Combat Nurses Combine Clinical Skills With Military Expertise

combat nurseWorking on a mannequin may seem like child’s play compared to treating real life injuries on soldiers, but this is how future combat nurses sharpen their skills. When nurses are deployed to battlefronts such as Afghanistan and Iraq, they see injuries that are related to warfare, but may not have all the training they need. This necessity for combat nurses is extreme since, along with soldiers in the US Military, these nurses also treat civilians, Iraqi police, and military personnel from other countries. The knowledge that combat training for nurses provides primarily helps victims who have been shot or have severe burns from military grade weaponry.

According to a recent video article on Web.MD, nurses enter combat medicine training program in two ways. The first is after they have spent some time in military operations that are hospital-related. If circumstances are in this individual’s favor, they are sent to have additional combat training, including a master’s degree in nursing. In these cases, any member of the military that already has experience with working in a hospital setting is placed into an accelerated nursing program specifically for training combat nurses. Other future combat nurses come into the program with no nursing background at all. For those without hospital experience, they are placed in entry level training positions with a focus on combat.

Focus on Trauma

Regardless of how much experience a new combat nurse trainee has, one of the primary areas of medicine that combat hospitals will train in is trauma. In particular, focus is needed on small range trauma that can occur from gunshot wounds and improvised explosive devices. This training is divided into three main categories: emergency room nursing, trauma nursing and critical care nursing. At the end of the program, these areas of medicine are fine-tuned so that their skills can be used by the US Military in combat medical situations.

Specialized Training for Combat Nurses

Are you curious about what you can expect when you enter a program of this nature? Depending on your background, the programs are either long-term or short-term. For instance, the Medical Surgical Simulation Center (MSSC) at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego (NMCSD) trains combat nurses but does not award a master’s degree in nursing. In addition to a two-day training course for nursing military personnel that are about to deploy, the MSSC also offers courses such as rapid response, cardiothoracic and resuscitative equipment training.

Long-term training for combat nurses can be provided by the military at specialized institutions. Many of these programs are part of the Army Nurse Corps and are geared toward active or reserve duty military personnel. However, combat nursing training is also found in civilian-based institutions such as universities. For example, nursing degrees with a focus on International Health prepare graduates for combat nursing.

In the end, it is clear that there are many avenues for getting your foot in the door with combat nursing training. Overall, people that complete the combat nursing program find it rewarding. For example, one person in the aforementioned WebMD video said that they entered the program because they wanted to jump at the chance to learn new skills that will improve their performance in the military. Obviously, through clinical experiences and furthering their education, students of combat nursing gain a larger income bracket along with a higher sense of confidence.