able to pass a full medical examination
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.
When serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Nurse, your duties are carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Nurse Corps Officers in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.
For annual training, you may serve anywhere in the world, including locations in the U.S., at bases overseas, or in areas where humanitarian needs are great.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.
Nurses in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must first be met.
For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience: Officer Candidates are required to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Officers who previously held a commission in another United States Military Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Health Service, or United States Coast Guard are exempt from attending ODS or LDO/CWO Academy.
With flexible training options, Nurses in the Navy Reserve can comfortably balance civilian and military schedules. Additionally, professional nurses who choose to serve as Reserve Sailors in the Navy Nurse Corps may qualify for special offers. Depending on your specialty, you may qualify for an accession bonus or specialty pay.