Army Nurse Thinking going To Air Force

  1. 0 It's plain & simple, my 4yr commitment is about to be up & well I'll be honest I'm thinking about leaving the Army Nurse Corps to join the Air Force Nurse Corps.

    I'm a direct commission Critical Care Nurse who's not too crazy about the 15-18month deployment. I know all about the new incentives but money isn't an issue with me. My education & down time are, but being a 66H8A what is that?

    I spoke to an Air Force recruiter today who told me I'm eligible for about anything I want because of my time in rank (CPT) & years of experience (8yrs nursing with 2 ICU).

    I also heard Air Force treats there nurses better then the Army. Is this true?

    I have to make a decision, I was just wondering what my fellow nurses will say.



    Thanks
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  3. Visit  Bronx1560} profile page

    About Bronx1560

    Bronx1560 has '13' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Open Heart, Flight/Tramua/ER/ICU'. From 'From Bronx NY, Lives in MD'; 39 Years Old; Joined Jan '07; Posts: 54; Likes: 20.

    15 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  wtbcrna} profile page
    0
    Quote from Bronx1560
    It’s plain & simple, my 4yr commitment is about to be up & well I’ll be honest I’m thinking about leaving the Army Nurse Corps to join the Air Force Nurse Corps.

    I’m a direct commission Critical Care Nurse who’s not too crazy about the 15-18month deployment. I know all about the new incentives but money isn’t an issue with me. My education & down time are, but being a 66H8A what is that?

    I spoke to an Air Force recruiter today who told me I’m eligible for about anything I want because of my time in rank (CPT) & years of experience (8yrs nursing with 2 ICU).

    I also heard Air Force treats there nurses better then the Army. Is this true?

    I have to make a decision, I was just wondering what my fellow nurses will say.



    Thanks
    I can't give an unbiased opinion between AF and Army, but I can give you some facts/advice.

    1. AF deployments are 4-6mo, usually. AF considers a manning assist to Landstuhl for 4months as a deployment!
    2. AF nurse corps has the longest promotion time to major, so if you are anywhere close to making major I would stay in the Army until you pinned on Major and then transition over. The average time for an AF nurse to make major right now is 12-14 total time assuming that you came in as a new nurse or 8-10 after Captain. Don't listen to you recruiter if he trys to tell you any different!
    3. The AF medical facilities are generally very small compared to the Army.
    4. ER/ICU nurses usually have the worst jobs/worst schedules and are expected to take up the slack for the other nurses (ie. med-surg nurses). Sorry, if that upsets any med-surg nurses, but I have seen this at three different bases so far.
    5. If down time and education are your priorities right now....I suggest not going to any AETC bases (ie Wilford Hall, Keesler, etc).


    One other consideration besides the AF is USPHS...it is not the military/no real deployments, but it offers the same benefits/pay as the military. I am currently going school with a USPHS officer that was a Captian in the AF just over two years ago and is now an O-5/Commander in the USPHS.

    Good Luck!

    Hope this helps a little bit.

    Capt E, USAF, NC
    Last edit by wtbcrna on Oct 6, '07
  5. Visit  NursePamela} profile page
    0
    Ok, Maybe I am just having a pneumo-cerebrism but what is USPHS?

    Thanks,

    Pam

    In regards to whether to go Air Force or stay Army or? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Looking at it from that angle, will that help?
  6. Visit  MagRedC5} profile page
    0
    Quote from wtbcrna
    I can't give an unbiased opinion between AF and Army, but I can give you some facts/advice.

    1. AF deployments are 4-6mo, usually. AF considers a manning assist to Landstuhl for 4months as a deployment!
    2. AF nurse corps has the longest promotion time to major, so if you are anywhere close to making major I would stay in the Army until you pinned on Major and then transition over. The average time for an AF nurse to make major right now is 12-14 total time assuming that you came in as a new nurse or 8-10 after Captain. Don't listen to you recruiter if trys to tell you any different!
    3. The AF medical facilities are generally very small compared to the Army.
    4. ER/ICU nurses usually have the worst jobs/worst schedules and are expected to take up the slack for the other nurses (ie. med-surg nurses). Sorry, if that upsets any med-surg nurses, but I have seen this at three different bases so far.
    5. If down time and education are your priorities right now....I suggest not going to any AETC bases (ie Wilford Hall, Keesler, etc).


