Military Nursing Questions Answered - page 11

by navyman7 61,212 Views | 204 Comments

Hello. I have seen many questions posted about the recruiting, the military, and future military experiences, I wanted to start a Q & A forum where you can ask questions related to the military from someone who is in the... Read More


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    Unless things have changed in the last 3 years the Navy will only count the time you work after you have graduated with your BSN for constructive credit.
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    IRFARMER: Lets see if we can answer all of those questions. You being prior enlisted will help your case, unless you were a slacker while you were in before. Your other experience while it looks great on a resume won't help you too much since you didn't have your BSN. It will help you be much more marketable though. Once you get in, you will most likely be able to go where ever there is a slot available due to your past experiences. I don't think that you will get that O-2 though. But O-1E pay is nice too. Also your years of sea pay won't matter unless you deploy on a ship, then it will earn you some extra cash.
    As for your question on IV teams, I am not sure what Bethesda or Portsmouth does but at San Diego they do not have IV teams. They do have an infusion center where they place PICC's, unfortunately I am not sure who staffs it. There are many nurses who are PICC certified who do it as a collateral duty. Hope this helps some.
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    Thanks for the info folks, I'm not sure about counting the time either. That one is yet to be seen... I've been a licensed RN since 2006 and I was told today the experience time would count but I know how things work in the Navy. As far as my work habits... my evals were all good before, I'm a very work oriented person and have always have good evaluations in both the military and civilian workplaces. Thanks again for the answers, getting answers from the horses mouth is alot better than from the rumor mill.
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    Good afternoon,

    I recently just graduated from nursing school and I was commissioned about 1 month ago. I leave for Officer Development School in August and my first duty station is Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. I am very excited that I am doing military nursing because of the opprotunities to work in different areas around the world. I am also excited to see how the military health care system differs from civilian. I have worked as a tech on a medical telemetry floor for a year and a half. I know telemetry is a great starting point, but I am quite sure I want to move to an ICU, ER/Trauma or maybe OR/PACU someday. I honestly didn't join the military to work on a Med/Surg floor handing out colace, coumadin and lopressor all day. That sounds boring to me. I want a challenge. I owe the military 5 years and plan to make the best of it and learn as much as I can. Hopefully I'll end up loving it and making it a career.

    I have a few questions and hopefully you will be able to answer them.

    1. Have you worked in Portsmouth or know anyone who has worked there? Did they enjoy it?
    2. How long will it take for me to get into an ICU or ED? Is it true that the Navy is in dire need of critical care nurses?
    3. How hard is it to be a flight nurse in the navy?
    4. How hard is it to get in the DUINS program? What can I do to make me competitive?
    5. By the end of my 5 years will I at least make LT?
    6. Is asking for leave based on seniority?

    Thank you. I probably have more questions to come haha, but this is all for now.
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    NavyRN1790: Great questions, I will do my best. Now I can't attest to what Portsmouth does or doesn't do exactly. I have known some people who have worked there and they liked it there and some didn't. Since I haven't worked at Portsmouth I can't say how long it may take for you to get into the ICU/ED there, make your wants known to the nurse internship coordinator soon. Be sure that you don't mention the reasons above as to why you don't want to work on the med/surg floor. Most nurses have worked medsurg at one point in there careers and they make you go there out of your attitude for it.
    As for flight nursing, they don't call it that anymore in the Navy. It's termed en route care nursing. The only place in the navy where you can earn your wings is at Diego Garcia. It's a small island in the mid indian ocean. You have to PCS there for about 1 - 1 1/2 years unaccompanied. There you can work towards earining your wings, notice the work towards phrasing. Not everything in the Navy is a sure thing, even if someone told you different. With that said DUINS is very competitive depending on what type of program you are trying for. They want HARD working nurses who have gone above & beyond their normal daily routine. It's a good idea to become ACLS/BLS instructor too. Get as many certifications as you can, deploying will help too.
    Now about making LT. Basically you will get it unless you are absolutely terrible and kill people or are negligent/reckless. I have heard of a few people who didn't for various reasons but the majority will make LT in that time.
    Leave shouldn't be based on seniority there but who knows, every place will schedule things differently. Good luck.
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    Thank you navyman7! You definitely answered many of my questions. I am going to keep a open mind and positive attitude during my first duty station in portsmouth. If I happen to get assigned to a med/surg floor so be it. I have to start somewhere! I will make the best of it. I did work at a university hospital in philadelphia on a med/surg telemetry floor for 1 1/2 years while in nursing school. I was responsible for washing patients & turning patients, vital signs, accuchecks, EKG's, trach care/suctioning, wound care, foley care, drawing labs, priming IV fluids, (sometimes I would give IV meds to patients when the nurses allowed it), etc. Would it be to my advantage to let the nurse internship coordinator know of some of my basic skills?

