U.S. Army Nursing Shortage—Background

This is going to be a multi-post series addressing the issues facing the Nurse Corps shortage from the viewpoint of one living it. Me.

It is my intention, not to spend hours in the editing process, but to give a bit of background, and then document my struggles with the inter-workings of the US Army, both good and bad.

I am going to air some dirty laundry, and pull out a few skeletons. This has ruined the careers of soldiers in the past. I am quite frankly, too tired, and too frustrated to stay quiet any longer.

Once upon a time, I intended to stay in the US Army until they kicked my sorry ass out.

That has changed.


I have been in and around the US Army since December 1996. That time was spent in varying capacities as active duty enlisted medic, Army wife, and now Reserve Nurse. I have been assigned (in attached status) to a combat arms unit, assigned to a MEDEVAC unit and am now part of a Reserve Component Combat Support Hospital.

When I left active duty, it was my intention to come back in one way, shape or form to the Army that gave me so much. I am very proud that the Army influenced my life in ways that nothing else could. I am a competent, confident professional who has leadership skills civilians have a difficult time obtaining. Not only did I learn things, experience things, and teach things when on active duty, I was given even more.

Friends I will have until the day I die.

The confidence to attempt anything.

My education, my education, my education.

I completed in Associate’s in Natural Science and Mathematics while on active duty.

I used my GI Bill to earn my Associate’s degree in Nursing.

I utilized the remainder of my GI Bill as well as the STRAP incentive to finish both my BSN and MSN from an Ivy League school.

I reached the end of this educational road with just over 35K in student loans. It would have been 25K if I had agreed to extend my contract for an additional year.

With my monthly stipends, tuition assistance and student loan repayment, I put the total at around $100,000.

$100,000 for one nurse.

That does not include the thousands of dollars the Army invested in my actual military training.

Basic Training

Advanced Individual Training

Flight Medic Training (on the job at how many dollars a flight hour?)

Officer Basic Course

NBC School

I was taught early in my career to be high speed with low drag by some of the best the Army has to offer.

EVERY SINGLE THING listed below was because the Army invested in a small town girl with a bit of potential.

Honor Graduate (top 10) Medical Specialist Course

Number One Graduate—Expert Field Medical Badge

Battalion Soldier of the Quarter

Battalion Soldier of the Year

Flight Medic Qualified as an E-3

Crewmember Badge

NREMT-B (Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician Basic)

MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing)

CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse)

CFRN (Certified Flight Registered Nurse)

CCRN (Critical Care Certified Nurse)

ONC (Orthopaedic Nurse Certified)

APRN-BC with Orthopaedic Trauma Specialty (Nurse Practitioner)

They have invested so much. Why aren’t they doing anything and everything in their power to keep me?

…to be continued

Next: My recruiting nightmare

  1. This first post was amazing. I can only dream of achieving a few of those things. I’m paranoid to sit for the CEN. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts about this, and i hope you don’t get dooced for it. Ever since i’ve been a nurse I wanted to join the armed forces ( and be like the devil docs)……..they say I need a bachelors to work as a nurse, they say I can’t do it anyway because i’m a single mom. I’ve pretty much given up. Still, I want to read what you have to say.

  2. Holy Schnickes! What an impressive list of accomplishments! If I only scratch that surface, I will be happy… I don’t understand why they wouldn’t beg you to stay in the military??

  3. Would like to talk with you concerning this journey.I am about to start the same process.Looking forward to talking

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