Medicine isn’t just a job, it’s a mission: Saving lives and spreading goodwill at home and abroad

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2012

(BPT) – Demand for civilian health care professionals, such as doctors, registered nurses, dentists and certain allied health professionals such as clinical psychologists, will grow by double-digit percentages from now until 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The armed forces, including the United States Navy, are also facing a critical need in these vital areas.

Beyond all the advantages of life as a civilian health care professional, a medical career in the Navy offers travel, adventure, and the uncommon opportunity to practice on ships or aircraft carriers, working with cutting-edge technology. Navy health care professionals can pursue their true passion to care for others and focus on the finer points of medicine without the financial and business complications of a private practice. Plus, financial aid is available to help qualified candidates pay for certain professional schools.

Serving in the Navy’s Medical Corps, Nurse Corps, Dental Corps or Medical Service Corps opens a broad range of opportunities. Whether aboard the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) or USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) hospital ships, or stationed at a Naval medical center, members provide lifesaving medical care and humanitarian support to fellow service members and civilian populations worldwide.

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Health care career opportunities in the Navy include:

* Physicians – The Navy has job opportunities for doctors in more than 30 specialties and subspecialties, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery and anesthesiology. Navy Doctors gain a broader spectrum of experience than most civilian physicians, including working with breakthrough technology such as Light-Emitting Diode (LED) probes that help heal wounds faster. With the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), physician candidates may receive 100 percent tuition coverage during medical school, plus a monthly stipend for living expenses for up to four years and a sign-on bonus. The Navy Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP) may provide up to $269,000 for medical school students, which includes their monthly military salary, a housing allowance and health benefits.

* Registered Nurses – Serving in many clinical areas, Navy Nurses meet critical professional nursing needs during wartime and peace. Additionally, they may receive education and additional training in many nursing specialties. The Nurse Candidate Program offers up to $34,000 toward nursing school, including an initial grant of $10,000 and a monthly stipend of up to $1,000 for 24 months while earning a nursing degree. Qualified Registered Nurses in the workforce are eligible to apply for $20,000 or $30,000 accession bonuses.

* Dentists – Navy Dentists care for Sailors, and they care for citizens of third-world countries who may think of dental care as a luxury. They serve in more than 250 facilities around the world, both on the ground and aboard ships. Like Navy Physicians, Navy Dentists work with leading-edge equipment and testing procedures from digital X-ray systems to saliva tests that detect exposure to anthrax and tuberculosis. Students can have their dental education funded through HPSP and HSCP.

* Clinical Psychologists – Navy Clinical Psychologists counsel service members whose emotional well-being is as important as their physical health. They have the opportunity to deal with issues unique to those who serve, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Students may be eligible to have their education funded through HPSP or may qualify to receive up to $80,000 to help repay graduate school loans. Plus, the Navy pays for a student’s board certification.

Many perceive a health care career as a win-win situation: health care professionals enjoy stable, high-demand jobs and have the satisfaction of a career that makes a difference in people’s lives. A health care career in the Navy delivers the added bonus of a broader range of experience, the opportunity to help even more patients in need and the potential to finish your medical education free of debt.

Visit to learn more about health care career opportunities and the background required to answer this exciting and important call to serve.