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WW II United States Navy Rating Description




The following is a reprint of the official United States Navy Rating Description for the Pharmacist Mate, Second Class, taken from NAVPERS 15386 Navy Department Bureau of Naval Personnel published 1945.



TO THE VETERAN: This rating Description is an official document of the United States navy. It has been issued to you mainly to help you get a job in civilian life which will make the best use of your naval training and experience. Don't hesitate to show it to any employer or prospective employer. Your rating description may prove to be one of your most valuable papers. Take care of it.



This description is designed to give prospective employers, employment service officials, educators and other interested persons an over-all picture of the technical responsibilities assumed, duties performed, and knowledge and skills acquired by personnel in this rating. Representative related civilian occupations are included as a placement guide.

It is the Navy's policy to issue a Rating Description booklet that most accurately reflects the dischargee's naval experience as determined by examination of his service record. For this reason, the booklet issued will not always correspond to the rating classification held by the dischargee.

Special skills, training or qualifications other than those described in the following sections may be obtained from the certificate of discharge or other separation records and by personal interview.

Enlisted personnel of the Navy are divided into two groups, rated and non-rated. The rated personnel are petty officers and are divided into four levels of responsibility and skill, ranging from third class, upward through second class and first class, to chief, which is the highest petty officer rating.


Pharmacist's mates are petty officers who, under the direction of medical officers, administer medical assistance, treatment, and services to naval personnel. They may serve in the sick bay or dispensary of a ship or shore station, at a naval hospital, or on a hospital ship. When assigned to a marine landing party, they render first aid to the injured on a battle field, or at a dressing station. Many pharmacist's mates in addition to skill, training and experience acquired in the performance of general hospital duties, take specialized training and through practical experience become competent medical technicians in such fields as X-ray, clinical laboratory, pharmacy, epidemiology and sanitation, fever-therapy, etc. Those pharmacist's mates who are employed as technicians are required to attend regular classes in general medicine to maintain skills and knowledge previously acquired.

In addition to the foregoing duties they assist medical officers in the various treatment, operating and diagnostic rooms, such as general major surgical eye, ear, nose and throat genito-urinary, physio-therapy, and x-ray. They also assist medical officers in giving physical examinations to men being considered for enlistment, promotions, discharges, and transfers.

The PHARMACIST'S MATE, Second Class, performs general nursing duties, ward, and first aid duties, while concurrently receiving advanced instruction in nursing, anatomy and physiology, hygiene and sanitation, first aid and minor surgery, materia medica, metrology, elementary pharmacy, operating room procedure, elementary physical therapy, dietetics, and clerical procedures. He supervises and instructs pharmacist's mates, third class, and hospital apprentice's, first and second class, in performance of their duties, and he receives instructions and supervision from his medical superiors. PHARMACIST'S MATES, Second Class are eligible for selection for medical technician training, which when combined with practical experience in a particular field (X-ray, clinical laboratory, pharmacy, etc.) enables them to become competent medical technicians at the conclusion of the required course of study. Each man so qualified receives a certificate, which should be consulted for confirmation of his particular medical specialty. Ordinarily by the time a man is advanced to the rating of PHARMACIST'S MATE, Second Class, he is transferred from a naval hospital to a ship or some other station.

III. DUTIES PERFORMED (Representative duties performed by a PHARMACIST'S MATE, Second Class.)

Note: Those PHARMACIST'S MATES, Second Class, who have been trained and assigned as medical technicians, and who are largely occupied in performing the duties of their specialty, do not acquire experience as extensive as do other PHARMACIST'S MATES, Second Class, who spend full time in performing the following duties.


(1) Renders nursing care to patients by making beds, preparing diets, and administering therapeutics. (2) Prepares for, and (under the direction of a medical officer) catheterizes patients under aseptic conditions and using a sterile technique. (3) Equips and arranges dressing carriages with sterile instruments, dressings, bandages, and medicines. (4) Takes post-operative care of patient by arranging bed with shock blocks; takes and records pulse, temperature, and respiration at regular intervals; and reports any serious change in a patient's condition to his medical superiors. (5) Records on a chart the details of treatment, medications, and nourishments given. (6) Performs routine duties in connection with admission of patients to ward. (7) In the event of death, notifies medical superiors, and under direction prepares, handles, and removes remains to morgue. (8) Prepares simple pharmaceutical compounds. (9) Assists medical officer in giving vaccinations and inoculations. (10) Takes charge of and supervises an x-ray file room. (11) May assist in the supervision of a ward or sick bay. (12) When aboard ship, inspects crew's quarter's commissary, kitchen's, and other sections of the ship for sanitation irregularities; when any are found he reports them to the medical officer. (13) May perform and medical duty within capabilities when called upon to do so by the medical officer. (14) May be assigned as an assistant to a medical officer in any of the following departments, performing the duties described.

(a) GENERAL MAJOR SURGICAL OPERATING ROOM: Sterilizes all instruments, dressings, and utensils. Takes care of, cleans, and sharpens instruments. Set-up and selects required material for each type of operation. Cleans and scrubs operating room before and after all types of operations. Assists medical officer as directed during the course of the operation; passes instruments, sutures, dressings, and keeps suitable materials handy to meet emergencies. Assists in applying post-operative dressings, takes temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration when necessary.

