Military Nursing Research


The Army Nurse Corps initiated military nursing research. The establishment of a Department of Nursing at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in 1957 provided formal recognition and opportunities for the growth of military nursing research.

In 1976, the Nursing Research Advisory Board was established to advise and assist the chief of the Army Nurse Corps in establishing research priorities and monitoring research initiatives.

In 1981, the Army Nurse Corps held the first Phyllis J. Verhonick Nursing Research Symposium to disseminate findings and advance knowledge of nursing research. Named after a leader in both the military and civilian nursing communities, this conference is still held biennially.

Since the 1960s, the Army Nurse Corps has provided graduate education in civilian education programs for selected promising nurse researchers and has historically offered its own educational courses.


Nursing research in the Navy prior to the 1980s has been assessed primarily by review of unpublished master's theses. The range of research topics is broad, covering various aspects of the organization and administration of nursing service and nursing practice. By 1977, only two nurses had been supported for doctoral study.

Formal research endeavors of the Navy Nurse Corps date back to 1982, when Capt. Karen Rieder was assigned as director of the Health Services Research Department at the Naval School of Health Sciences. Further work to incorporate nursing research became prominent in 1987, when the Navy conducted a review of billets and identified 11 that called for a doctorally prepared nurse.

Air Force

Nursing research in the Air Force has been studied primarily through the review of unpublished mimeographed documents from research at the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas. Among the research topics reported are the development of equipment for aeromedical evacuation.

Other studies in the 1970s reported physiological and psychological changes experienced by Air Force nurses associated with flying duty on jet and propeller aircraft and ways to evaluate patient care in flight. The first doctorates earned by Air Force nurses were awarded in 1967 and 1968.

Historic Milestones


Department of Nursing at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is established.



First doctorates are awarded to Air Force nurses.



Army Nursing Research Advisory Board is established.



Army Nurse Corps held first Phyllis J. Verhonick Nursing Research Symposium.



Capt Karen Rieder assigned as director of Health Services Research Department at Naval School of Health Sciences.



Navy review of billets identified 11 that called for doctorally prepared nurse.


Institute of Medicine Committee on Military Nursing Research. (1996).The Program for Research in Military Nursing: Progress and Future Direction. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.