Nurses have been caring for American soldiers, both on the battlefield and off, since the Revolutionary War, when General George Washington requested nursing assistance and Congress approved the addition of one nurse for every 10 patients in military hospitals. Since that time, the ranks of military nurses have grown tremendously, as have their skills and contributions. That’s why from May 6 thru May 12 we celebrate National Nurses Week, recognizing this exceptional group of people that has served through the generations.
Nurses have played a key role in every major military conflict, proving themselves an indispensable part of our fighting forces. Today, more than 28,500 nurses serve in all branches of the U.S. Military. They are crucial to the effort of maintaining military health and readiness. Beyond that, they have contributed to the continued transformation of military medicine. Their tireless efforts and creative clinical problem-solving have led to reduced cross contamination of infections, new protocols to enhance military nurses’ readiness for deployment, and new methods for reducing pressure injuries en route to care.*
In addition, they have played a key role on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses vigorously support the Department of Defense’s three main priorities for healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Protecting troops and personnel
- Helping safeguard the nation’s security missions
- Supporting interagency government efforts to address the pandemic
You’ll find nurses playing vital roles in each of these areas, including providing care on the front lines of military treatment facilities, conducting data analysis and helping develop policy behind the scenes. It’s this level of contribution, sacrifice and bravery for nearly 250 years that we honor during National Nurses Week.
*U.S. Department of Defense
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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