Military information.

  1. Hello everyone!

    my first post here in allnurses!!! I am very naive about the process of military nursing hoping everyone can answer a couple of questions. (yes i did look at the threads but there are still some questions I do not have answers to)

    My background: I am an RN-BSN with 2 years of RN experience as a float pool nurse with an additional 2 years of LPN experience prior, before that I was a PCA (Patient Care Nursing Assistant) since I got out of high school, 5 years total. I graduated top of my class with a 3.9 GPA. I have always wanted to serve (My grandfather was a WW2 veteran, and I have high respect for troops and veterans) and be a nurse at the same time which is why I am seriously considering this.

    I am a float pool nurse, which means ive been going to units where there is the most shortage so I am used to changes. I know how to handle medical surgical patients, as well as cardiac telemetry patients.

    Questions:
    1) What are the odds of me getting an ICU position? I really want to be in the ICU departments
    2) Do we have a say or any considerations in terms of places to go, ex: stay in the country, or if outside the country can I put down preferred countries to be deployed in? and how often are those granted?
    3) Are military nurses always in the hospitals or how does it work when you are outside of the country (front lines? hospitals?)
    4) what does a typical week look like for a military nurse? hours of working, shifts, days off, what can you do on your days off etc.
    5) From what I researched as a nurse with BSN you come in as an officer, they do combat training and basic training for them too right?
    6) how safe is it for nurses in hostile places like the middle east, etc?
    7) I understand that 2 years is the minimum I can sign up for but the actual requirement is 8 right? can I serve the rest of those 8 as a reserve or inactive member?
    8) I heard it can be competitive to get a position in the military, how are my chances based on my credentials?
    9) will they correct my vision? I currently wear eye glasses and depend on them.

    thank you so much and pardon my lack of knowledge, I would ask a recruiter but I have heard horror stories about them not telling the complete truth etc.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Pixie.RN
    An ICU position requires that you have ICU experience first, along with your CCRN certification. I would advise you to get both if you really want to be in an ICU.

    Your experience prior to RN does not make much of a difference, beyond demonstrating a passion for health care.

    If you commission, they will ask your location preferences, but you will ultimately go where they need you.

    You do not get "combat training." You attend some version of officer training. Not the same as enlisted training at all.

    Three years is usually the minimum for active. Yes, it is very competitive. Ignore the horror stories as long as you speak with a healthcare recruiter, they are not like the typical enlisted recruiter.
  4. by   ASCATRN
    I see thanks for the information Pixie.RN
  5. by   jfratian
    8 years is the standard contract; it's typically 3-4 years active and the other 4-5 years is inactive ready reserve (a rarely used callback list with few obligations).

    Military nursing is largely the same as civilian nursing when you aren't deployed; you work 3-4 12-hour shifts a week. You deploy for 6-9 months at a time as often as every couple years (depending on the branch). It could be Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other global hotspot.

    You need 1 year of ICU experience to come in as an ICU nurse. With your 2 years of telemetry, you're going to be doing med surg if you join the military right now.
  6. by   kpnurse2017
    Quote from jfratian
    8 years is the standard contract; it's typically 3-4 years active and the other 4-5 years is inactive ready reserve (a rarely used callback list with few obligations).

    Military nursing is largely the same as civilian nursing when you aren't deployed; you work 3-4 12-hour shifts a week. You deploy for 6-9 months at a time as often as every couple years (depending on the branch). It could be Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other global hotspot.

    You need 1 year of ICU experience to come in as an ICU nurse. With your 2 years of telemetry, you're going to be doing med surg if you join the military right now.
    Hey do you know how the OR nurses typically work?? I know it depends on the facility you're at but I was just wondering if they were 12 hour shifts or what. Also, I wanted to ask a few more questions specific to being a nurse in the Air Force. I will be leaving a State job so I am just a little nervous about the transition. I haven't submitted my stuff to the board yet (recruiter says I will be submitting to the Feb boards) but just trying to get my ducks in a row. Thanks for any info!! Please feel free to PM me and if you want to share emails we can discuss that way.
  7. by   jfratian
    When not deployed, OR is typically five 8 hour shifts per week with mandatory night/weekend call that seems to be about a few days per month; you often get comp time on slow days if they call you in. I worked PACU in the AF for a few years.
  8. by   kpnurse2017
    Quote from jfratian
    When not deployed, OR is typically five 8 hour shifts per week with mandatory night/weekend call that seems to be about a few days per month; you often get comp time on slow days if they call you in. I worked PACU in the AF for a few years.
    Thanks for the input. I'm just trying to get as much info as possible so I can make an informed decision. I would be leaving a job with the state and I have a really good schedule but I am 20 years from retirement and there is no room for growth or promotion. I will come out better working with the military if I can do it for 20 years. Also I like all the benefits the military has to offer and that would benefit my family but I know that comes with sacrifice. I just want to make the best one for my family. Did you have any kids or anything when you were in and did you get deployed?
  9. by   jfratian
    I'm in now and I don't have a spouse or kids so I can't say.

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