The military instills valuable skills into each of its members. For this reason, veterans entering into civilian life and seeking work will find that the skills they acquired in the armed forces can be leveraged for their future careers.

Former army medics, military nurses, and navy corpsmen are an excellent example of this, as their time working in a medical capacity in the military provides them with skills that translate extremely well into a healthcare career.

If you are an army medic who is interested in pursuing a post-military career in healthcare, this article covers a list of skills that you have likely obtained that will be highly useful to you.

Military Skills that Translate Well Into a Healthcare Career

Your military experience as a medic or corpsman has likely provided you with a skillset that is very well suited to a healthcare career. Whether you are looking to find a job as a registered nurse, nursing assistant, or some other form of health care provider, the training you received while on active duty can easily be leveraged to secure a civilian healthcare position.

1. Ability to Work Under Pressure

One of the military skills that is highly useful in healthcare is the ability to work under pressure. The ability to stay productive despite impending deadlines is one that is immensely valuable in the healthcare field.

2. Capacity to Work in High-Stress, High-Tension Situations

The healthcare world is one in which decisions often need to be made that can have enormous impacts for those involved. High risk scenarios often present themselves, and in such situations it is important to maintain a sharp focus.

3. Time Management

In the military, deadlines are critical. Your military experience has likely instilled in you a strong ability to manage your time effectively in order to meet those deadlines. In healthcare, time management is also incredibly important, and it can be challenging to juggle multiple priorities at once. Your experience in the military will prove incredibly valuable in this area.

4. Organization

To be effective as a nurse, you must be well organized. You will have to manage lots of information and will need to understand it well enough to be able to use it efficiently. It is important to have a firm grasp on how to prioritize the tasks at hand, what is most important, and where to go for help if you need it.

5. Teamwork

In the hierarchical structure of the military, you have likely encountered scenarios in which you have had to work within teams and perhaps lead them as well. Teamwork is important in any field, but especially in healthcare. The capacity to work in teams and the leadership skills necessary to take charge are both critical in healthcare. The medical field is one in which everyone involved needs to be on the same page in order for things to go smoothly, and effective teamwork can make an enormous difference in the outcome of tense situations.

6. Quick Thinking

The healthcare world is highly unpredictable, and situations could escalate very quickly. The ability to come to quick decisions at a moment's notice is incredibly valuable, as it could very well mean the difference between success and failure.

7. Ability to Take Direction

The ability to follow directions is incredibly valuable in the healthcare field. For example, as a nurse, you will have to work in an environment that is constantly changing and you may not always get the answers that you want to hear. The ability to take direction without expressing frustration is one that is incredibly valuable and helps medical centers run smoothly.

8. Adaptability

You are probably familiar with the fact that plans rarely go completely to plan. The military teaches you how to adapt, and to think about secondary and tertiary effects. In a field as unpredictable and volatile as healthcare, this adaptability becomes critical.

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How to Communicate These Skills and Experiences

Although your military service will likely prepare you well for a civilian career in nursing, it is important to learn how to communicate your skills effectively to medical facilities and medical centers that may be looking for them. You may find it challenging crossing the cultural barrier between military life and civilian life, especially when it comes to demonstrating your skills to potential employers.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you are constructing your resume is that the language of hospitals and healthcare centers is different from the language that is used in the armed forces. It is important to “demilitarize” your resume or application by translating military jargon into civilian language. Avoid acronyms and abbreviations, as these may have different meanings across industries, or could end up confusing your potential employers. One step that you may want to take is to ask a non-military friend or family member to read your resume and flag anything that they don’t understand. This will help you to ensure that your skills and experience have been clearly communicated in a way that anyone can understand.

Another way that you can work on bridging the cultural gap is to try and avoid confusing employers with too much information. Instead of focusing too much on the specific day-to-day tasks of your military role, try and find ways to tie it over to civilian values.

Taking the First Step Toward a Career in Healthcare

If you're ready to begin your path towards a post-military nursing career, the first step is to find a good degree program. Make sure that you have clearly defined your goals and you know the educational requirements necessary to achieve them.

For example, if you want to become a registered nurse, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program can help you get there. If you are eager to put your skills to use, finding a school that offers an accelerated nursing program can also be beneficial as it will reduce the time you will need to spend in an academic capacity.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that breaking into the healthcare field and realizing your goal of becoming a civilian nurse is well within your reach.

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