    One other consideration besides the AF is USPHS...it is not the military/no real deployments, but it offers the same benefits/pay as the military. I am currently going school with a USPHS officer that was a Captian in the AF just over two years ago and is now an O-5/Commander in the USPHS.

    Good Luck!

    Hope this helps a little bit.

    Capt E, USAF, NC
    Hey Capt E [A.K.A. wtbcrna], I'd like to validate almost word for word your reply!

    Wow, this thread hits close to home... well not home since I'm presently deployed OCONUS to Iraq for 15 months. I'm an ANC officer [8A], newly promoted CPT [MAY 07], with 12 yrs military service [8 yrs prior service enlisted USMC].

    My room-mate & I have had several discussions over this very same topic. He is a 1LT, fairly new 66H, but close to 10 years prior enlisted AF. I've asked him why he did not go AF nursing. He told me the AF medical facilities are smaller, as well as not as many compared to Army Medical Centers [not even counting the Army Community Hospitals]. Also, the AMEDD [Army Medical Dept.] gave him a sizable sign-on bonus towards school loan debt payments. However, sometimes he'd like to kick himself in the butt, he says, with the AF deployments being much shorter and better treatment in the AF. My room-mate [remember prior AF] mentioned rank for AF officers is slower compared to the AMEDD.

    Yes, it is terrible in the Sandbox. Especially, being away from my wife for so long. We are getting a four day pass [+travel time], as well as 18 days [+travel] R&R to CONUS during this 15 month deployment. The AMEDD just came out with some new bonus options for re-committment D/T they are hurting for ANC officers.

    Still, I envy the AF folks with shorter deployments. I'd rather deploy for six months, even with shorter rotation time.
  7. Visit  wtbcrna} profile page
    1
    Quote from NursePamela
    Ok, Maybe I am just having a pneumo-cerebrism but what is USPHS?

    Thanks,

    Pam

    In regards to whether to go Air Force or stay Army or? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Looking at it from that angle, will that help?

    USPHS=United States Public Health Service. Here is the link http://www.usphs.gov/AboutUs/
    MagRedC5 likes this.
  8. Visit  NursePamela} profile page
    0
    Thanks for the link on the USPHS. I had no idea they were out there.
    I would be curious to know more.
  9. Visit  Gennaver} profile page
    0
    Quote from NursePamela
    Thanks for the link on the USPHS. I had no idea they were out there.
    I would be curious to know more.
    Hi,
    If you send an inquirey the head recruiter for them is really good about returning the call and sharing information. He told me that they would recognize time in the Military and it would reflect on your GS status. He also told me that if you are in the Military under eight years it is a much simpler transfer than if you were active duty for over eight, (but you can still transfer, it is just more paperwork).

    I'd heard from some coworkers that thought you applied for the job first then for the USPHS but, I think that is for civilian non USPHS employees.

    Best,
    Gen
  10. Visit  wtbcrna} profile page
    0
    Quote from Gennaver
    Hi,
    If you send an inquirey the head recruiter for them is really good about returning the call and sharing information. He told me that they would recognize time in the Military and it would reflect on your GS status. He also told me that if you are in the Military under eight years it is a much simpler transfer than if you were active duty for over eight, (but you can still transfer, it is just more paperwork).

    I'd heard from some coworkers that thought you applied for the job first then for the USPHS but, I think that is for civilian non USPHS employees.

    Best,
    Gen
    Good information Gen, but remember that USPHS are not GS workers. Their pay scale is just the same as ours.
  11. Visit  sdrn04} profile page
    0
    Hi, I have been in a GS nursing position for a about 6 months now but would love to be a part of the uniformed service. I'm really interested in the USPHS because I have small children and am not interested in long deployments. I was just wondering how much better the pay and benefits are compared to GS. I've looked at the pay scale table, but how do they compare considering the benefits? Thanks for any help!

