Navy Nursing while engaged/married Navy Nursing while engaged/married | allnurses

Navy Nursing while engaged/married

  1. 0 Hello, everyone. This is my first time posting anything on allnurses.com! Here's my question: I am a third-year (senior) nursing student in a BSN program, and I graduate June 2014. I am in the application process to become a Navy Nurse, and if accepted, I will serve for 4 years active duty and 4 reserve. I have been with my boyfriend (who is not in the military) for going on 5 years now, and we have been seriously talking about getting married within the next two years, but this is in the middle of my tour. We don't want to wait until I'm done with the 4 years active duty to get married, but I was wondering if you all have any advice about when to get engaged/married and what navy life is like for navy nurses who are married to people who aren't in the military?

    Thanks!
  2. 18 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    0
    Moved to the Military Nursing forum for the best response.

    You may also want to check out this specifc subforum for more information as to what life as a military nurse entails.

    A common misconception about military nursing is that being a nurse in the military means that you'll only serve shore tours or will not be stationed elsewhere. Not true: you CAN and WILL be deployed or sent anywhere depending on the military's needs. This applies to all branches of the service.

    You may get lucky and score a tour where you don't move at all...or you can be like my nurse friend who right after Navy OCS, had her first tour be 6 months in Iraq. And no, she did not ask for that.

    Don't sign on for the military unless you--and your fiance--are prepared for the possibility of your being stationed or deployed to anywhere in the world.

    And if you already know this and still want to sign on, best of luck I'm debating about going active duty myself.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Sep 16, '13
  4. Visit  Dranger profile page
    1
    If you are a Navy nurse and are not married, your BF will not be entitled to base access, increased housing allowance, health insurance and not be allowed to move with you if you happen to PCS outside of the US. Boyfriends of girlfriends mean 0 to the military so keep that in mind. So with I that would get married before, HOWEVER the divorce rate in the military is sky high so also keep that in mind....

    The Navy or military in general is very very very competitive right now so focus on getting in first.
    Last edit by Dranger on Sep 16, '13
    Meriwhen likes this.
  5. Visit  mlockwood358 profile page
    0
    Thank you, Meriwhen. I spoke to my recruiter and she told me that new navy nurses usually do not get deployed within the first couple of years, but I am aware that it is a possibility. She also told me that I have to be married for the Navy to pay for my fiance's living expenses. Do you know when exactly is a good time to get married? For example, before/after ODS? Thanks!
  6. Visit  mlockwood358 profile page
    0
    Thanks for your advice.
  7. Visit  Dranger profile page
    3
    Quote from mlockwood358
    Thank you, Meriwhen. I spoke to my recruiter and she told me that new navy nurses usually do not get deployed within the first couple of years, but I am aware that it is a possibility. She also told me that I have to be married for the Navy to pay for my fiance's living expenses. Do you know when exactly is a good time to get married? For example, before/after ODS? Thanks!
    I wouldn't count on that...
  8. Visit  SoldierNurse22 profile page
    3
    I am about to get married in a few months to a civilian myself, though I am in the Army, not the Navy.

    Let me start off by saying that most of the military folk that I know of have all gotten married in small ceremonies and gone home to do the big ceremony later. I am the first person I know of who is actually getting married at the big ceremony back home. My fianc and myself live a couple hundred miles apart. He has a house and a job that he would be unwise to leave.

    While the lives we live may sound like a wistful scene from a paperback romance novel, they aren't. I am not in control of my own decisions, and that can make for some very grouchy people. The strain of being so far apart can make us both very ornery, and we practice a good deal of self-awareness to prevent fights from cropping up just due to our circumstances. I have applied a few times to go see him only to have my request denied/cancelled because the Army rearranged my priorities, and he didn't shake out on top. If you are fortunate enough to live in the same city, he will have to understand that if you are called in/working late/mandated to work, it isn't your fault. Your plans and life with him come second. That may sound like a simple concept, but there is a reason that so many military marriages fail. Your life is not your own, and by default, his isn't, either. Both of you need to either make your peace with that or go a different direction, whether together or separate.

    Getting married, especially if you want a big ceremony, is not as easy in the military as one might hope. Before you start your planning, talk to your superior and get a guarantee from your command that they will not cancel your leave once it is granted within reason. Of course, this is subject to change. You may PCS, deploy, etc., under which circumstances you have no choice but to go.

    If you're planning to marry at home and will need travel time, save your leave for at least a year. You will need it! I will have burned through 30 days of leave after I'm done with all the travel associated with planning, the wedding itself and honeymooning.

    Marrying a civilian has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, they don't need to have the same permission to come see you/travel/etc. They get benefits through the military system when you are married. However, I sincerely hope your boyfriend is ready to take on the same rigors that you will undertake when you join. If you are mandated to work overtime due to furloughs, denied leave, etc, then he will pay the consequences, too. If you have children, you may not get time off for their parties/birthdays/events/etc. Is he ready/able to be Mr. Mom? Do you have a plan to care for your children if you marry and you don't want them in a government day care?

    As Meriwhen said, do not join unless you are absolutely certain you want to give up everything--including your new husband--to serve.
    shammie, Pixie.RN, and Meriwhen like this.
  9. Visit  mlockwood358 profile page
    0
    Do spouses have to move with you if you get deployed/stationed elsewhere, or can they stay at home?
  10. Visit  Dranger profile page
    0
    Also keep in mind if your soon to be husband travels with you it can and probably will effect his career options especially when you change duty station every 2-3 years.

