WWII recruiting poster for Navy Nurse Corps.

Nurse Corps Celebrates 95th Anniversary

By Aveline V. Allen, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy Nurse Corps will celebrate 95 years of dedicated service May 13, with approximately 5,000 active-duty and Reserve nurses ready and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.

"It's amazing to me how our nurses just step up when called to carry out the mission," said Rear Adm. Nancy Lescavage, director of the Navy Nurse Corps, and commander of the Naval Medical Education and Training Command in Bethesda, Md. "Whether deployed or back here, a Navy nurse has to have intelligence, team spirit, guts and great love of country. We know people look to us to take care of those who serve in harm's way."

Recognizing the need for an even greater level of dedication and commitment to care during these turbulent times that our nation is facing, the Nurse Corps has deployed 600 active-duty nurses and activated approximately 400 Reserve nurses in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are currently serving aboard USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), at fleet hospitals and combat casualties and treatment ships, and with the Marines in a variety of locations.

Navy Medicine salutes those nurses who are deployed, but also does not forget those here at home, providing the best nursing care and support Navy Medicine has to offer to the injured forces returning home. In addition, these nurses are also working hard to continuously support the Navy's TRICARE mission. Both abroad and at home, Navy nurses are collaborating as one team to provide their patients with exceptional care.

"What we do every day is move around, and take tremendous risks," said Lescavage. "We put ourselves and our families second and our country first."

Another positive measure Navy nurses have undertaken is the collaboration with the Army and Air Force. Instructors and training opportunities are shared in support of critical skills enhancement at the Army Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany; Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas; the Critical Care Air Transport Team Course at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio and at other facilities.

Navy nurses attribute much of their medical expertise to the variety of operational platform courses and exercises available to them, which they agree have been instrumental in enhancing their readiness for Navy Medicine's forward-deployed mission. Some of these courses include combat casualty care, strategic medical readiness contingency, medical management of chemical and biological casualties, trauma nurse core course/fleet hospital field training, and fleet hospital operational readiness evaluation.

With such a vast array of training platforms, Navy nurses have never been more ready to serve and have clearly defined their role for the future.

"Every military nurse plays a vital role," said Lescavage. "And I am proud to serve with each and every one of them."

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