CVN-71

Navy Hospital Corpsman

The HM/HMDA Ratings

Hospital Corpsman rating insignia

The Surgeon's Steward rating was established in 1838, and in 1866 the rating name changed to Apothecary. In 1898, the Apothecary rating had its name changed to Hospital Steward, and in 1917 to Pharmacist's Mate. Finally, in 1948, the Pharmacist's Mate rating was changed to today's, familiar, Hospital Corpsman.

Hospital Corpsmen perform duties as assistants to medical and dental professionals in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury, and assist health care professionals in providing dental and medical care to Naval personnel and their families. They may function as clinical or specialty technicians, medical administrative personnel and health care providers at medical treatment facilities. They also serve as battlefield corpsmen with the Marine Corps, rendering emergency medical treatment to include initial treatment in a combat environment.

Qualified Hospital Corpsmen may be assigned the responsibility of independent duty aboard ships and submarines; Fleet Marine Force, Special Forces and Seabee units, and at isolated duty stations where no medical officer is available.

Hospital Corpsman class "A" school is approximately 19 weeks in duration, and the school is located in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The HM rating requires a five-year enlistment obligation.

Hospital Corpsman (HM)

The duties performed by HMs include assisting in prevention and treatment of disease and injuries, caring for sick and injured, administering immunization programs, rendering emergency medical treatment, instructing Sailors and Marines in first aid, self aid and personal hygiene procedures, transporting the sick and injured, conducting preliminary physical examinations, performing medical administrative, supply and accounting procedures, and maintain treatment records and reports, supervising shipboard and field environmental sanitation and preventive medicine programs, and supervising air, water, food and habitability standards.

Qualified technicians perform clinical laboratory tests and operate sophisticated laboratory equipment; take and process X-rays and operate X-ray equipment; fill prescriptions, maintain pharmacy stock; serve as operating room technicians for general and specialized surgery; do preventive maintenance and repairs on biomedical equipment, including kidney dialysis machines, radiation monitors, hearing and vision testing machinery, heart and lung test apparatus, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and CT scan equipment.

Hospital Corpsman - Dental Assistant (HMDA)

A Hospital Corpsman Dental Assistant will perform duties as a general dental assistant to include dental infection control, dental treatment room management, preventive dentistry, comprehensive dental assisting, and intraoral radiography. Some are qualified in dental prosthetics (making and fitting artificial teeth), in pharmacy and chemistry or in maintenance and repair of dental equipment.

All HMDA recruits will attend the Dental Assistant School upon completion of Hospital Corpsman "A" School. Dental Assistant training is 40 days in duration and provides instruction in dental infection control, dental treatment room management, preventive dentistry, comprehensive dental assisting, and intraoral radiology.

Career Sea - Shore Rotation Chart

Rating's Sea (SEA) Shore (SH) Rotation (months)
Rating SEA1 SEA2 SEA3 SEA4 SEA/SH
HM/HMDA Career path not defined by sea-shore rotation
SH1 SH2 SH3 SH4
Career path not defined by sea-shore rotation

Note: Enlisted sea shore rotation career paths for the Hospital Corpsman rating are dependent upon the Sailor's specific NEC or specialty. Sailors in the HM rating can expect 36-month sea tours followed by 36-month shore tours except for those with NECs that are shore-intensive. Those with operational extensive NECs can expect longer sea tour lengths.

Qualifications, Interests, and Working Environment

A sincere interest in providing general health care is extremely important for this rating. People in the HM rating must relate well to other people and work well as a part of a team. It is important that candidates have good communication skills, writing and arithmetic ability, manual dexterity, dependability, trustworthiness, a good memory, resourcefulness and backgrounds or interests in the sciences. Other important qualifications are competence with tools, equipment/machines, physical stamina and the ability to do repetitive tasks without losing interest. Hospital Corpsmen work in a variety of environments.

Most HMs work indoors at hospitals or clinics with doctors, dentists and nurses. Others work aboard ships and submarines; with air squadrons, special operational environments (i.e., SEAL, Recon Forces, Seabee units and Deep-sea Diving). Duties are service oriented, repetitive and require good judgment and mental alertness.

The Hospital Corpsman Dental Assistant rating requires the member to have normal color perception. To otherwise enter the HM rating, color perception is not an issue. Members of this rating are not required to be citizens of the United States.

Licensed physicians, dentists, nurses, or graduates of a medical, dental, or nursing school in any country are ineligible for this rating. No history of drug abuse or commission of offenses involving alcohol, narcotics, or other controlled substances with the exception of experimental or casual use of marijuana (adversely adjudicated drug abuse or alcohol related offenses will not receive waiver consideration). HM's may work alone or with supervision by other health professionals, depending on the assignment. The ASVAB Test requirement.

Credit Recommendations

The American Council on Education recommends that semester hour credits be awarded in the vocational certificate or lower division bachelors/associates degree categories for completed in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), advanced first aid, nursing techniques, health and hygiene, medical terminology and clinical technologies while attending class (A) and (C) schools.

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