    No he doesn't HAVE to move with you. Spouses never go on deployments or unaccompanied tours (Korea etc)
    Last edit by Dranger on Sep 16, '13
  11. Visit  SoldierNurse22 profile page
    0
    Quote from mlockwood358
    Do spouses have to move with you if you get deployed/stationed elsewhere, or can they stay at home?
    Spouses don't go on deployment with you. They have the option of moving if you are PCS'd to a family-friendly location, but they don't have to.
  12. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    2
    Quote from mlockwood358
    Thank you, Meriwhen. I spoke to my recruiter and she told me that new navy nurses usually do not get deployed within the first couple of years, but I am aware that it is a possibility. She also told me that I have to be married for the Navy to pay for my fiance's living expenses. Do you know when exactly is a good time to get married? For example, before/after ODS? Thanks!
    What the recruiter tells you and what the DETAILER tells you may be two very different things. The recruiter's job is to get you to sign on to the Navy Experience. The detailer is the one who determines where you go and the detailer doesn't give a flying you-know-what about what the recruiter told you to get you in the door.

    The recruiter can promise you the sun, moon and stars. The detailer will ignore all that and send you to Hell if that's where the Navy needs a RN.

    As the better half of someone who's done this for 19 years and thanks to detailers has been across the country and back twice (as well being left alone with a two year old for a year because he got sent to a war zone), I know a little about what I speak Yes, I'm still wondering why I'm crazy enough to consider doing it myself.

    As far as the Navy is concerned, they don't care when you get married. Benefits for him do not begin until you actually tie the knot and you enroll him as your spouse. So do it whenever it suits your schedule. But keep in mind that once you're in OCS, you're not going to get leave right away.

    SoldierNurse is right: a lot of couples get married at the courthouse or have a small ceremony, then have the bigger ceremony and honeymoon later on. We didn't do that though: we waited until his ship returned from deployment, and then had our wedding and honeymoon, because that's what we wanted. But again, what works the best for you.

    Spouses do not go on deployments, though it's common for spouses to fly out to meet active duty members in a port or two. Spouses can go with you if you get stationed overseas, unless you are on an individual augmentee tour or sent to an installation where spouses are not permitted or strongly discouraged d/t safety reasons.

    And as the better half of the active duty spouse...it's not easy. The saying goes, "if the Navy/Army/etc. wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one." Family needs will always come second to the military's needs.

    I've been pretty much a single parent for many years. He's missed birthdays, anniversaries, the birth of our first son, many special events. I've had to uproot and move every few years.

    I've taken prerequisites for nursing school in three different states. Fortunately, we were able to stay in one place long enough for me to go to nursing school...but that was the same time he got sent overseas for a year.

    And then as soon as I got my nursing career started, we had to move :/ And speaking of career, I've had to limit myself and pass on a lot of opportunities because I can't rely on him to pick up or take care of the kids--his schedule is way too unpredictable, or we may not be stationed here long enough. And if something happens to the kids, it's me that has to take the time off and address it because he can't. Right now I'm working two per-diem jobs so my schedule is flexible and can work around the kids.

    It's taken me four years and two schools to complete a RN-BSN program...I was halfway into one program when we had to move.

    It's a lot. It's not an easy life. It's had a lot of good to go along with a lot of the rough though....at least in a couple of years, he will be retired and get a pension. He plans to be the homemaker and tend to the kids while I get to focus on progressing my career.

    Of course, you may decide to do your four years and then call it a day. A lot of people end up doing that...the military life isn't for everyone. And that's OK.

    But BOTH of you have to be on the same page about this. It won't work if you're gung-ho about going military and he's not willing to deal with the sacrifices that he WILL have to make.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Sep 16, '13
    mlockwood358 and SoldierNurse22 like this.
  13. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    1
    Ok, in rereading that I realize it sounds all doom-and-gloom.

    Let me add that while it is a tough life, it's not without its benefits. Good pay...well, that really doesn't kick in for several years but when it does, it's nice. Good benefits. They'll help further your education while in there or afterwards via GI Bill. Decent job security--yes, you can get "fired" from a job, but they can't just turn you out on the street tomorrow--they'll either send you somewhere else or separate you out of the military (which takes about a year, during which you're still getting paid). There's a good retirement with medical if you make a career out of it.

    We've lived in some pretty nifty places over the years, places we otherwise wouldn't have been to even visit. Towards the end of his career, the financial stability has let us do a lot of things in life that we may not have been able to do otherwise. And yeah, it's nice to know that with retirement, he'll be paid quite well just for breathing--he doesn't have to run out and get a new job right away. Instead, he can play Mr. Mom...which he's actually very excited to do, especially since we have an infant in the house.

    The detailers are not entirely evil either. We've moved a lot during his career, but we've actually moved less than some people we know. They do try to honor preferences when they can, though keep in mind that if the billet isn't there, they can't create it just to make you happy. Or if they have a pressing need to fill in an undesirable billet (unfortunately, there's a fair number of these) and no one's volunteered for it, it may be your number that's up.

    Again, it's still a hard road...you have to weigh out risks versus benefits and determine if it's the best for the two of you.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
  14. Visit  mlockwood358 profile page
    0
    Thanks Meriwhen. Does the navy pay for your school and your husbands if he were to go back to school or is it just the person who's in the military who get help with school?

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