The Nurse Corps is an integral part of the Navy medical establishment. Navy Nurses are deployed all over the world, participating in humanitarian missions, and supporting the Global War on Terror. To date, the Nurse Corps has deployed 600 active-duty nurses and activated approximately 400 Reserve nurses in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These nurses are currently serving aboard USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), at fleet hospitals, combat casualties and treatment ships, and with the Marines in a variety of locations.
Upon graduation, registered nurses enter the Nurse Corps via NROTC, direct accession, or through the Nurse commissioning program. New graduates are assigned to one of the "big three" naval hospitals: Bethesda Naval Hospital, San Diego Naval Medical Center, or Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Each commissioned nurse is also assigned to an operational platform.
Navy Medicine's forward deployed mission requires that all Navy nurses participate in a number of operational platform courses and exercises. Courses include combat casualty care, strategic medical readiness contingency, medical management of chemical and biological casualties, trauma nurse course/fleet hospital field training, and fleet hospital operational readiness evaluation.