She graduated from nurses" training at the Medico-Chirurgical Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1904 and soon enrolled with the American Red Cross Nursing Service.
In the spring of 1908, Mission Bowman took part in the first Red Cross disaster relief operation after a tornado caused extensive damage around Hattiesburg, Mississippi. On 3 October 1908, Mission Bowman joined the newly established United States. Navy Nurse Corps as one of its first twenty members (the "Sacred Twenty"). She was promoted to Chief Nurse in 1911.
Chief Nurse Bowman temporarily left the Navy in October 1914 and spent the next several months as a Red Cross nurse caring for war casualties in Great Britain.
As the supervising nurse of Unit Doctorate, she served at Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, England for six months. She returned to the Navy in May 1915.
In early 1916 she arriived in Guam to conduct a two year course with three other nurses in modern midwifery and practical nursing at the Navy Nurse"s training school in Guam for the local Chamorro women. She also chaired the Department of Physiology and Hygiene at the normal school.
After the United States. entered World War I, she became Chief Nurse at the Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois, and guided its nursing staff during that facility"s great expansion to meet the needs of war and the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic.
She also served as chief nurse at Fort Lyon, Colorado, a Navy tuberculosis sanitarium for sailors and marines. In 1919, Chief Nurse Bowman led the first contingent of Navy Nurses assigned to the hospital ship United States Ship Relief (Animal Husbandry-1), the first Navy women to serve at sea. She became Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in December 1922 and held that position for over twelve years, until her retirement at the beginning of 1935.
As superintendent, Bowman worked hard to recruit nurses for the Navy Nurse Corps and to improve the pay benefits and uniforms for the nurses.
She advocated for military status and encouraged postgraduate education. Inspections were increased for the purpose of establishing uniform standards across all naval hospitals.
Following her departure from active duty, she made her home in Pennsylvania and stayed active in national and local nursing affairs When Navy Nurses were included in the Navy"s ranking system, she received the retirement rank of Lieutenant Commander in recognition of her service as Nurse Corps" Superintendent.
Lieutenant Commander J. Beatrice Bowman died on 3 January 1971 in Pennsylvania and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.