200 New Doctors, Advanced Practice Nurses to Join Military Ranks Early

Students in a classroom
By Sharon Holland

More than 200 military medical students and graduate nursing students from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) will be graduating early to support their colleagues in the U.S. military health system amid the global coronavirus pandemic.  USU President Dr. Richard Thomas made the decision when the national emergency was declared.

“Our curriculum has a specific focus on threats like emerging infectious diseases and disasters that our military and Public Health Service forces are likely to encounter in the course of their careers. This instruction is based on real-life lessons learned, is woven throughout the curriculum and incorporated into our medical field exercises. Our students are uniquely prepared to meet and address the readiness needs of the Department of Defense and our Nation the moment they step out of our doors,” said Thomas. “This is exactly what they were educated and trained to do.  The Surgeon Generals of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service will receive a competent cadre of healthcare professionals who can augment current resources available to them.”  

Two students train to help the wounded on a simulated aircraft
Air Force Capt. Nicholas Robertson, a dual-track family and women's health nurse practitioner student in USU's
Graduate School of Nursing, will be among those students graduating early to help support the military health
system mission. (Courtesy photo)
The students, who are all active duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Public Health Service, will have completed all of their requirements to be awarded a degree and will be available for reassignment by their respective Services. The officers include physicians, family, mental health and women’s health nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.  

The addition of the USU graduates will offer much-needed support to the Services and the Public Health Service in the wake of the deployment of several hundred military health care providers to the hospital ships and field hospitals in a number of states.

Students in gas masks provide care to a soldier in need
USU students are trained to provide care under the most challenging circumstances, including exposure to radiation
or global disease outbreak. (Photo by Thomas Balfour)