***image1***The Spanish-American War did more than just allow the United States to keep hold of Florida, it opened the door for women to become nurses in the U.S. Army.
In August of 1898, the Army surgeon general created a Nurse Corps Division to help coordinate military nursing efforts and make nursing an attractive career, according to the book, “Highlights in the History of the Army Nurse Corps.” In 1899. Regulations were written, pay was increased to $40 per month and annual leave changed to 30 days, regardless of length of service.
Feb. 2, 1901, the female Nurse Corps became a permanent fixture of the Medical Department under the Army Reorganization Act passed by Congress. Nurses were allowed to join the Army for a three-year period, with extended opportunities available, according to the HHANC.
That was 103 years ago. Today, military nursing is open to both sexes. The pay has gotten better and educational opportunities are readily available.
“The Army Nurse Corps is the place to be if you want a stimulating career and the opportunity to serve patients in a multitude of ways – from beside patient care to administration,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. JoAnn Doleman, nurse methods analyst at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “The diversity of nursing opportunities make the Army Nurse Corps one of the most interesting and rewarding career fields to be in.”
U.S. Army Capt. Cathy Willingham, head nurse of cardiology services at LRMC, said she agrees completely, especially when compared to the civilian side of nursing.
“Having worked in the civilian sector for 10 years before coming back into the Army, I realize that the Army Nurse Corps has advantages over its civilian counterpart,” said Captain Willingham.
She said Army nurses are better educated, better paid, have more educational opportunities and are more patient focused – as opposed to being profit focused.
“In the civilian world, nurses are working for far less pay with far more patients. In the military, patient safety is first. In the civilian world, profit is first,” she said.
The Army Nursing Corps will celebrate its 103rd anniversary with a party today at 6 p.m. at the Ramstein Officers’ Club.