The stereotype that military women are limited to nursing jobs is long gone. Today, the Navy offers a broad range of medical jobs to its recruits. While it features traditional medical practitioner positions for doctors, nurses and dentists, the Navy's healthcare infrastructure is much broader than just providing direct patient care. Jobs in today's Hospital Corps include scientific research, medical support and healthcare administration.
The Navy employs more than 4,300 doctors spanning 30 specialties, as of 2013. Physicians work in hospitals, in clinics and at sea. Many Navy physicians do the same type of medicine that you'd find at any civilian hospital or medical center. The nature of naval medicine also offers particular opportunities for specialization, such as undersea medicine and aerospace medicine, as well as access to advanced technology, such as NASA-developed probes that use light-emitting diode for rapid wound healing. Being a doctor in the Navy also means that you don't have to pay for malpractice insurance, set up an office or deal with billing issues.
As many as 1,200 Navy dentists practice in 13 specialties in locations worldwide, as of 2013. Naval dental practices can be varied and go well beyond providing basic care to service members and their families. Dentists may provide global humanitarian relief to repair the smiles of service members who suffered injuries in combat. Naval dentists get the opportunity to hone their skills. Furthermore, the experience of serving in the military helps to develop a sense of pride and honor, and a work ethic that can help a dentist succeed in private practice after the Navy.
While medical and surgical nursing and emergency trauma nursing positions are core parts of the Navy Nurse Corps, Navy nurses also analyze staffing systems, manage training programs and serve as pediatric nurse practitioners. Navy nurses have provided emergency care after the Haitian earthquake; vaccinated children in Colombia; and cared for sailors on hospital ships at sea. They also get to use cutting-edge technology, such as radio frequency identification patient trackers, that reduce paperwork.
Medical Service Corps
The Navy's 2,600-person strong Medical Service Corps spans four broad areas -- administration, the sciences, clinical care and medical support. Opportunities range from patient contact positions, such as audiology, optometry and podiatry, to research positions in radiation health. Navy health care administrators ensure that sailors, Marines and their families have access to the supplies, facilities and care that they need across a global network.
Navy Medicine Benefits
Building a naval medical career starts by joining the Navy. You must be between the ages of 18 or 21, depending on the position, and 41, and you must be able to pass the Navy's physical and medical examinations. If you're already practicing, the Navy may offer you a generous signing bonus or help with your student loans. Students who are looking to start a medical career may be able to get the Navy to pay for their education.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.