    Stephanie
  12. Visit  wtbcrna} profile page
    0
    Quote from sdrn04
    Hi, I have been in a GS nursing position for a about 6 months now but would love to be a part of the uniformed service. I'm really interested in the USPHS because I have small children and am not interested in long deployments. I was just wondering how much better the pay and benefits are compared to GS. I've looked at the pay scale table, but how do they compare considering the benefits? Thanks for any help!

    Stephanie
    Same benefits as regular active duty military...Is that what you were wondering? The link in the above post has list of benefits/faqs page. I can tell you that the starting pay will be higher than the military branches, because you start out at a higher rank and you will make rank quicker in USPHS.
  13. Visit  BSNinTX} profile page
    0
    Quote from sdrn04
    Hi, I have been in a GS nursing position for a about 6 months now but would love to be a part of the uniformed service. I'm really interested in the USPHS because I have small children and am not interested in long deployments. I was just wondering how much better the pay and benefits are compared to GS. I've looked at the pay scale table, but how do they compare considering the benefits? Thanks for any help!

    Stephanie
    I am days away from converting from GS (well, actually GL) to Public Health Service. Uniformed services retirement is noncontributory, which means you don't pay into it, and you get 2.5% per year of service with a 20 year minimum committment. That's extra money in your pocket. Medical insurance premiums are very small compared to GS benefits, so more money. Base pay you can find on the pay table and is taxable. You also get a subsistence allowance of $192/month non-taxed as well as a housing allowance based on location, rank, and dependent status. Do a web search for BAH calculator and you'll be able to find out what it would be for you. BAH is not taxed either. So, overall you will almost certainly come out ahead as a uniformed PHS officer than GS.

    Add to that GI Bill benefits, VA home loan, etc., etc., etc., and Public Health Service looks pretty good. The down side is that if you don't do 20 years, you get no retirement. No vesting, no carry away some portion of it, nothing. So, if you plan to go PHS, you do it one of two ways: short term to qualify for GI Bill or get student loans paid off OR for the long haul.
  14. Visit  sdrn04} profile page
    0
    Quote from BSNinTX
    I am days away from converting from GS (well, actually GL) to Public Health Service. Uniformed services retirement is noncontributory, which means you don't pay into it, and you get 2.5% per year of service with a 20 year minimum committment. That's extra money in your pocket. Medical insurance premiums are very small compared to GS benefits, so more money. Base pay you can find on the pay table and is taxable. You also get a subsistence allowance of $192/month non-taxed as well as a housing allowance based on location, rank, and dependent status. Do a web search for BAH calculator and you'll be able to find out what it would be for you. BAH is not taxed either. So, overall you will almost certainly come out ahead as a uniformed PHS officer than GS.

    Add to that GI Bill benefits, VA home loan, etc., etc., etc., and Public Health Service looks pretty good. The down side is that if you don't do 20 years, you get no retirement. No vesting, no carry away some portion of it, nothing. So, if you plan to go PHS, you do it one of two ways: short term to qualify for GI Bill or get student loans paid off OR for the long haul.
    Thanks so much! You provided the answers I was looking for. I just want to make the most informed decision so that I don't have any regrets in the future. By the way, which agency are you going to be employed with? It seems to be a great opportunity with all of the different nursing paths they offer. Thanks again and keep us posted on how everything goes.

    Best of luck,
    Stephanie
  15. Visit  BSNinTX} profile page
    0
    Quote from sdrn04
    Thanks so much! You provided the answers I was looking for. I just want to make the most informed decision so that I don't have any regrets in the future. By the way, which agency are you going to be employed with? It seems to be a great opportunity with all of the different nursing paths they offer. Thanks again and keep us posted on how everything goes.

    Best of luck,
    Stephanie
    I'm converting from GL to Public Health Service but remaining at the same Bureau of Prisons facility. Public Health Service places a lot of value on mobility, geographic and programatic, for promotion. So, the many paths offered are not only personally rewarding, they are important for career progression. FYI, promotion beyond O-3 is competitive.


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