(b) SURGICAL DRESSING ROOM: Assists medical officer in applying all types of dressings. Makes and sterilizes surgical dressings. Sterilizes instruments. Prepares and positions patient for post-operative dressings. Set-up sterile tray and carriage for dressings.

(c) EYE, EAR, NOSE AND THROAT TREATMENT AND OPERATING ROOMS: Assist medical officer in all treatments, examinations, surgery, and ward rounds. Cleans clinic and sterilizes all instruments, dressings, and utensils. Gives inhalations, ointments, and instills drops. Prepares equipment and aids in administering anesthesia. Records the type and date of treatments, medications and dressings of a patient.

(d) GENIT0-URINARY EXAMINING TREATMENT AND OPERATING ROOMS: Assists medical officer in examining, treating, and operating. Sterilizes equipment, instruments, and dressings. Prepares sterile and un sterile specimens for laboratory. Prepares sedative and anesthetic hypodermics. Cleans, arranges, and equips venereal prophylaxis room. Catheterizes patients under the direction of a medical officer. Gives pre-operative or post-operative care to patients.

(e) ORTHOPEDIC DRESSING ROOM: Assist medical officer in all treatments, examinations and operations. Sets-up and arranges all material for a fracture case. Gives hypodermic or sedative under direction. Assists medical officer in applying various types of splints and appliances, frames, and traction apparatus.

(f) OUT-PATIENT TREATMENT AND EXAMINING ROOM: Receives patients and makes out all necessary clerical forms for treatment, admission or examination. Refers patients to proper departments in hospital or dispensary. Assists medical officers in all treatment, examinations, or minor operations. Arranges appointments for patients. Handles emergencies and dispatches ambulances.

(g) PHYSICAL EXAMINING ROOM: Assist medical officer in all physical examinations. Cleans physical examining room and arranges instruments, scales and charts. Performs clerical work involved in physical examinations. Takes and records temperatures, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, measurements, and height and weight of those being examined.


Note: Pharmacist's Mates, Second Class, who have been trained and assigned as medical technicians, acquire the following described knowledge through regular hospital training, but as they spend the major portion of their time in performing the duties of their specialty, they do not develop the following skills to as high a degree as other pharmacist's Mates, Second Class, who spend full time in general hospital duties.

1. Has a thorough knowledge of the preparation of various types of medical and surgical beds.

2. Is skilled in taking temperatures and converting them from or to Centigrade, Reamur, or Fahrenheit scales.

3. Has detailed knowledge of materia medica and therapeutics.

4. Has a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

5. Has a detailed knowledge of clinical charts and charting.

6. Has a thorough knowledge of the operation of a hospital linen locker.

7. Is skilled in applying pre-operative and post-operative dressings and bandages.

8. Has a general knowledge of ordinary communicable diseases, their symptoms and treatment.

9. Has a detailed knowledge of the instruments, dressings, and medications used in operating and dressing rooms.

10. Has a general knowledge of catheterization.

11. Has a detailed knowledge of the procedures and forms used in admitting and discharging patients.

12. Thoroughly understands the principles of hygiene, sanitation, and sterilization.

13. Is skilled in administering medicine orally, by injection, inhalation, and rectum, and also subcutaneously, and intramuscularly.

14. Has a general knowledge of medical forms and filing systems.

15. Has an elementary knowledge of simple pharmaceutical compounds.

16. Has a detailed knowledge of minor surgery and first aid.

17. Has a detailed knowledge of nursing, ward management, and operating room technique.

18. Has a working knowledge of chemistry.

19. Understands the preparation of diets for the sick.

20. Is skilled in giving vaccinations and inoculations.

21. Understands the use, and operation of standard hospital sterilization equipment.


A PHARMACIST'S MATE, Second Class, with the experience described above is qualified for various civilian occupations. Listed below are some of the more closely related fields of work with specific examples of suitable OCCUPATIONS.


With training in methods of using special types of therapy equipment or in methods of handling and treating animals, a PHARMACIST'S MATE, Second Class, could qualify for such jobs as OXYGEN-THERAPY-EQUIPMENT TECHNICIAN, HYDRO THERAPIST, or VETERINARY-HOSPITAL ATTENDANT.

With additional training in specific types of therapy, or in the operation of special apparatus, a PHARMACIST'S MATE, Second Class, could qualify for such jobs as ANESTHETIST, MEDICAL TECHNICIAN, DENTAL ANESTHETIST, DENTAL HYGIENIST, MECHANO-THERAPIST, ELECTROTHERAPIST, or NURSE.

With considerable training to learn to compound and dispense pharmaceuticals and qualify for state license to practice pharmacy, a PHARMACIST'S MATE second class, could qualify for such jobs as PHARMACIST, PRESCRIPTION CLERK, PHARMACEUTICAL-LABORATORY ASSISTANT or PHARMACEUTICAL DETAIL MAN.


NAVPERS 15386 (1945)



In the midst of death, they wage a war for life"