Advanced Nursing Education and Career Progression
The MHS places great importance on advanced nursing education. During war, health care continues to evolve based on the nature of combat as well as the challenges posed by working in the austere environments characteristic of the battlefield (Spencer & Favand, 2006). Military nurses must possess the advanced practice specialty skills needed during conflict. Additionally, master’s degrees are required to be obtained before being promoted to more senior military ranks. Professional growth and development is continuously provided throughout a nurse’s career in the MHS by way of leadership experiences, on-the-job training, and continuing education. A variety of educational programs, including postgraduate opportunities, are available. Full funding, in addition to continuing to receive full salary and benefits, is provided for nurses earning advanced practice degrees as well as those pursuing doctoral studies. The armed services are committed to advancing military nursing science to optimize the health of military members and their families. Graduate education in civilian programs is available for selected promising nurse researchers. Additionally, to further advance the nursing research needs of the MHS, in 1992 Congress established the TriService Nursing Research Program (TSNRP), which is the only program funding and supporting rigorous scientific research in the field of military nursing (Duong et al., 2005).