Since it was founded in 1901, the Army Nurse Corp has grown into a force of the best-educated nurses in the world.

For 27 years, Major General Jimmie Keenan, Chief of the United States Army Nurse Corp, has been committed to the Army Nursing Team creed. Part of the creed mandates that Army Nurses “tend to the physical and psychological wounds of our warriors and support the health, safety and welfare of every retired Veteran.” Since it was founded in 1901, the Army Nurse Corp has grown into a force of the best-educated nurses in the world. We spoke with General Major Keenan to learn more about Army Nurses.

Mediaplanet: How would you describe the Army Nurse Corp?

Major General Keenan: The first thing to know about us is that our primary focus is taking care of America’s sons and daughters. The U.S. Army Nurse Corp, which is 64 percent female and 36 percent male, has 44,000 nursing personnel, which includes 4,170 nurses who are active-duty Soldiers and 4,800 nurses who are in the Army Reserves. We exist to support the line and provide the top level of care, but our role as Army Nurses is much broader than most people think.

MP: How so?

MGK:  Our nurses are highly trained. Since 1974, having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing has been a minimal requirement of being in the Army Nurse Corps, and many of our nurses have Master’s or Ph.D. degrees. There is a broad range of specialties among our nurses, including Army Public Health; Psychiatric/Mental Health; Critical Care; Emergency; Clinical Informatics; Midwife; Medical Surgical; and many more.

MP:  What are the opportunities for becoming an Army Nurse now?

MGK: There are three main ways into the Army Nurse Corp: Through ROTC, as an enlisted member of the Army and through the U.S.  Army Recruiting Command. The corps has become very competitive, attracting committed young people with a sense of service and a high GPA. There is a big need now for Psychiatric Nurses. We even have a residence program to support their education.