Career Plan Advice (SMP, BSN, USAGPAN)

  1. Good Evening,

    This is my first time posting on this website--though, I have read many articles for various questions over time. So for starters, I would just like to say that I am happy to finally be a part of this community (officially) and I appreciate all those who are so willing to share their knowledge.

    Anyway, here's my situation, I am currently a Sophomore at my Community College and I am about ~1 year away from completing my pre-requisites to apply to nursing school. I want to be in the military and serve as a DNAP. I am not currently enlisted.

    I am kind of in a financial rut at this point and I believe I have come up with a plan that might get me where I want to be in the future. I would just love some advice on it and see if it is viable. It is my understanding that the only way to commission in the Army as a Nurse is to have a BSN, so I did research at my local 4-year university and they have an ROTC program. Specifically, they have this program known as the "Simultaneous Membership Program" where you essentially get to be paid while in school to participate in ROTC/Drill with a weekend warrior unit for a contractual agreement to serve as an Officer when you graduate. I figure that it is feasible to do the SMP and attend this 4-year university and get a degree as a BSN and commission in (NG, Army Reserve, Active Duty) as a Nurse and then get my 1-year of ICU employment out of the way then apply to USAGPAN?. My question lies in the unknown of applying to USAGPAN while already having a contractual agreement for a BSN in the Army.

    Is it possible to attend USAGPAN if you already have commissioned in the Army as a (regular) nurse?

    Do any of you know of any limitations regarding SMP to USAGPAN--can one still get a GRFD scholarship and use it for tuition if one plans to apply for USAGPAN?

    Additionally, I believe the Simultaneous Membership Program requires an enlisted soldier to apply: Do you think it would be a waste of time to sign up as a 68W in the NG to apply for the SMP?

    I understand that these are very specific questions and I totally understand if you are not able to answer them fully. I appreciate any help on this matter in advance! Thanks everyone.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   jfratian
    You will not be able to start as an ICU nurse in any military branch on day 1 as a new grad nurse with no experience. The Army and AF both require clinical fellowships ((training programs for experienced nurses only), or 1 year of full-time civilian ICU RN experience, to work in the ICU. You can't apply to these until you have done 2 years as a med-surg nurse first.

    I'm pretty sure most of those full-time back to school programs in any branch of the military requires 2 years of time on station. But, yes...many people go back to CRNA school full-time while active duty. There is a competitive application to get through, however.

    In the AF, I typically see people with your goals do 2 years of med-surg, 1 year of the ICU fellowship, and 2 years as an ICU nurse before applying to those full-time, full-ride CRNA programs; so 5 years is the minimum time to apply.
  4. by   Complexicator
    Oh, I had no idea it required additional training to be employed in the ICU? If that's the case then maybe the best plan would be to commission into the guard/reserves after SMP and apply for DNAP school every time it is open. That way I could continually work/gain experience in a civ hospital (that seems like the less time-stringent way to go about it at least).

    Just to be clear. You are saying med-surg nursing in a civ setting is a necessity before even having an opportunity at getting into an ICU?

    Thanks for the fast reply!
  5. by   jfratian
    Many civilian ICUs do hire new grads into their ICUs; with enough effort you should be able to find a place to start in the ICU right off the bat. However, the military will not let you do that.

    I would advise that you don't try to do the reserves if active duty is your eventual goal. It is extremely difficult to go from active to reserves/guard. Also, I'm not sure if you'll be eligible to apply to go back to school for CRNA if you are in the reserves. If you go reserves, you may put yourself in a situation where you have to serve your reserve time (4+ years) before you can apply to go back to school.

    You best bet is to go to school on your own dime, get a year of ICU RN experience, and then enter the military. There is retroactive loan repayment that you'll be eligible for, assuming it still exists when you graduate.
  6. by   jfratian
    Sorry, meant to say reserves/guard to active duty is difficult.

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