Nursing Officers provide primary patient care to sick and injured Canadian Forces members, either in Canadian Forces Health Care Centers in Canada, or in acute care hospitals while on operation abroad. Nursing Officers also provide preventive, occupational and environmental health care services.
Nursing Officers work within a collaborative practice model with other members of the health care team. Nursing Officers have the opportunity to work in different domains of nursing practice including:
- Care delivery
- Policy development
- Training and education
Nursing Officers usually work in hospitals and clinics in a collaborative practice with other medical team members. The work schedule is generally eight-hour or twelve-hour shifts, similar to a regular hospital. Nursing Officers may be called to assist in exercises, medical evacuation flights and emergencies, such as air crashes.
In field medical units, those working in support of military operations abroad, Nursing Officers live and work in the same environment as the Canadian Forces members they treat.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Nursing Officer is $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) or Captain, their salary is approximately $74,000 per year.
Nursing Officers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 14 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Second language training is available following basic officer training; depending on your ability in your second language, it may take from two to nine months.
Nursing Officers attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario. They are introduced the Canadian Forces Health Services organization and history, the roles and responsibilities of the different military clinical team members, and the unique conditions of offering nursing care in a deployed, operational care setting.
Nursing Officers are required to complete a clinical preceptorship programme to ensure they have the clinical competencies required to deliver care in acute care military setting. The length of the preceptorship depends on each Nursing Officer’s level of clinical experience.
Nursing Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:
- Critical Care
- Mental Health Nursing
- Perioperative Care
- Emergency Room Nursing
- Aeromedical Evacuation Nursing
As they progress in their career, Nursing Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Advanced Leadership
- Advanced Management
- Advanced Administration
- Instructional techniques
If you already have a university degree and license to practice as a registered Nurse in a Canadian province or territory, the Canadian Forces may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Regular Officer Training Plan
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
It is also possible to set up an “Individual Learning Plan” to take courses leading to a university degree related to this job, and upon successful completion, be reimbursed for up to 50% of tuition and other mandatory costs. Education fees for successfully completed courses are reimbursed as long as the student was a Reservist during the entire duration of the course.
This position is available through the Reserve Entry Training Plan. Through this program Reservists attend the Royal Military College, and are eligible for tuition reimbursement up to $2000 per year. They are paid as a part-time officer cadet for any additional military training required.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.