    1. What do you mean by PCS in reference to en route care nursing and 1 1/2 years unaccompanied? What do I need to be competitive for the program besides TONS of ICU experience?

    2. What is the best way to get attached to the Marines as an RN? I am very interested in combat nursing and would that even be allowed for female RN’s?

    3. While working in Portsmouth, would it be okay to take a college course such as Biochemistry at a community college? Would the Navy reimburse me?

    4. Will the navy provide ACLS and PALS certifications for free during my 3 month internship?

    5. Where have you lived during your time as a Navy RN? What places would you recommend putting in for?

    6. After my 3 year tour is there a chance they will make me stay in Portsmouth? I really want to go somewhere other than the East coast. I’ve been here my whole life!

    7. Is ODS really the “fork and knife school?” I did NROTC my sophomore year of college so I already have a general idea of what to expect. All my PT tests were 90 and above. What should I come prepared with besides a good physical and mental mind-set and what the lists of things to bring sheet?

    Thank you. Probably more questions to come as I get closer to ODS.
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    Navyrn1790:
    1) PCS relates to your permanent change of station. That is where you get assigned a location to live and work. As a new nurse you are likely to PCS to one of the big 3 as your first duty station. Portsmouth, Bethesda, San Diego.
    2) I am not 100% sure of your next question but I think that you don't get attached to the marines unless you are deploying with a marine group of some kind. You may work at a Marine base but in a Navy hospital. In the latter case you get the same kinds of patients as you would a navy base: retired people, dependent family members, AD Navy & Marines.
    3) Yes you can take college courses; what you do in your free time as long as it doesn't interfere with your work schedule is your business. As for being reimbursed, it depends on if your command will approve it for you.
    4) They will provide you with whatever training you need and want for free, pending availability and cost to your command. If you're not working with kids you may not get approved for PALS but that depends on your command and your boss.
    5) I have lived in San Diego, Bahrain, Bremerton. Where you want to live depends on you.
    6) The navy typically doesn't let you stay in 1 place for too long, there are always exceptions to this. Most people have to PCS every 2-3 years.
    7) ODS is 5 weeks of boredom. You take some classes that are a joke, that will do nothing for you and your career. You learn about how to where your uniform, your pay, gi bill, PT tests, and so on. I broke ODS down day by day on some post here. Try looking for it. Don't sweat ODS, very easy for the most part. Just make sure you know how to swim, and pass your NCLEX PRIOR to ODS. If you can do those 2 things you will be fine.
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    If you want to get attached to the Marines as for a FSSG unit, they do have a have some RN's in them. I was assigned to a Collecting and Clearing company back when I was enlisted and we had RN's with us.
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    Well said, I learned to swim compliments of the Navy at what was then called OIS (officer indoctrination school) so we were called Oisters of course, now it is called ODS! I still remember the USS Buttercup!
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    Hello - I am considering joining the Air Force Reserves as a nurse. I am currently a new grad (associates degree) working in the emergency department at my hospital. I really enjoy emergency and first responder type of practice. I have a friend who was in the Air Force Reserves and she gained a lot of experience in public health. I am working towards my Bachelors degree and will wait to apply to the Air Force Reserves until I am finished with my BSN.

    The main reasons I want to join the Air Force Reserves (AFR) are because I would like to travel, I would like to receive excellent training, and possibly further my education into either ... Family Nurse Practitioner, or some form of public health - like epidemiology or environmental health. I am not 100% sure where I am heading at this point ... trying to figure that out!!! I am mainly wondering what sorts of training opportunities will I have in the AFR that I wouldn't have as a civilian. Also, is it worth joining the AFR this late in the game (I am 35 years old) - or should I just go be a travel nurse and keep my freedom? :-)


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