Army Medic to Navy/Air Force ?'s

  1. I have looked over many of the previous posts but they all came from new graduates so I was looking to get some more specific information. I am a former Army Medic/LPN (68WM6 for 6yrs), 30yrs old, and spent some time at Walter Reed in PACU. I'm in the VA Air National Guard now as a medic. I have my ADN with one year acute care dialysis and two years med/surg ICU experience on a 14 bed unit.

    In two months I'll have my Bachelor's degree and I'm working with Navy and Air Force officer recruiters to direct commission, they are both aware I am working with the other branch. I have a 3.9 GPA (had a 3.8 for my ADN) with BLS/ACLS/TNCC/PHTLS working on CCRN. The Navy is telling me I can direct commission in six months or less and Air Force is telling me about one year; but they both say I will likely get in. My wife is Army Reserve still and we only have a Jack Russell Terrier. No ties to anything, we miss active duty, we're ready to go.

    Despite being in the military for a while I don't know any active duty nurses in the Air Force or Navy, thus questions.

    1) I keep reading 60-80 hour work weeks for either branch. Is this a reality, working six 12+'s in a row? The Army never even pulled that nonsense. It seems like 80hr sustained work weeks would increase chances of errors/killing patients. Or as an ICU nurse is it more likely you follow this Panama schedule I keep reading about?

    2) I'm reading Air Force = usually 6 month deployments Navy = usually 9 month, just wanting to know what to expect. I came from Army where there were 15month deployments so I don't mind anything less than 15 months.

    3) I hear there are not many ICU openings for Air Force or Navy overseas. I would love to go every/anywhere overseas if they are willing to send me. Is it difficult to get Japan/Guam/Okinawa/Germany/Italy/Korea? Would I be better off giving up ICU and downgrading to a med/surg nurse to be able to obtain more overseas duty stations?

    4) Is one branch better than the other for obtaining overseas stations?

    4) How do you like your job? Do you find yourself as an Air Force/Navy nurse content more often than not? I ask this because I met many Army who were not content.

    5) Navy, how do you like being stationed with Marine Corps? Is that a three year duty station or how do they rotate you guys with them?

    6) Any tips/advice? I'm not doing this for money or student loan repayment. My wife will be an RN in two months too. We will make lots of money and have no kids to suck it up. We mainly just want to do our jobs and travel...and we miss the active military.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Pixie.RN
    The Army most definitely pulled that nonsense, I guess it depended on location. I didn't always work that time on shift in the ER, but with collateral duties, SANE call, and then SANE exams on top? Most definitely. During deployment with my FST, I did have one day each week when I didn't have to come to morning report, but I did get called in (20 feet from my bedroom, lol) if we received trauma patients because I was the only ER/trauma nurse. But six 12s was pretty standard there. But that's how deployments are, as I am sure you know — nonstop, 24x7!

    Good luck to you, whichever branch is lucky enough to get you!
  4. by   Fallout272
    Thanks for a nursing perspective. That was strictly deployment though, correct? When you were stateside you weren't working 6 12's?
  5. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from Fallout272
    Thanks for a nursing perspective. That was strictly deployment though, correct? When you were stateside you weren't working 6 12's?
    No, but still doing 60+ hours a week with collateral duties and SANE call.
  6. by   jfratian
    I personally don't currently experience 60+ hours per week as an active duty Air Force nurse; I average about 44-46 hours a week now in PACU and I averaged about 48-50 hours per week when I was med-surg. I teach ACLS/PALS and handle a hospital peer review program, and that takes up my extra time. I don't get the sense that anyone around me is working close to 60+ hours per week on average either. Our ER nurses work 16 12's a month (so 48 hours per week) plus extra duties, only because they have severe manning issues.

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