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Nursing Jobs for Veterans

Jan 23, 2018

Even if they did not practice medicine in the military, many veterans have military skills and traits that can be applied to many different nursing jobs. Explore some of these jobs, their median salaries and expected job growth rates.

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A military background often produces some desirable characteristics for nursing careers, such as physical strength and staying calm under pressure. Learn about some of the different nursing jobs that are available, as well as why they may be a good fit for veterans.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Traits
Registered Nurses $68,450 15% Attention to detail and communication skills
Nurse Anesthetists $160,270 16% Attention to detail
Nurse Midwives $99,770 21% Calm under pressure and attention to detail
Nurse Practitioners $100,910 36% Planning and communication skills
Nursing Assistants $26,590 11% Physical strength and attention to detail

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
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  • Registered Nurse

Nursing Jobs for Veterans

There are many special skills and traits that veterans gain through the military that can be applied to various careers in healthcare, including nursing jobs. Some of these traits include veterans' ability to stay calm under pressure, notice the smallest of details and changes and communicate effectively with those around them. Here we discuss how a few different nursing jobs utilize some of these valuable skills while working with and treating patients.

Registered Nurses

Veterans may find a career as a registered nurse (RN) particularly satisfying as they provide care to a wide range of patients with various conditions. This care requires strong attention to detail, which most veterans possess, as RNs monitor and observe patients and record any updates or changes in the patients' medical history. Veterans may also be skilled at communicating with patients and their families about the patient's condition, patiently answering their questions, calming their fears, explaining possible treatment options and educating them about care once the patient is discharged. RNs' job duties vary greatly depending on their area of specialty, but in general, these professionals assist physicians, give patients their medications, check vital signs and conduct diagnostic tests with various medical equipment.

Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse anesthetists specialize in providing patients with anesthesia for various reasons, which requires extreme attention to detail that a veteran can typically provide. These professionals must also be very thorough in checking their patients for any medical history or medications that may conflict with the anesthesia and then disciplined to carefully monitor patients' vital signs and reactions to anesthesia during and after procedures, something veterans are often well equipped to do. Their patients may need anesthesia for a variety of surgeries or painful procedures, like cesareans or heart surgery, as well as varying levels of anesthesia, from being completely asleep to simple, local anesthesia. After procedures they may examine the patient for any signs of an allergic reaction or other side effects.

Nurse Midwives

Nurse midwives specialize in caring for women, treating woman-related medical conditions and performing different procedures and services related to those conditions, such as childbirth, prenatal care and gynecological exams. Veterans' ability to stay calm in stressful situations can be especially helpful as a nurse midwife deals with unforeseen complications, like hemorrhaging, in childbirth or other situations, as well as their attention to detail to detect these complications before it is too late to act. Nurse midwives also need good communication skills to educate their patients about various health topics and medical care and discuss family planning options with them. Like all nurses, these professionals need to maintain accurate medical histories and records of their patients.

Nurse Practitioners

Veterans may enjoy applying their communication and planning skills to a career as a nurse practitioner, who works as a primary care provider. These professionals, like physicians, need good communication skills to listen to their patients and then discuss the different treatment options that are available to them, which also requires planning and problem-solving skills in order to identify and provide the best medical steps to take for the patient to reach their end goal. Depending on the state in which they work, nurse practitioners may be qualified to order medical tests and prescribe medication as a part of treatment. Many of these professional choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics or mental health.

Nursing Assistants

The physical strength and attention to detail that veterans obtain in the military are easily applicable to a career as a nursing assistant. These professionals need to be physically fit to help move and provide stability for their patients as they use the bathroom, get into their wheelchair or change positions in bed. They use their observation skills and attention to detail to notice how patients are behaving, check vital signs and other indicators of how the patient is feeling. Nursing assistants may also provide some emotional support as they listen to their patients and work to address any questions or problems the patient may be having.

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