Military Challenging the Boards

  1. I was a Navy Corpsman for five years and California is the only state that will accept my training to challenge the board. I took the boards about a year ago and failed. I was much more confident the second go the other day. However, when it shut down at 85, I still felt overwhelmed with some of the questions. Does anyone know why California is the only state to let military challenge the board? Veterans with medical experiance and bedside care should be able to challenge the boards in every state. These states are losing out on such great people with great skills.
  2. Visit dfuller097 profile page

    About dfuller097

    Joined: Nov '08; Posts: 8; Likes: 4


  3. by   RNsRWe
    I would expect that the reason would be that while you have great experience in a very specific kind of setting, it does not translate easily to the current practices of professional nursing.

    My guess is that you are probably great at assessments and critical thinking, but lack the knowledge laid out from years of standardized education: learning lab values, current treatments available in modern hospital settings. I'm just guessing; I don't really know what your exact educational preparation was for the military jobs you held. Perhaps that's why you felt overwhelmed--you weren't prepared for the type of knowledge base needed for the test?

    Lots of people feel that given the experiences they've had, they would make great nurses, and they probably would. That doesn't negate the need for a formal education in nursing--and that's likely the reason for the BON's position in 49 States.
  4. by   uscstu4lfe
    i don't understand what you're asking
  5. by   suzanne4
    There are actually only two states that will permit a corpsman to challenge the boards and the other is Virginia as far as I remember. And that is for the NCLEX-PN exam. No state permits one to challenge the RN exam, all require that an approved school of nursing program be completed first.

    Each state sets their own requirements and they are free to do so.

    Same as with the fact that if you pass the PN exam for CA; you are unable to endorse that license to any other state except the one that is mentioned by me. However, you do need to be aware that the VA facilities in the US just require a license in the US to work there so one would be covered at any of these facilities in the US.

    CA also has the 30 unit program for the RN; and then the license is not able to be endorsed to any other state as the RN will be short several credits for the ADN and the other states all require a diploma or degree before they will permit one to get licensed.

    Best of luck to you.
  6. by   BoopRN
    Oklahoma BON allows certain military medics to challenge the LPN boards.
  7. by   BoopRN
    Good luck! I hope the wait for results is not too long for you!
  8. by   chare
    at one time west virginia allowed former service members to write either the nclex rn or nclex pn based upon military education and experience. west virginia legislature's west virginia code: chapter 30, professions and occupations, article 24, qualifications of armed forces health technicians for civilian health occupations addresses this topic. you will need to contact the west virginia board of examiners for registered professional nurses to determine if your classification qualifies.
  9. by   Thornbird
    It is true that not much credit is given for your experience since you do not get a college degree. Something you may wish to consider is Excelsior College ( they have a nursing program which accepts military corpsmen and they do provide credit for some military training. I am not sure which when it pertains to nursing. They are a military friendly school and offer discounts for military members and veterans.
    You may find that your are able to take the paramedic exam by challenge, this varies by state. Paramedic pay is generally similar to that for LPN's though the responsibilities are different.
    I have a friend who encountered the same problem you have. He took the Associate Degree RN course only to discover the the actual civilian equivalent for his former duty would be Physician Assistant, a Master's level degree.
    I wish you the best of luck. It would be nice if someday the military moved to make it easier to transition to civilian jobs that military members have the training to do.
  10. by   dfuller097
    Thanks thorn. Ive been looking into excelsior. However, I do not think that the RN boards here in California accept them. I wish they did. I have heard so many great things about them. I tried to call excelsior about a year and a half ago. They told me California will not accept thier credentials. I wonder if theres a way I could take them and just do clinicals, nclex, and then practice in another state. Ill have to call them and find out. Maybe they have been accepted by california. However, when I go to the California website they are not listed in the approved programs. So I doubt it. How hard is it to transfer the RN to another state?
  11. by   Thornbird
    Excelsior is definitely not accepted in CA for initial licensure. They don't have official policy on Excelsior for endorsement - just that they evaluate the educational background. Word is that they are not accepting Excelsior RN's with experience from out of state. You could probably call them and get a definite on that.
    If you are not staying in CA, it is accepted, either initially or by endorsement (reciprocity), in all other states. It is also acceptable in all 50 states if working for the VA.
    I think the thing overall with corpsmen challenging nursing boards is that so much of it is based on training that can't really be totally translated to civilian equivalents. A lot of your knowledge also depends upon where you served, hospital, ship, Marine Unit. You will have learned a ton of things that nurses never need to know and nothing about such things as Nursing Process, Nursing Care Plans and Nursing Diagnosis which is probably what is hanging you up with trying to challenge the Boards. I am sure you possess the clinical skills that are needed.
    One other suggestion I could make is that if you are eligible to try again to pass based on your experience, try doing Excelsior anyway, but apply to take the exam based on your challenge not the Excelsior education. Even if you just do the Nursing courses, it should give you what you need. It's really self-guided study for the exams, not just taking them cold.
  12. by   airforcemedic
    I'm an Air Force Medic and have had no luck challenging the test here on the east coast. It's really frustrating. I'm about ready to break down and just take the LPN course
  13. by   TiredMD
    Having worked with Navy Corpsmen for the last 2 years, I can tell you that as much as I love and respect them, it's really not appropriate to allow them to challenge nursing licensing exams.

    Corpsmen education is heavy on procedures and light on didactics. Their formalized education is very short and they get only minimal training in the basic sciences. As nursing becomes increasingly technical, knowledge of the science behind the practice is getting more, not less, important.

    My corpsmen can place an IV better than I can, splint almost as good, and I would trust them to intubate or crich me any day of the week. However, practicing health care at the level of an RN or LPN isn't just about the doing, it's about the understanding and figuring out. And you can't understand or figure things out unless you have a solid foundation in physiology, pathology, anatomy, and pharmacotherapies.

    These things you don't learn through experience, you learn them in a classroom.
  14. by   donsterRN
    Quote from TiredMD
    However, practicing health care at the level of an RN or LPN isn't just about the doing, it's about the understanding and figuring out. And you can't understand or figure things out unless you have a solid foundation in physiology, pathology, anatomy, and pharmacotherapies.

    These things you don't learn through experience, you learn them in a classroom.
    Very well stated. Thanks for that.