FY 2014 Air Force Nursing - page 4

by SG219

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I have been following the thread for FY 2013 Air Force nursing and realize that many of the clinical nurses, including myself, were made alternates for FY 2014. The only information I have received from my recruiter is that I... Read More


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    I'll jump in here and empathize with the confusion.

    Some of it is (stereo!)typical recruiter nightmares and shell games (sometimes, sometimes they'll tell you anything if they think it will make you happy - not all of them, some of them), and some of it is you're at the mercy of the system.

    I was told I was selected for October '09 (COT 10-01) in May of '09, then in June I was told I'd be going in August; then about two weeks into July I got a call that I was back on the list for October. Then about a week later I got orders that said October - the orders are more irrefutable than anything your recruiter will tell you. Once orders are cut, money's been allotted by AFPC (AF Personnel Center - you will have an alternating love/hate relationship with that place), a body's been put in a slot, and that's it.

    I went in October.

    Bottom line is, if you're hearing October, even as an alternate, be prepared for October - have all your stuff ready to go - and then be prepared to be told something else and maybe have your eventual orders say something else. Orders are the only thing that's gospel. (And even they can change - but not usually for COT/training purposes; all that fun comes later.) It happens, it will happen throughout your career or your tenure - whichever is longest - and there's little you can do but embrace the suck, as we say (because it sucks and it gets old real quick).

    If you're ready for October, you will have nothing to worry about when and if they say, sorry, you're going in January - and then you're not spending the Christmas holidays getting mired down by crap you need to do. It will mostly be done.

    Military motto? 'HURRY UP AND WAIT'. It's the Fed's guiding mantra - or at least it always feels that way.
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    Carolinapooh,
    Thank you for your post! It is nice to hear from those who have already been through selection and COT. My wife and I were told that I am an alternate for COT Oct '13 but that we could be selected for Jan '14 as well. Our recruiter also told us that we would have a clearer idea by April or May. now that May has past and we have not heard a word from our recruiter, it is hard not to feel a little concerned. Most of the posts I have read make it seem that alternates are almost always selected eventually, which is promising. I am prior service Army so I understand the 'hurry up and wait' process but not knowing is harder now that I have a wife and kids.

    Can you give us any advice about COT or our first assignment? Like I mentioned it is nice to hear from those who have already gone through COT and are currently serving.
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    Everything I have heard says that the next COT date for active duty AF is August 19th, 2013 and the ones after that are October 7, 2013 and January 14, 2014. If you do have to wait until January to leave, you will get orders around the time that the new federal fiscal year starts on October 1st (when they have an idea what funding is available).

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/holmcenter/O...ssDates9wk.pdf

    Regardless, my overall point was that your alternate number in your specialty (which your recruiter will know) will shed some light on your chances of going with the current group of accepted nurses (and therefore replacing them as an alternate). Your best chance of being picked up 'early' was if someone declined their offer, and their deadline to accept has long past.

    You have to imagine the situation that would have to occur if you were alternate #5 and somehow made it in with the current group. 5 different people ahead of you broke their legs or committed felonies in the next couple months? That could happen. You should certainly have a contingency plan if that does occur, as carolinapooh said. However, it's more likely that you will be rolled into the next group. My recruiter, who has been doing nurse corps recruiting for over a decade, has seen many alternates picked up early. He has still told me January based on being alt #3.

    This website should be very valuable to those of you who want more info. It's the official USAF COT website. All info is open to the public.

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/holmcenter/O..._Reporting.asp
    Last edit by jfratian on Jun 3, '13 : Reason: new info
    ajboujieRN and AMEXRN like this.
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    Quote from SG219
    Carolinapooh,
    Thank you for your post! It is nice to hear from those who have already been through selection and COT. My wife and I were told that I am an alternate for COT Oct '13 but that we could be selected for Jan '14 as well. Our recruiter also told us that we would have a clearer idea by April or May. now that May has past and we have not heard a word from our recruiter, it is hard not to feel a little concerned. Most of the posts I have read make it seem that alternates are almost always selected eventually, which is promising. I am prior service Army so I understand the 'hurry up and wait' process but not knowing is harder now that I have a wife and kids.

    Can you give us any advice about COT or our first assignment? Like I mentioned it is nice to hear from those who have already gone through COT and are currently serving.
    The best advice I can give you (and I'm also prior enlisted) is to not 'sit back' and wait for your recruiter to call you. Call them - being bugged by you within reason is part of their job.

