The United States Air Force Nurse Corps is as old as the USAF Medical Service itself. Comprised only of commissioned officers, it was one of six Corps comprising the Medical Service that was established in 1949 with the issuance of Air Force General Order No. 35.

As with all officer corps in the USAF, entry into the Nurse Corps is restricted to holders of undergraduate degrees, in this case a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. To assist those interested in an Air Force Nursing career who might be deterred because of the financial costs associated with earning the BSN, the Air Force’s Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers two- or three-year scholarships for those seeking to serving in one a Nurse Corps specialty. The scholarships cover all expenses—tuition, textbook, administrative fees, and some equipment and academic supplies—in addition to offering a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses. Recipients of HPSP scholarships are required to spend 45 days of active duty in the Air Force while in school, and upon graduation will spend a full year of active duty for each year they received scholarship funding.

To gain officer status, Nurse Corps candidates may attend the Air Force Academy, enroll in the Air Force ROTC, or apply for Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, home of the five-week Commissioned Officer Training program.

Six officer specialties are represented by the Nurse Corps badge: Nurse Administrator, Clinical Nurse, Flight Nurse, Mental Health Nurse, Operating Room Nurse, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. But these just are just a few of the possibilities for those interested in a Nursing career in the Air Force. Specialty “shredouts,” many of them established in response to the growing diversity of Air Force personnel, include such Nursing disciplines as Acute Care, Certified Nurse Midwife, Women’s Health Care, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Neonatal Intensive Care, Family Nurse, Emergency/Trauma, and Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health.

The Nurse Corps badge feature the staff of Asclepius, chosen to set the USAF’s Medical Service Corps apart from its counterparts in the Army which were represented by the caduceus (two snakes on a rod). Behind the staff is a lamp which represents the light of knowledge.
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