Army spouse

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    Hi everyone,
    I was wondering if there are any other military spouses who are RNs on here? I am graduating this semester and am excited to get my career started! Any advice/tips as far as getting hired as a new grad? How has it been transferring to different hospitals with every new duty station? A
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  3. 16 Comments so far...

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    Hi Kayla,
    I am for only a few more weeks as my husband is about to ETS. We got married right after I graduated nursing school and I PCS'ed with him to Hawaii. I don't want to sugar coat it, it was EXTREMELY difficult. I was able to get licensed right away, but it took about 6 months before I got my first interview in a Dr.'s office. After spending a year there making just over CNA pay, I was able to get a better paying position in an office that I like much better. This was hard to swallow considering I worked on a Rehab floor as a PCA during nursing school and was offered a position upon graduation. I put in about 250 applications to hospital jobs when I first got here but everyone returned the email stating that I did not qualify. I obtained my BSN while my husband was deployed this past year so I'm hoping that will help with any future job search. Because he is ETSing, I can't speak for the process between duty stations. I have 3 state licenses at the moment, which can get expensive to maintain, but necessary even to apply to positions in those states.
    One thing that I was misguided about was the idea that the military spouse preference and the need for nurses in the VA would be helpful. I attempted to use military spouse preference for jobs both as a nurse and even jobs around the PX and fitness centers, but didn't get a single interview. I know many spouses that have been in the same situation, but persistance is key. And hopefully other duty stations will have more available than this island does. Either way, having completed your degree and licensing is a great accomplishment and asset to the any lifestyle, so Congrats! Good luck
    KaylaNelson07 likes this.
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    I am an Army spouse and have been licensed for almost 7 years, but in that time I've only accumulated a few months short of three years experience. However, I chose to move back home each time my husband deployed, which is why I have so little experience. Nowadays it can be pretty difficult for new grads to secure positions especially if you are in a place where there is a limited number of hospitals. I was also in Hawaii and it can be very difficult to get a job there as a new grad if you don't have connections. So, military spouse preference will not be to your benefit in a location such as that. They just want experienced hospital nurses period. However, I was also in Washington state and was offered two positions in military facilities and at that time I only had a few months experience. I believe my status as a spouse gave me an edge there. So basically, it just depends on where you are and the luck of the draw. Just apply everywhere you can and get any experience you can (paid or unpaid) and it never hurts to mention that you are a spouse because you never know who's looking at your application and sees hiring you as a way of serving their country. Good luck to you and keep us updated on how it goes
    KaylaNelson07 likes this.
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    Thank you guys so much for your replies! While it's not the news I wanted to hear, it is what I was expecting. It's so unfortunate that Hawaii is overwhelmed with nurses. At this point I just want my husband to find a way out of his orders. Drill Sgt, recruiter, Korea, whatever... I'm worried that I will end up leaving the island with no experience at all. :/

    Again thanks for your responses.

    -Kayla
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    I can understand those feelings. I'm sure you will be able to find some sort of experience, it just may not be what you are hoping for. From what I hear from RNs in other locations, the market is flooded with new grads all around the country. The way I see it, if you're struggling to find a job no matter where you go, at least in Hawaii you can drown your sorrows with a Mai Tai on the beach But seriously, I've learned a lot of other things just living out here. This island is so full of culture and history, it's amazing. If his orders are for 3 years like most, definitely use that to your advantage when you apply. I tried to make it clear whenever I was asked that I was not planning on leaving anytime soon. My first employer eventually told me of some bad experiences they had hiring spouses, like only staying a couple months or moving home for a deployment short notice. Just something to think about from the employer's side.

    Either way, try not to worry about it too much (easier said than done I'm sure). Getting your ADN is quite an accomplishment. And if you do find yourself without work, it will be that much easier to focus on obtaining your BSN. Good luck!
    KaylaNelson07 likes this.
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    I'm a military spouse RN with a BSN and 6 years of experience under my belt. I graduated when jobs were plentiful; such, I have never had a problem finding RN positions (I've even managed to find work in notoriously difficult Germany exactly 2.5 months after stepping off of the plane). It's definitely more difficult now for new grad RNs to find that first nursing position, and I would say that it's probably even more difficult for the military spouse RN due to PCS and fewer networking opportunities. However, don't let that get you down! Whatever you do, DON'T remain idle while you're searching for a position. Volunteer on the base with anything that is healthcare-related (Red Cross, clinic, etc). Always consider additional education (RN to BSN programs, graduate programs, conferences). And most of all, enjoy your time in a new place with new experiences! Hubby and I are currently in Germany - I came here with the goal of finding work, but with the back-up plan of enrolling in an online graduate program and just having fun while traveling through Europe. You may never get the chance to go to Hawaii again - take advantage! I would love to be stationed there for awhile! =)
    Last edit by BeccaznRN on Feb 8, '13 : Reason: correction
    KaylaNelson07 likes this.
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    I am also a military spouse I am taking boards for my LPN on the 14th of this month, but also trying to get my RN as soon as possible due to the fact that we might be PCSing overseas... And I want to finish my clinical career part of my education without putting everything on hold and then on top of that possibly not find any work!!! considering going through Excelsior since its self paced.
    KaylaNelson07 likes this.
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    Again, thank you guys so much for your responses! Everyone is so encouraging and helpful. I loved JillyRN's comment..."The way I see it, if you're struggling to find a job no matter where you go, at least in Hawaii you can drown your sorrows with a Mai Tai on the beach But seriously, I've learned a lot of other things just living out here." Sometimes I forget that we are going to live on the beautiful beaches of Hawaii and not just some island where I'm destined to be unemployed. It's all in how you look at it. Thanks for bringing me back to the positive. I'm glad you were eventually able to find a job. My husband keeps telling me that it doesn't matter how much I make or what I'm doing as long as I gain any type of RN experience. Oh and BeccaznRN, I love your suggestion to volunteer when possible. It scares me to be 6months-2years away from nursing school, never finding a job, and falling out of touch with how things work in the medical field. Plus my resume is pretty lacking at the moment so there's that. I'm definitely going to volunteer for every single health related thing on that island. lol.

    While I would love to be a Telemetry or ED nurse some time in my nursing career, we all have to start somewhere. I definitely don't mind holding a doctors office/nursing home/any type of position if that gives me some sort of experience and opens up doors for better opportunities. I guess as of right now I'm planning on going out there and flooding the market with my resume, hand deliver cookies/resumes to all the HR offices (lol), and finish up my BSN in the mean time. Thanks again for all the advice!!
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    Good luck on your boards!!
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    I'm also an Army Spouse. I will be done in May 2014 with an ADN and I am scared to death as to what's going to happen after that. I know at some point that year, hubby will be going to AIT for his new MOS so there's the potential of moving up to 3 times that year. There may not be any time for me to gain RN experience. However, my program is going to allow me to take my LPN boards this summer so that I can at least have nursing experience.

    Ahh I am so nervous!! I really hope I have good luck getting experience and you too!!


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