May be too late to respond... Joining the PHS (www.usphs.gov
) can be a great experience. You get all the military benefits but without the long deployments. You are only obligated to deploy 2 weeks out of the year for a national disaster. Until Hurricane Katrina, many 20+ years officers had never deployed. THere are many pluses to joining-- if you are considering the military/uniformed service pathway and love AK go for PHS . Be warned it is more quasi military most of the officers have not been to a basic officer training school and do not know military jargon, etc. You apply to what jobs you want and what you will accept before you sign on the dotted line. Application process is about 6-8 months long. Okay here are negatives: like the military PHS promotion is very specific and you always have to be working for the next promotion ( volunteering for committees, doing extra projects), they like you to move at least 3 times in your career (up to you when, where, what). I was not a nurse in PHS I was detailed as a scientist so what I am about to say is hearsay and this is what I am not rejoining PHS-IHS as a new nurse: the IHS hospitals are usually understaffed and short on supplies and you have a very poor, inadequate training new grad training period. I dont have personnel expereince but have heard the quality of care sometimes isn't the best but not sure if that is true.
I plan to rejoin after I have 2-4 years under my belt at a large hospital so I can rejoin as a public health nurse or nurse practitioner. I do not want to be thrown into a new nurse job with 8 patients, no support staff, and little new grad training my first year out of school.
If you have more questions, feel free. I encourage people to just do it for 2 years and you can always leave after the two years. Right now they are offering a 25,000 bonus for 4 years. Most people say there must be a catch-- there isn't. It is the best kept secret of where our tax dollars are going