Missed Opportunities for Military Medics in the Nursing Profession
One lesson to be learned from Greg Horton's essay, “Redeemed by M*A*S*H,” about his father's service and career as a nurse, concerns the opportunities for military medics in the nursing profession (Best of the Blog, November 2017). Amid the many changes in nursing education is one constant—medics have never been welcomed. Associate's degree programs, accelerated RN programs for college grads, online learning, and other educational innovations have largely bypassed military medics in an era when they, like Mr. Horton's dad, have much to contribute to the well-being of the military, veterans, men, and society through the application of knowledge, skills, and lessons in unit cohesion to American nursing.
As a nurse educator, I witnessed the reluctance of professional colleagues both in and out of the military to consider military medics a resource of the first order for the nursing profession. As a consequence, few see nursing as a viable career option for medics. Yet the similarities between contemporary prelicensure nursing education and military medic training are striking. Modest changes in medic training within the all-volunteer military could enable many medics to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN examination. The changes should be instituted without delay.