    Broken bones and felonies (I lol'd a bit) aren't the only reasons people don't go to COT. Women get pregnant, people develop disqualifying conditions, things happen in people's lives.

    At COT - stay on the people who work there in the personnel office. They will tell you stuff about pay and benefits like 'oh, they'll take care of that at your first base'. Uh, no, I need to be paid this month, not next month. Be professional but be persistent.

    Also, when you get to your first assignment, forget everything you ever learned about the Army other than the basic altruisms, like 'hurry up and wait'. I'm only saying this because you will alienate a lot of people with 'well, we did it this way'. We're no longer enlisted (and you will learn that you have to learn how to not think like an NCO - strange but true), and you're now Air Force and you're in a new AFSC (what we call an MOS). (I sound like I'm making assumptions; to a point I am, but I've seen it far too many times and it will seriously tick folks off. Also, the Army is a sensitive subject right now with USAF at certain medical centers due to all this merging. As our Chief of Staff said before he retired, it's not always as smooth as one would like it to be, and both sides feel as though toes are being stepped on and concerns ignored.)

    At the same time, young Airmen can learn a lot from your experiences. It will also put you in a different 'place' in their thinking. We all remember the priors who were officers, and what they made of the situation. Remember that.

    First assignment - as I said, forget everything about the Army. We are completely different and in a lot of very good ways (and, IMHO as a prior, a lot of not-so-good ways).

    Don't let COT infuriate you - because my guess is it will. Compared to even my basic training, it's seriously Club Fed. Use your knowledge. Remember most of your colleagues are 'straight off the street' military, just like we were in Basic. But also use your knowledge to professionally set them straight when it's warranted: several of my prior enlisted folks and myself at COT had a come to Jesus with the class about all the whining among PROFESSIONALS - 'why don't we have off base privileges' and 'the TIs are yelling at me' (hint: they don't; you get stern looks and a few well-placed remarks; I wish they COULD yell because I think it would help) and 'the flight commanders are mean' (flight commander is the instructor of your flight as you go through COT). OMG. Give me a break. We told them to go look the BOT (Basic Officer Training - the 'regular' side) folks in the face and say that - like basic trainees, they are treated like dirt for 13 weeks. Go tell our friends in Afghanistan on their second and third tours about your base privilege issues when some of them have missed their kid's first words and first steps. It's infuriating to hear some of the things these folks will cry about for five weeks. We corrected that. A lot of it.

    (And to 'civilians' reading this post - you will find COT a lot different than we did. I sound harsh, but really, there's a limit to what most of us priors can and should have to take. Base liberty is not a primary concern; no one is there to tour lovely downtown Montgomery - you're there to work, to learn, and to teach others. My motto is, it's the military. It's five weeks of your life and in the grand scheme of things, it's a matter of mere seconds. You held up your hand and swore in; this is life. I went through a lot worse in BMT, and my Army/Marine buddies went through even more. Watch the BOT students if you want a taste of what it was like for us and be glad you're there for five little weeks instead of 13 of what they're going through.)

    At the same time, help the ones above you. People will be put into leadership positions based solely on their rank. IMHO, the USAF does not adequately prepare these people nor do they really have the time to adequately equip them for the job. This is not the fault of those appointed - just like when we were enlisted. Reach out to them if they appear to be floundering (and they will - and it's not pretty - I felt very, very sorry for them). Be a leader, not a 'crusher'. Explain to the others what it is these people are facing, because they will be almost ostracized by the group as they are singled out. This is the military, and we know that - but they don't. (In other words, introduce them to the concept of 'voluntold'.)

    The Nurse Corps is not the line, and that too may frustrate you at first if you were indeed line. It did me, and it still does. Being prior line is an advantage in a lot of ways, and in a lot of ways it just makes you want to set your hair on fire because it might hurt less. LOL.

    If I sound harsh, I'm sorry - and I'm sure to the nonpriors I do. But this is what it's like for a prior - we all had a similar experience with similar frustrations. But we made it through.
    JoJo222, Enthused RN, and AMEXRN like this.
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    AH - disregard my crappy pay experience!! I just looked over AU's site. It looks as though my well-placed letter to the AETC IG had some sort of an effect (as well as the ones of those I pushed to file similar complaints) and pay issues are being addressed!! YAY!!!

    You will have a pay profile built at COT - but still, stay on them about pay. (When we were there, they couldn't build pay profiles in DFAS, and kept telling us, 'you'll get paid at your first base'. What? I got to my base the day before Thanksgiving - NOTHING was done until January - I didn't even get my travel voucher paid until 15 Jan!) It's reading as though the issue has been addressed - but still be alert.

