Army: Active Duty vs. Reserves

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    I am interested in public health nursing opportunities int he Army, BUT they do NOT currently have any active duty openings. HOWEVER, they DO have openings in the reserves. Can anyone speak to the benefits (i.e. career development, financial, etc.) of the reserves AND the possible downside? THANKS!
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    Contact the nearest healthcare recruiter in your area. Be sure you aren't getting the "used car" sales pitch though. They try to find what your primary motivator is and use that to sell the product. Figure out what you want first AND STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Remember, you're signing up for a job they need. 9/10, you won't be able to "reclass" without a lot of headaches and hole jumping. If you're lucky, you'll find a recruiter that is on the up and up. Luckily, mine was excellent. Told me the truth, even if it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear. In the end, he turned out to be Mine turned out to be a GREAT friend. We still stay in touch. Good luck with your search.
    AWanderingMinstral likes this.
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    Thanks, azariasRN. The recruiter seems pretty sharp. A reservist can receive UP TO $50K for loan repayment and UP TO $60K in special pay. I'm getting the impression it's an either/or situation OR a mix of both. I'd be lying if I said the loan repayment isn't VERY appealing to me. I have $80K in student loans between a RN diploma, BSN, and MPH. I simply want to pay down my loans, do good work, and see the world. Think the reserves are a good match?
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    Hmm, depends if your in the reserve already or not. Are you currently in the Army? Or are you planning on going Federal?
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    I'm a civilian RN now. I am primarily interested in the reserves as a means of paying down my loans AND doing the work I was trained to do (i.e. public health nursing). I recognize that I could be shipped of to WHEREVER, but, for me, that's exciting (and I've lived in a developing country before).
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    In order to go into the reserves as a public health nurse you would first need to go to officer training school. That will take anywhere from 10-12 weeks i believe (not sure). From there they will most likely send you to BOLC, which is training based on your specialty (nursing). By the time you become an officer, the public health "opening" may not be available, and based on needs, the Army can send you to whatever specialty they please, reserve or not. As azariasRN saide, contact a recruiter, and try to make sure they dont give you the used car sales pitch. Once you sign your life away, theres no turning back!
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    Currently BOLC for direct commission RNs is broken up into a online course and 4 weeks of resident training. It is mainly the field portion. You can't even get a class date for phase 2 until you are done with phase 1. Get your incentives in writing. Most of them closed for critical care after the new fiscal year. Regardless of the changes in demand, once you sign the contract with incentives written in, they are yours. Public Health nurses are needed, so you may have incentives out there for your particular field. Do you have your Master's yet?
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    P.S. start pulling in some OT hours. I've ready on here about BOLC and other nurses I've talk to locally that you usually don't get your pay until after BOLC because the system is slow to catch up. I'm pulling hours now to prep for BOLC. I commissioned last November, so kind of have a good pulse of the back end of your situation. BTW, they give constructive credit for every 2 years civilian RN time to 1 year Army. One you have sworn in, it's 1:1. That's important because you may be able to advance to 1LT. RARELY do they direct commission to CPT because you need the learning curve and room to make mistakes. As a CPT, there is little as you are being looked at for a competitive promotion to MAJ.
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    Quote from educalcu
    In order to go into the reserves as a public health nurse you would first need to go to officer training school. That will take anywhere from 10-12 weeks i believe (not sure). From there they will most likely send you to BOLC, which is training based on your specialty (nursing). By the time you become an officer, the public health "opening" may not be available, and based on needs, the Army can send you to whatever specialty they please, reserve or not. As azariasRN saide, contact a recruiter, and try to make sure they dont give you the used car sales pitch. Once you sign your life away, theres no turning back!
    In the reserves you are assigned to a billet(job slot) once you get assigned to your unit which is before you go to BOLC. You will not lose that billet while you are in BOLC and as azariasRN has stated BOLC is not 10-12 weeks long for reservist.
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    Quote from azariasRN
    P.S. start pulling in some OT hours. I've ready on here about BOLC and other nurses I've talk to locally that you usually don't get your pay until after BOLC because the system is slow to catch up. I'm pulling hours now to prep for BOLC. I commissioned last November, so kind of have a good pulse of the back end of your situation. BTW, they give constructive credit for every 2 years civilian RN time to 1 year Army. One you have sworn in, it's 1:1. That's important because you may be able to advance to 1LT. RARELY do they direct commission to CPT because you need the learning curve and room to make mistakes. As a CPT, there is little as you are being looked at for a competitive promotion to MAJ.
    Not sure about reserves, but for active duty you can get an advance of up to $2500 which should deposit around 2 weeks after requesting it. It's an interest-free loan that you repay over your first year. Your first real paycheck may take longer.

    Carefully review your constructive credit calculations. We had many people with incorrect calculations.

    We had mostly 2LTs coming straight out of nursing school, then a fair amount of 1LTs with a little experience, a handful of CPTs and a couple of Majors. On the doc side there were a couple of LTCs and even a COL. Their constructive credit is 1:1, though.


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