NPs in the Military
NPs are versatile, are able to respond to an array of medical demands, and provide excellent care in diverse settings. It is only fitting, therefore, that NPs join the ranks of the military to serve in the military health care system. And because of NPs' versatility, during deployment they could work as nurses in hospitals or be sent into the field. Several NPs chronicled their experience as NPs in Kuwait and Iraq in this article. NPs in this group were assigned to set up and oversee a troop medical clinic in Kuwait for treatment of troops deployed in Iraq. Other NPs worked in this clinic and some were deployed into Iraq as well. The entire medical center was then moved into Iraq, and NPs were crucial to the maintenance of the center and education of nurses and staff.
Army regulation 40-68(6) authorizes NPs to provide primary, acute, and long-term care in a military setting. However, the regulation does not provide language detailing the NP's role during deployment, and NPs serve less often in primary care settings in the military than they would in a civilian setting. As deployment continues, NPs are serving in increasing numbers. With this increased military medical need, and considering NPs committed service to the military (see this story on Lt. Col. Richard Berretini, an NP who was wounded on Jan. 2 while deployed in Afghanistan and died in an Army hospital in Texas on Jan. 11), NPs' role in a military setting should be clearly laid out in the military's regulations.If you are an NP currently serving or who previously served in the military, we would love to hear your story.