A Message From the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps

By Rear Adm. Elizabeth Niemyer, director, Navy Nurse Corps, and deputy chief, Wounded, Ill and Injured, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

RADM NiemyerAs I look at the calendar and see National Nurses’ Week May 6-12 and the 105th Navy Nurse Corps Birthday rapidly approaching on May 13th, I want to take this opportunity to reach out to the entire Navy Nurse Corps team. 

Truly, the work of the military nursing team-active duty and reserve component, and the federal civilian and contracted nurses who partner with us-is not for the faint of heart.  As Florence Nightingale said, “It requires devotion and preparation.”

We are an integrated and highly regarded team of health care professionals, uniquely trained and qualified to provide and lead the delivery of the highest quality care in extremely diverse environments.

We are pivotal to ensuring the overall health, well-being, and operational readiness of our active duty military members and their families, as well as, essential to providing an optimal healthcare benefit for our retirees.

I believe it does take extraordinary ability and innovation to be a nurse. Our profession encompasses the skill of providing care and compassion to those who may be experiencing physical, emotional, or psychological pain. It requires that you lean in to the patient experience and to empathize with their pain in order to better understand what is needed to begin the healing process.  It can be exhausting – physically and emotionally – to care for the lives of others.  Yet, nurses throughout the world continue to care for their patients, 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Not a day, minute, or second passes in which a nurse isn’t somewhere doing extraordinary work.  It does not surprise me that our profession is the most trusted profession in America.

The military nursing team remains highly respected and successful as professionals significantly contributing to the delivery of the highest quality health care in their roles as bedside care givers, licensed independent providers, administrators, clinical educators, and leaders.  But regardless of the specific role, nursing knowledge and clinical excellence remain the very foundation upon which nurses build, advance, and refine the skills necessary for continued success.  This clinical excellence is recognized within all levels of the Military Health System, as well as, professional nursing organizations and educational institutions across the United States.

Last weekend I attended my 35th reunion at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. I was proud to celebrate with around 250 people covering 12 unique class groups, and of course it was fun to reunite with members my Class of 1978.  The Distinguished Graduate Award was bestowed on Ms. Darlene Curley, Executive Director of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence.  The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence was founded in 2006 to improve health care through nursing.  They provide grants that advance scholarship, leadership and innovation, and collaborate on initiatives with other leaders in the nursing field with a focus on fostering partnerships across philanthropic, business, policy and education sectors. 

During her acceptance speech, Ms. Curley showed a short news clip video highlighting the work of one of the Jonas scholars.  I was extremely proud to see two of our Navy nurses, Lt Cmdr. Pam Wall (Jonas Scholar) and Cmdr. Sean Convoy on the video speaking to a group of students about the behavioral health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experienced by our service members upon return from deployment.  This is one example of many that showcases the work we do as Navy Nurses and the recognition of that work throughout the profession of nursing. 

In closing, I want to thank each and every one of you for the work you do every day.  This week, we collectively celebrate National Nurses’ Week and next Monday, May 13th, the 105th Navy Nurse Corps Birthday. 

Please take care of each other and enjoy the many festivities ahead.  As always, please keep our deployed Navy Medicine family in your thoughts and prayers.  It is always my greatest honor and privilege to represent you, the outstanding Navy Nursing Team. 

Happy 105th and stay safe.

Rear Adm. Niemyer


Watch the Rear Adm. Niemyer’s 105th Navy Nurse Corps birthday message below: