Registered Nurses

Registered Nurses

Nurses are a key part of the staff at military hospitals and clinics. Registered nurses direct nursing teams and give patients individual care to help them recover from illness or injury.

Job Details:

What They Do:

Registered nurses in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Help physicians treat patients
  • Give injections of pain killers, antibiotics, and other medicines as prescribed by physicians
  • Change bandages and dressings
  • Assist physicians during surgery
  • Provide life support treatment for patients needing emergency care
  • Provide care for mental health patients
  • Keep records of patients' condition
  • Supervise practical nurses, nurse aides, and other support personnel

Training Provided:

No initial job training is provided for officers in this occupation. Advanced courses are available in some specialties.

Special Requirements:

Graduation from an accredited school of nursing and a license to practice nursing are required to enter this occupation.


The services have close to 11,000 nurses. Each year, they need new nurses due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. Positions for registered nurses in the Coast Guard are filled by U.S. Public Health Service Officers. Depending on the prior experience that nurses bring with them to the military, their job assignments may vary. After job training, inexperienced nurses work under close supervision. Experienced nurses normally work under less supervision. In time, nurses may become nurse supervisors. Eventually, they may become directors of nursing in hospitals or advance to senior health service management positions.

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