    Also be aware your pay may still be screwed up until you get to your first base. What might happen is they pay you at (and I'm assuming you have no constructive credit, so if I'm wrong please correct me) the rate of 2nd Lt with no prior service until all of your information is finalized. At least you'll get something, though - a lot of my fellow COT folks got NOTHING and didn't do a thing about it (my flight got paid; I made sure of that; I tried to pass on the tricks but few were willing to learn from my experience). WATCH YOUR PAY CAREFULLY for the first six months (not that you shouldn't watch it carefully the rest of the time) and make sure errors are corrected. Also be sure the ZIP for BAH is correct; they screwed up mine for months. Fortunately the pay rate was exactly the same so I owed them nothing for their error.
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    Thanks for the info pooh. It helps knowing what to expect from COT. The money thing is a bit of a surprise. I would point out that for someone who advises other prior-enlists not to have chips on their shoulders, you certainly seem to have one yourself.

    I like that website that jfratian posted. There's actually the entire COT handbook on that site (although it's very boring and long) as well as complete dates and schedules for the upcoming COTs.

    I understand what pooh if saying about being persistent with recruiters. You don't want to seem uninterested, and calling them once every week or two couldn't hurt. However, I tend to agree more with jfratian as far as probability. Things happen, but you shouldn't outright expect to leave in August/October just because it's happened to some people before. You're an alternate...not a select. You shouldn't be surprised or worried at all if you don't hear anything until the next cycle starts up in the fall.

    Does it really matter anyway, though? October or January, you're still going to be an officer in the Air Force.
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    Quote from AMEXRN
    Thanks for the info pooh. It helps knowing what to expect from COT. The money thing is a bit of a surprise. I would point out that for someone who advises other prior-enlists not to have chips on their shoulders, you certainly seem to have one yourself.

    I like that website that jfratian posted. There's actually the entire COT handbook on that site (although it's very boring and long) as well as complete dates and schedules for the upcoming COTs.

    I understand what pooh if saying about being persistent with recruiters. You don't want to seem uninterested, and calling them once every week or two couldn't hurt. However, I tend to agree more with jfratian as far as probability. Things happen, but you shouldn't outright expect to leave in August/October just because it's happened to some people before. You're an alternate...not a select. You shouldn't be surprised or worried at all if you don't hear anything until the next cycle starts up in the fall.

    Does it really matter anyway, though? October or January, you're still going to be an officer in the Air Force.
    Now that's a new one for me.

    Officer training is no place for the whining that went on at COT. Seriously? No shopping privileges? Can't go out to eat? Have to keep your cell phone in your room during the day? Good grief. Perhaps I seemed to be tarring many with the same brush, but it was uncalled for, unprofessional, and childish. And it was all from people who were supposed to be licensed professionals - and adults. It happens in every single COT class to an extent, and it's completely unnecessary.

    I also stated that, since that post was addressed at a prior, a nonprior would find the experience different. But it's not about base liberty and what the person wants to do, and that needs to be checked at the door.

    Not a chip at all - just a fact. It's neither the time nor the place for that sort of nonsense. Welcome to the military.
    Last edit by carolinapooh on Jun 4, '13
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    Just curious....have been keeping up with the post, and recently saw the reference of an alternate #3 being told they were probably due up in January...I am alternate #18 in clinical nurse. Does that mean that I will not make that class?
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    KenashRN,

    Your guess is honestly as good as mine. I can only tell you what I've been told.

    It is my understanding, from my conversations over the last 9 months with my recruiter, that they use alternates to fill the next class before taking new applicants. However, I do not know how many people they typically take per cohert. I imagine it has to do with how many current active duty nurses elect to retire/decline re-sign as well as the available funding in the budget. Maybe your recruiter has some inside info regarding next year's budget...would certainly be worthwhile to ask. If you find out, please post it.

    One way or the other you probably won't hear much until around the time the new federal fiscal year starts cerca October 1st. That's not to say you should stop touching base with your recruiter every so often, but it is probably a realistic expectation at this point in the game. If you do end up reporting to COT January 14th, you would probably get an offer sometime in October/November.
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    I have been a Registered nurse for 7 years, have my BSN for two now. Worked as ICU nurse for for six of those years, worked per diem as ER nurse for four years and per diem as a flight nurse for a year and half. I had chief nurse interview and it went well, also went through MEPS without issue. I am applying for reserves as critical care nurse what are my chances of getting into COT?


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