Navy Corpsman to Nursing

  1. Salutations!

    I am currently enlisted as a FMF Corpsman with a little less than a year left on my contract. I've worked 3 years in a military ER and spent 2 with the Marines. I've decided that I loved trauma medicine and the hands on care that nurses provide. My question is, what would be the best route for obtaining a nursing degree? Any advice or personal experience would be greatly appreciated.
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    About DocNasty8

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 2; Likes: 1


  3. by   Ardneth
    I'm assuming that you are referring which path to take for RN (ADN, BSN, LPN/LVN then bridge to RN). I had some of the same questions and like you, I know that I want to work ER/trauma. I did some research on job openings and talking to people in the trauma field and found that a lot of the large trauma centers (lvl 1) were looking for BSN nurses only (especially if you were a new grad) and so I decided to do an accelerated BSN program. However, just remember YMMV.
    It is more of a personal decision that you have to make for yourself as everyone will have their own take on what you should do or what they decided to do. Have you tried searching the site here? There are dozens upon dozens of posts asking the same question on which path to take. It might help to go back through and read the existing posts since there are so many. Try just typing in 'ADN or BSN' into the search bar and you will come up with a lot.
  4. by   DocNasty8
    Yes, that is correct. I do know of a program to go from Corpsman to LVN, but I looked into some programs for the bridge to RN and it would be basically the same amount of schooling. So I figured I should just get into a regular RN program. From the nurses I have talked to before, suggested that I get my ADN just to get my foot in the door then move on to BSN, however I didnt know that about the level 1 trauma centers which is where I would like to end up. As far as schools go, would you suggest going to a school with a more well known name? From what I understand Hospitals do look at that as well.

    Thank you for your reply.
  5. by   Ardneth
    Again, you have to remember, this is simply based on the research that I did before deciding on my path. I have no doubt there are people here who will tell you that they made it into ER/trauma without a BSN. However, in the research that /I/ did (which was no means all encompassing) that seemed to be the exception rather than the rule.

    Again, with the choice of schools, you're asking another question that is full of opinions and controversy. Some people will swear that the school makes a difference and others will swear that it makes no difference. I am of the opinion that it makes no difference, though I am attending a fairly well known program (and therefore more expensive program). However my reasons are personal and not because I'm after the school name for my resume. Instead it has to do with the length of the program and other more personal factors such as having family near the program and the ability to get into the program.

    Again, this is only my opinion and no matter who you ask, you'll get a different answer. My best suggestion is the same as before. Sit down and do your own research and take everyone's opinion (including mine) with a grain of salt. Research positions, research and try to ask questions of current nurses in the field you are interested in (so in your case, try to find nurses who work at lvl 1 trauma centers - try posting in the Emergency room section of the nursing specialties and indicate you are looking for input from nurses currently working in a lvl 1 trauma center). Finally, if you know you are interested in working at a specific hospital or group of hospitals, research and ask questions of them specifically. Also use the search function here to try to simply gather information/opinions to help you form your own. It's a pretty good bet that if you have a question about what you should do or a program, then someone else has had the same question and you'll find an existing post (or a hundred ) chock full of advice that can help you to make up your own mind.
    Last edit by Ardneth on Jun 13, '11
  6. by   PMFB-RN
    I dd army medic to associates degree RN in less than a year. I challenged the LVN boards in California (corpsmen can too) then moved to Wisconsin and did LPN to RN in two semesters at one of Wisconsin't technical (community) colleges and used CLEP to satisy all the gen ed classes. I then was hired into a 9 month nurse residency program for new grads going directly into ICU. At the time there was no problem for associates degree grads to go directly into speciality areas of nursing. According to people here that is not the case anymore.
    I have since done transport nursing and loved it. Currently doing rapid response nursing and it is a blast. Tons of autonomy.
    I suggest you try to get into a nurse residency program after you become an RN. Also some things to think about. Don't discount level II trauma centers. There are a lot more of them and they get all the exact same trauma as level I. The only difference between level I & level II is that level I has a neuro surgeon in house, level II has one on call. Consider ICU, particularly SICU if you can get in. All the ERs love to see ICU experience and that is were you will learn the critical care skills. Also transport (air & ground) likes to see ICU, not ER experience.
    An army buddy also challenged the California LVN NCLEX and then did Excelsior LVN to RN and is currently the nurse manager of a large hospital ER and makes bank.
    It is probably true that a BSN will be helpful in getting into the kind of work you want to do now days. However that said new grad jobs are hard to come by reguardless of degree. If you are willing to move to where the jobs are you will find it easier to get what you want.
  7. by   Animal3
    If you have the time to complete a BSN program I say go for it, if not the ADN is a great route. I just finished up my ADN program in May and the GI bill paid for ALL of it and gave me BAH (E5 dependent rate) while in school. The best advice I can give if you can take pre reqs NOW using TA! I wish I would have when I was in, it would have saved me a lot of time and saved me some GI Bill. Oh BTW I was an HM as well, and my experience helped a great deal in school. Good Luck!
  8. by   RN1980
    former active duty army 91b and current national guard 68w and civillian icu/er rn here. found myself in same place you are in at present. after i ets'd i rode ems for a few yrs while going to nsg school. did adn then upgraded to bsn. i work fulltime in a 10 bed mixed icu and 22 bed er and partime at umc med cntr er. both of my er directors love talking to new nsg grads adn or bsn that have prior millitary medic exp. they have vasty more pratical exp. dont sell yourself short..start taking pre req classes now while using tuition assist, start looking at schools you want to goto, start figuring out how you plan on paying for school and supporting yourself. start getting things lined up now not later.
  9. by   EmergencyNrse
    Welcome brother. Thank you for serving.
    I'm busy with a transport right now but shoot me a
    private message and I can point you in the right direction.

    Our career pathways are similar...

    Corpsman Up!