I am considering going army

  1. I will be graduating in May with my BSN and last semester we had some recruiters come speak with us about enlisting in the military. With a bachelors degree in nursing one would automatically start as an officer. I would enlist full time should I decide to go.The pay is about the same compared to where I live, but the benefits and retirement is a biggie, especially since I'm 35 years old. Has anyone out there went this route and care to tell me anything about it? A couple of people that are not nurses, but are in the reserve, tell me to check it all out thoroughly, because the recruiters will basically tell you "anything" to sugar coat it. Whether it be good or bad, I need help and your input. Thanks a lot.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   cmggriff
    I think there are several of us on this board that are vets. I was in both the Army Reserves and the Air Force. The Air Force has better stuff. As an active duty officer in any of the uniformed services, you must get promoted or get out. This is no real problem up to the rank of Captain (03). After that things get vvery competitive. To make Major (04) you will probably have to have a Masters. You will eventually be forced to move into an administrative position. It is possible to become the head of a clinic with very little bedside experience. I have seen this and found it to be a less than ideal situation. But if admin is where you want to practice there is no better way to get there than the service.
    If you are in uniform there is a very good chance you will at some point find yourself in some stinkhole not located on any map you have ever seen. You will be surrounded by people who don't like you and who wish you harm. You will be a target. So, if you raise your right hand and say "I do", keep your head and ass down and volunteer for nothing. Gary
  4. by   diannerodgers
    Hi, Tina,

    Let me see if I can be a bit more helpful than Gary. LOL (However, believe and heed his last sentence!!).

    The number one thing you need to consider is your family situation. Do you have children at home, or even a husband, whom you would hate to leave for a long period of time, to go to a place such as Gary described? If so, do not join the Army. Actually, do not join the Army at all--I am an Army vet of 13 years, 8 months and 23 days--I was a medic '66-'70 and an Army nurse ''78-'88--join the Air Force. They ARE wimps, but it's easier to pass their PT test, and you only have to do it once a year instead of every 6 months!! They don't understand that God gave you brains and you'd hide instead of running. The uniforms aren't as cool as the Navy, and you don't get to go to sea for 6 months at a time. I always wanted to be in the Navy--they just are way too rank oriented, sexist, and would never GUARANTEE me what I wanted. Besides, you can fly in the Air Force.

    Gary's also right about not trusting the recruiter. What I had my daughter and son do before they enlisted was call a person in the job they wanted and talk to them. You just call the main post number, ask for the hospital, pick a unit--med/surg, ER, ICU--and ask to speak with a Lieutenant on duty. The best time to do this is the middle of the night and not on the hour or half hour.

    As for rank, the military will pay to send you to school--75% of the tuition and you can get MSN completely online, now. You can even do nurse practitioner with several schools as a distance learning situation. There are several service schools you will be required to attend for promotion purposes, most is correspondence--probably online now, too.

    I had a blast; some of my best memories and dearest friends came of my military experience. But, when I had children 2 and 3 years old, I knew I would not go anywhere that took me away from them--I was 36 when I had my first child.

    So, evaluate your situation. If you feel you can't deal with the harsh realities of the military, but like the pay and benefits, join the USPHS Commissioned Corps--you'll be stateside, not required to move, eligible for paid training, and have the same pay, benefits, and retirement of the US Armed Forces.

    There is also the Federal Civil Service which is not a bad option as retirement goes--Department of Defense (Army, Air Force, Navy), VA hospitals, Bureau of Prisons (you have to hurry, cause you have to get in before you are 37)--they're desperate for help as is the Indian Health Service (where I am now, having a ball again!). You can travel all over the world with DOD, and all over the US west of the Mississippi with the IHS, all over the US with the VA (they have a lot of hiring freezes, though, but nurses can usually squeeze by them cause they always need nurses--most are teaching hospitals, so you can learn a lot). One of the best things about working for the Feds is you only need the one nursing license--unless of course you want to moonlight with a local agency. Indian Health Svc still moves you just like the military; provides housing at very reduced rent on the reservations, but not in the cities. and when you get ready to transfer you just find a job where you want to go without interruption of pay or benefits!

    Enough babble!

    Hope this helps.
    Congrats on your graduation,
    Dianne

    Good Luck,
    Dianne in Phoenix

    As long as the military is number one in your life it will be a win-win situation.
  5. by   live4today
    Hi Artina,

    Gary and Dianne have both given you some very sound advice, and ALL true, so take your time and research the possibilites BEFORE signing on the dotted line.

    I am a former DOD nurse, so I have worked with plenty of military nurses. The military does offer great benefits, especially educational bennies that you probably won't get in the civilian sector of hospitals. Civilian nurses who work in military hospitals don't get educational benefits like their military nursing peers which always was a pet peeve of mine when I worked my butt off for them.

    As for which Branch is best? That's an easy question. Go Air Force if you decide to go! You don't make rank as fast in the Air Force as you do in the Army, but the Air Force treats their service members and their families a whole lot more human than the Army does. (I'm an Army spouse right now, so I know).
  6. by   135ctv
    I would recommend looking into both the Air Force and Navy before you make a final decision.

    I have been in both the Army and Air Force reserves. Overall, the living conditions are better in the Air Force. (When I was deployed for Desert Storm, I tried to eat in Air Force dining facilities whenever possible).

