How Do the Army Nurse Corps Work?

The U.S. Army Nurse Corps provides highly trained officer nurses for the Army's needs both in the field and stateside. It is one of six officer-staffed medical specialty branches in the Army Medical Department.

The Army Nurse Corps was established in 1901 as part of the Army Reorganization Act. It was designed to provide professional nursing assistance anywhere the Army needed it. The Red Cross became a major, though informal, portion of the Corps in 1905 when it took on the duty of helping to recruit nurses. The Nurse Corps was put into wide action during World War I, when it provided 20,000 registered nurses to the Army, and again in World War II, when more than 50,000 served. These nurses proved invaluable for saving lives from gangrene and other post-operative issues. The service has become more professionalized over the years.

As of 2014, most Army Nurse Corps personnel have at least a BSN degree, and all are required to be unrestricted RNs. Today, the Army Nurse Corps provides nurse officers for more than a dozen different practice specialties, from nurse-midwives to emergency nurses for combat triage and surgery. Army nurses serve in hospitals and field clinics all over the world, helping victims of natural disasters as often as they save the lives of soldiers injured in combat.