1-12. PRACTICAL NURSING
Department of the Army practical nursing encompasses a wide range of nursing
skills and military leadership responsibilities. The major duties of the practical nurse are
to perform preventive, therapeutic, and emergency nursing care procedures; to manage
other paraprofessional personnel; and to manage ward or unit operations. (These
duties will be discussed in Lesson 3.) Specific duties performed and skills required will
depend upon your rank, skill level, and current duty assignment. 91WM6s are the
primary enlisted personnel performing nursing care duties at the various levels of health
care. Therefore, the practical nurse must always be proficient in providing basic
practical nursing care to a variety of patients during peacetime and during mobilization.
Additionally, the practical nurse must always be able to function as an effective and
efficient soldier, demonstrating proficiency in the common soldier tasks and exercising
the principles of military leadership. The following paragraphs discuss the health care
roles filled by the M6 practical nurse.
1-13. THE M6 PRACTICAL NURSE
The M6 practical nurse may work in a ward, unit, or clinic setting. The types of
duties performed and skills required will depend upon the workplace and its immediate
mission. Duties performed may be very specialized, as in a neonatal intensive care unit
or thoracic surgery ward, or may be very broad, as on a multi-service medical-surgical
ward. The practical nurse works as a staff member giving direct patient care under the
supervision of a professional nurse while, at the same time, supervising subordinates.
The M6 practical nurse is concerned not only with direct nursing care, but with health
teaching; patient comfort and safety; clerical administration such as admissions,
discharges, consultations and referrals; and the requisition and maintenance of supplies
and equipment. At each higher grade and skill level, the M6 practical nurse assumes
increased supervisory and managerial responsibilities. As administrative duties
increase, time spent in direct patient care will consequently decrease. Rather than
perform direct patient care, the senior practical nurse will supervise and instruct
subordinates in patient care techniques.
1-14. THE M6 PRACTICAL NURSE AS MANAGER
Any M6 practical nurse may be utilized as a manager. Senior enlisted
supervisors will delegate selected administrative, logistical, or supervisory tasks to
designated subordinates so that the individual has the opportunity to learn, under
supervision, tasks needed to master the next skill level. These "mini-management"
experiences help to prepare the practical nurse for future duty positions.
a. Management experience prepares practical nurses to be Senior Clinical
NCOs or Clinical NCOs. These positions are normally held by an E6, E7, or E8 who will
manage that particular ward, unit, or section and supervise all paraprofessional
personnel assigned to that area. This supervisory experience, in turn, will further
prepare the soldier for positions of higher responsibility.