Airforce Reserves Nursing

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    I'm an ICU RN, BSN and considering doing the Airforce Reserves instead of going active duty. The commitment to relocating right now and working full time on base is just too much for my fiance to handle, this is a better comprise. I've read online that usually if they need to deploy anyone they ask for volunteers and most of the time they don't have to force anybody to go. Does anybody have any insight on that?

    Also, what are the chances that they would pay for me to go to CRNA school or at least help me pay for CRNA School?

    Lastly, If I choose to do 3 month travel nursing assignments throughout the US, will they let me serve my weekend a month near the base I'm currently living at?

    Thanks for any advice or comments.

    P.S. I heard a rumor that the sign on bonus was about $45,000 for a BSN 6 year contract.
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    Do I gather that you don't want to deploy? Deployment is when your skills and training are put to use. Don't forget that you can be activated indefinitely at any time. Monthly drill is required at your base. That is where you get the training and skills you need to deploy, as well as the schools you will have to go to. Money for degrees is available but requires a commitment commiserate with the cost, the details vary by unit. For bonus information call a recruiter. It is incredibly rewarding but requires a big commitment.
    Last edit by nurse2033 on Aug 16, '12 : Reason: spelling
    lindarn likes this.
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    Well I don't mind deploying really, I think it would be a growing experience and a challenge. It's really my Fiance that is disturbed at me being sent away for months and her not being able to come with me. I'm aware that at any time there was a dire need I could be forced to go Active and would be committed to that. Although I've not heard of that happening often. I would do what I must to support my Country when there was a need.

    As far as using the Post 9/11 GI Bill to help pay for my CRNA degree, I wasn't aware that you were required to serve back more time for using that asset. I've also thought of using the HPSP to get through CRNA school but I know that I would be required to serve back (3?) years Active post graduation.
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    Thank you for clarifying about deployment. I get pretty ticked at people who want military benefits without giving back. I'm not up on all the details of the GI bill. A recruiter would be a much better source of information, or the google. In my state, Wyoming, the Guard has a special relationship that allows for further money for education within the state. In my opinion, you should serve because you want to, and then avail of the benefits without actually counting on them. But, many people do join specifically for degree purposes. It will take you a lot longer though, because you have to fulfill all your current schools and job requirements, which leaves little time for school. I've only been home for a few months in the past year with schools and deployments. Most people I know who joined to use their GI bill have taken many years to complete degrees. As for your fiancee I would hope they would support you in the things you want to do. I gave up military dreams for my ex, but luckily was able able to serve once we got divorced. Good luck.
    bigsick_littlesick likes this.
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    Thanks for the advice nurse2033, maybe I'll see you around base someday.
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    As far as where you serve, you would be assigned to a particular unit at a particular location, so you would have to plan on going back each month to that locations for your drill.
    With regard to deployment, my understanding (I am previous Army going AF Reserve so not 100%) is that you have a sort of "on call" period, I think they called it a "bucket" where you are subject to deployment. From what I was told, most of the people who have deployed from my gaining unit did it voluntarily, but I am sure not all of them. Of course any time you are in the reserves you are subject to deployment-- obviously that is the purpose of having the reserves! But I think they have worked hard to provide some sort of order/predictability.
    Sign on bonus depends on the job you take in the reserves. Some positions are harder to fill and therefore pay a better bonus that others. It also seems to be in a constant state of change, so you would best ask a recruiter.
    If you check out the GI Bill website you will see the rules-- I earned mine on active duty so it was a little different and I am not sure how it relates to reserve service. The Army definitely has programs like STRAP that pay for education while you serve, I am sure the air force has equivalent ones. If you haven't already, I would start talking to a recruiter. The process is very long. Good luck!
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    I've started some of the paperwork now. The 21 page Questionnaire that asks every person place or thing you've ever known, seen or touched was especially fun. Of course then you must list a secondary person with a name address and phone number to verify everything you list. haha, what a joy. Thanks for the helpful advice!
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    Bluebolt... have you gotten any information regarding AFR as a travel nurse? I have been traveling for about a year now, and I submitted and withdrew my paperwork about a year and a half ago when I started my divorce. I'm wondering if anyone successfully manages both and how they do it... THANKS!
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    The AF Reserves offers a bonus only in critically short career fields such as OR, ICU, ER, and Flight Nursing. The bonus is $15,000/yr for a 3 yr contract. You would only qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill if you were on active duty a certain amount of days after 9/11 happened. I am currently active duty AF and will transition to the reserves in December since I will be starting a civilian nurse anesthesia program and will be using my Post 9/11 GI Bill to cover the cost. Even though the school I am going to is a private school and the GI Bill only covers a portion, the school I am attending participates in the Yellow Ribbon program and will cover the rest of my tuition. So basically, I will have free tuition, a housing allowance of $1800/month and a stipend of $1000/yr for books. I can't complain at all. On active duty I also get the $20,000/yr bonus for the 4 yr contract I signed with them 4 years ago and I was able to save well over 6 figures to live off of while in CRNA school since I moonlighted a lot on the side.

    You are right that deployments in the reserves are optional. On my unit, we have several AF Reserve nurses who work as GS nurses at our military hospital and they do their drill on the weekends. They said if you get tasked for deployments, there are always others who will volunteer to go for you. If push came to shove and they really needed you to go as an ICU nurse, you could decline the deployment and switch over to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) where you will not deploy because you will be placed in an inactive status. I have also verified this information with several Reserve Chief Nurses, since this is the only reason why I am leaving active duty is to finish CRNA school and definitely don't want to deploy during that time.

    As I am typing this message to you, I am currently deployed to a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Afghanistan. Been here since September and will be out of here in March home in my own bed. It's been a good deployment and the awesome thing about deployments is you get work outside your normal scope of practice. Since we only have 2 anesthesia providers, when we have mass casualties, I've been trained to intubate patients, place central lines, and arterial lines. I do my anesthesia machine checks in the morning and go through all the required checks. It's awesome. I run the Level I and the Belmont Rapid Infuser in addition to my duties as the senior ICU and trauma nurse. Nowhere in the US would you ever be allowed to do it as an ICU nurse but when you are deployed, its about saving our troops lives.

    Good luck to you. The Air Force rocks!!
    kstewar5, chelseyrn, JenRN30, and 2 others like this.
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    SRNA4U:

    Hi! I know this post is a little dated for this year but it seems you would have the knowledge for the situation I am currently in. I recently was commissioned to be a flight nurse in April. I have not been through COT and I recently was accepted to CRNA school. I talked to my CO and he stated that he does not believe that I will be able to accomplish both school and my commitment to the unit. He mentioned of possibly dropping my commission. I would still like to stay within the military and I am looking for anyway to do so. I had a few questions.

    Would I be able to possibly transfer to another unit with possibly less time commitment where I could accomplish both?

    Is there any other program that I could be in while I school then possibly have a contract for when I graduate?

    Any help would be much appreciated!


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