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.
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.