Part of one of the greatest military branches in the world, Navy officers play a key role in defending and protecting the United States. Once thought of as a man's world, military roles have opened up for women in many different areas, including nursing. Navy officer nurses work alongside Navy physicians in state-of-the-art military hospitals, Navy medical centers and the Navy's dedicated hospital ships. As of 2013, nearly 2,900 active-duty and 1,300 reserve nurses served in the Navy. The path to becoming a Navy officer nurse requires the applicant to fulfill specialized requirements and qualifications.
Meet general requirements. Navy officer nurses must be between the ages of 18 and 41, be a United States citizen and be willing to serve three years of active-duty service. Reservists commit to one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Depending on the needs of the Navy at the time and the experience of the nurse, the Navy may make exceptions to the age rule.
Satisfy educational requirements. Navy nurses should hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program and have an active and valid U.S. nursing license. New nursing graduates can take up to a year to obtain a nursing license. Navy nurses can also choose the Reserve Officers Training Corps route by participating in a Navy ROTC program at a college or university while earning a nursing degree. After graduation, Navy nurses receive commissions as officers.
Get a physical. All Navy nurse applicants must take and pass a medical examination to ensure they're in good health and able to perform the duties of the job. The Navy Nurse Corps does not require perfect vision, but nurses must be between 62 inches and 78 inches tall for men and between 60 inches and 78 inches tall for women. Nurses' weight must be in proportion to their height.
Pass a physical fitness test. Every Navy sailor, including those in the Nurse Corps, must pass a physical fitness test consisting of pull-ups, sit-ups, a 1.5-mile run and a 400- or 500-yard swim. The score applicants must attain depends on their age. While Navy nurses typically do not undergo the same physical conditions as other sailors, they still need to be physically fit to lift patients, operate large medical machinery and work long hours.
Pick a nursing specialty. Navy officer nurses can choose to pursue a nursing specialty from a variety of medical disciplines, such as nurse practitioner, critical care, emergency trauma, surgical, neonatal intensive care, maternal, perioperative, psychiatric and pediatrics.
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.