    Several years ago, I went on a two-week training exercise with the Air Force. The Army had arrived earlier to set up the tents (with air conditioning) for Air Force personnel and even built wooded walkways between the tents. When I went on my first annual training with the Army, we had to unload and set up our own tents.

    On my reserve weekends in Air Force barracks, we had housekeeping and wake up calls. When I checked into Army barracks, I was handed a pile of bedding and the room was inspected when I left.

    If you enjoy the comforts of civilization, join the Air Force. If you don't mind roughing in, the Army may be an option. I don't really know much about the other services.

    NEVER be so gullible as to believe everything a recruiter tells you. They are under extreme pressure to make quota. Most regulations for services are now on the internet (search for "Army Regulations" or "Air Force Regulations"). If you have any doubts as to what a recruiter is telling you, ask him to show you the regulation on that topic. ANY PROMISES OR GUARANTEES MUST APPEAR IN WRITING ON YOUR CONTRACT OR THEY ARE VOID.

    The military can be an interesting experience. Looking back, I'm glad that I enlisted as I would not have had the same experiences in the civilian sector.

    If your not sure that you want to commit a few years of your life to full-time military service, then look into the reserves. It is generally one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, but you do get opportunities to attend schools and travel (temporary duty) if you wish.

    The Army physical fitness test is harder to pass than the Air Force test. If you enjoy running (2 miles), sit-ups, and push-ups and already exercise on a regular basis, it will not be an issue for you.
  7. by   MSgtLewis
    Many of these other posts are pretty accurate. If I may make a recommendation. If the recruiter promises something, before you take the oath of office, get it in writing. When talking with a recruiter, If something they say makes you feel uncomfortable ask questions or choose another recruiter. If there is a military base for the branch of military your inquiring about, either have the recruiter bring you out to the base hospital or clinic and see about talking to the chief nurse, and have them bring you into the nurse stations to talk with various folks. This works best, because your talking to a fellow nurse and the recruiter has no influence in picking who you talk to. Be wary of the hungry recruiter, these are the ones that give the rest of us a bad name.

    The military is a unique and interesting experience, As mentioned earlier the reserve is a good way to start. About 90% of the nurses I hired really enjoyed their time. It's not for everyone, so ask many questions and good luck.
  8. by   sjoe
    I agree. The USAF is the service to join and, always, as was advised, get everything in writing.
  9. by   caliotter3
    Please be aware that in today's climate of "drawdown" the opportunity to retire after 20 years is just not a "given" anymore. I have been told by military nurses that the competition to stay very long is extremely keen and competitive. Although the recruiters are quick to draw you into the fold, your military career may end up being only another brief job listed on your resume. Good luck with your decision.
  10. by   TerriRene
    I am a Air Force brat. My Dad was in the Air Force for 30 years. Currently my brother is in the Army. We have both decided that the Air Force is much more family friendly.
    Good Luck!
  11. by   Kora0880
    All that you have told is very helpful, but I wish to find out more about the NAVY and the RN Candidate Program. I talked to a rec. already, have search the web and talked to some people with experience, but none in the NAVY and that is what I wish to pursue. All info is appreciated, including training, military life, EDUCATION, and adcancement when it comes down to rank.

    Thankx a lot
  12. by   Medic family
    I have been an AF Spouse of an active duty CRNA for 24 years and my word of advice is DO NOT JOIN!!! Even if you have some guarantee or other in writing it means NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. The needs of the AF come before anything. MY husband , who was a LtColonel was 'guaranteed' in writing by both his Squadron Commander and Assignment Officer that IF he pulled his retirement papers he would stay at our current assignment for one year. He foolishly believed them and pulled the retirement request and You Guessed it the VERY NEXT DAY orders arrived for a move to the opposite coast WITHOUT his family. The stress caused his diabetes to go out of wack and he ended up with an angioplasty and still Command insisted he could relocate by himself. Thankfully after 6 months of being in and out of the hospital with chest pains, he was allowed to retire. He retired in September and is just now feeling like himself and attempting to look for a part time job.
    OH the commanders also wrote to the State Boards of Nursing and the AANA to tell them he shouldn't be practicing anesthesia anymore!!! Their comment to us was "If you can't do Anesthesia for the Air Force, you won't be doing it for anyone,"
    PLEASE PLEASE think VERY long and hard if this is what you want to do. Be prepared to be lied to by Command, they will do ANYTHING to fill a needed slot.
    As far as the AF caring for the family...don't make me laugh....while hubby was hospitalized in a military med center 4 hours away NOT ONE member of the OR staff or COMMAND even picked up the phone to give me a call and see how I was coping with all the stress. So I don't believe the AF takes care of its
    own.
  13. by   barb4575
    Since I have not experienced any other branch, I cannot comment on them, but I do believe one point that is really missing here....the Army is the largest and when I was on AD, it seemed that we offered the most to Nurse Corps Officers...sometimes, the Navy and AF would be at our seminars as they did not offer as much in the way of growth and development as a nurse and an Officer. I thought I was treated well in the Army, so each to his/her own as far as preference of branch. I preferred AD over Reserves.

    The bottom line is that when you commission, realize that the benefits are not the reason to join....

    Barbara
  14. by   Kora0880
    I think that's a serious problem, many people join for the benefits without realizing there are great responsibilities and commitment that come with it. One may find him/herself very unhappy when realizing that only at that time it may be too late to say oops. . . . Barb good advice

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