If nursing is your professional goal, there is no better place to begin your career than in Army ROTC. Army ROTC offers you a unique opportunity to gain practical experience while you receive financial assistance for college.
You have chosen a demanding profession. Medical emergencies require a cool head and clear thinking. Making the most of your skills, building a sense of confidence, and helping you realize your leadership and management potential are what Army ROTC is all about.
As an ROTC nursing student, you will be able to combine college electives in military science and invaluable nurse summer training experience with your regular nursing program. You will develop your professional skills while you learn meaningful things about yourself and what you can accomplish.
Upon completion of the program (and provided all prerequisites are met), you will receive a commission as an officer in the Army Nurse Corps, ready to take on the challenges of your profession. You will find that your Army ROTC experience has taken you a long way toward realizing your professional goals.
You will not find anywhere else the kind of direct, hands-on experience you will receive in ROTC training. You will be given significant responsibilities early in your career.
An officer is a leader. That’s why leadership and management are stressed as part of the ROTC nursing program. The Army provides nursing students with unique training to develop the skills that will help you take command.
There is no mystery about how to get ahead in the Army Nurse Corps. Promotions are based on performance, and the career path is clear-cut. You will be given the opportunity to progress in rank as your nursing proficiency and effective leadership traits are demonstrated.
As an Army Nurse, you are an important member of the health care team. You’ve been given the training to meet problems head-on and solve them quickly, adapting to the situation and taking charge. You are a thinker and decision maker, earning the respect of your colleagues and the people who work for you.
"At school, when you go to emergency room (ER) training, you're only an observer. But when you go to ER during the ROTC summer training, you get hands-on experience. I was able to draw blood and start IV's. There's no limit to what you can learn. I'm looking forward to being an officer because being a leader and being able to take initiative are part of being a good nurse."
The Three and Four Year Programs
The three and four year ROTC programs are a series of elective courses designed to be taken along with your regular nursing program. They are divided into the Basic Course and Advanced Course.
The ROTC Basic Course is usually taken during the first year or two of college. After you have completed the Basic Course, demonstrated your potential to become an officer and met both physical and scholastic standards, you may enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course.
The Advanced Course, which includes the Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP), is usually taken during the final two years of college. The NSTP is described below.
The Two-Year Program
If you are a junior or community college graduate, or attending a four-year college but did not take ROTC in your first two years of school, the two-year program has been designed for you. Courses from both the Basic and Advanced Courses are combined to enable you to complete your training within two years.
The Nurse Summer Training Program
The NSTP is a three-week clinical elective for Army ROTC nurse cadets. Attendance is voluntary. This paid elective is conducted at Army hospitals in the United States and Germany. You may attend NSTP either before or after Advanced Camp, normally between your Junior and Senior year of college. During the NSTP clinical elective you'll receive "hands-on" experience under the direct supervision of preceptors – Army nurse officers who work with you one-on-one throughout your clinical training.
While you follow the same duty schedule as your preceptor, you could receive training in such areas as patient assessment, planning of patient care, nutrition maintenance and feeding techniques, range of motion and mobility, medication administration, emergency procedures, intravenous (IV) therapy, and other special techniques.
Regular coaching sessions are designed to monitor your performance and enhance your progress. By summer's end, NSTP will have shown you a preview of the real world of nursing, developed your professional skills and given you valuable insights into your abilities.
"Leadership training in ROTC is more than words. When you're in a field exercise or leadership lab you get a taste of responsibility, of the need to have the answers and earn respect. Everyone says they want a team approach. But I don't see that in civilian hospitals - and I don't think non-ROTC students really understand what a team approach is like."
University of Cincinnati
Nursing is a dynamic profession. Skills and professional knowledge must be constantly updated. The Army Nurse Corps recognizes that earning your BSN is an achievement to be proud of and is committed to providing educational opportunities so you may continue to enhance your abilities, interests and knowledge. Once you become an Army Nurse, you may apply for specialty courses such as:
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
This 22-week course is designed to prepare you with the necessary knowledge of clinical skills to deliver care and treatment to psychiatric patients. Development of the qualities of understanding and compassion are stressed, along with proficiency in communications skills.
This 16-week course is designed to prepare junior nurse officers to function as first-level staff nurses in the operating room (OR). It also focuses on the OR nurse's responsibilities in the preparation and sterilization of supplies/equipment; special fields of surgery; and the principles and techniques of supervision and management of the operating room.
Obstetrical and Gynecological Nursing
This 16-week course is designed to provide you the necessary knowledge and clinical skills required to deliver nursing care to pregnant women, newborn infants and patients with gynecological problems.
Critical Care Nursing
This 16-week course is designed to prepare nurses as entry-level critical care staff nurses in intensive care settings.
And once you have obtained career status and met eligibility criteria, you may apply for selection to graduate degree programs such as Anesthesia Nursing or Health Care Administration, or graduate education at the school of your choice.
"Leadership isn't as difficult as it once seemed because of ROTC experiences I've had. During NSTP, I was put on a ward and expected to take charge - a preview of what I'll be doing as an Army nurse and lieutenant, with a broad scope of practice and more management responsibilities than a civilian nurse. Later on, I plan to earn a masters with the Army and become a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist."
Whether you want to specialize in a particular area, such as intensive care, pediatrics, or the operating room, or want to start your career as a generalist you must be able to direct others. You must be a leader and a manager.
ROTC enhances your education by providing unique leadership and management training, along with the practical experience needed for success, either in the Army or in a civilian career.
You will develop good judgment and self-confidence. You will gain the ability to analyze situations quickly, to make decisions and to understand what it takes to carry them out.
You will graduate from college with a baccalaureate degree and the honor of being a commissioned officer in the Army Nurse Corps (ANC). Then, once in the ANC, you'll have the opportunity to advance professionally, work with the latest medical technology, and serve with other highly trained medical personnel. Army ROTC will give you a valuable opportunity to build for the future.