Navy Officer Nurse Corp

  1. This type of career is a interest to me but I do have a few questions. What exactly is the description of a Officer? What role in the navy or any branch does the officer Nurse corp fit? What is a average day for a Nurse corp? Also is it true that the 1st three years you dont do any traveling outside of the states? As for as travel do you get to choose where you are stationed at 1st? San Deigo isn't really where I want to live. So could I choose somewhere else to be stationed? Also how many days a week would you usual work a week compared to being a civilian nurse?
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  2. 88 Comments

  3. by   navynurse06
    Wow...lots of questions there...I'll try to answer to best of my ability.
    So here's from the navy's website about being in the Navy nurse corps:
    Nurse Corps: Officer Careers: Navy Healthcare: On Duty: Navy Life: About the Navy: Navy
    Here's some about the history of the navy nurse corps:
    United States Navy Nurse Corps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In the navy as a nurse you are told that you are an officer 1st and a nurse 2nd. As an officer, you are an example for people jr to you (enlisted or more jr officers). As an officer, you are considered a leader. I'm not sure how else to answer the description of an officer. And I'm not sure how to answer your question "What role in the navy or any branch does the officer Nurse corp fit"; this question doesn't make any sense to me.
    As far as an "average" day for a navy nurse, its all dependant on where you work and what your job title is. It varies from nurse to nurse. I'm a staff nurse on a peds floor, so my "average" day of work is team leading on our peds floor and taking care of pts. I do alot of educating/precepting (to our unit and on skills) for new nurses and corpsman. On my days off, I just do whatever. My current job isn't that much different than what a civilian ped nurse's, except for having to wear my hair a certain way and certain dress codes, etc.
    In regards to where you will be stationed 1st, you will fill out what is called you "dream sheet" or "wish list". You will put the name of 3 hospitals that you would like to be stationed at. Now mind you that the needs of the navy come 1st, so they try to take into consideration your preferences but it isn't guaranteed that you will get your top choice.
    And I work 3 to 4 12hr shifts a wk. But that all depends on where you work and who is making out your schedule.
    I hope this helped you out a little.
    LCDR Dan that is on this board may be able to answer you questions a little bit better than I can.
    ENS PM
  4. by   DanznRN
    MaleRNstudent21-

    ENS PM has given very good answers about what life is like in the Navy. First and foremost, the needs of the Navy come before your needs do, you just have to accpet that. So as far as traveling outside the states, after your first full year on active duty, your fair game. Generally speaking, the Navy does not send new nurses (less than one year experience) overseas or on deployment. The thought process is that you have not gained the skills necessary to make independent decisions in the field in less than a year, after that your considered functional in the field, so don't count on going anywhere for 3 years, your safe for 1. Yes, you do get a dream sheet when you sign, however, the Navy generally sends nurses to either San Diego, CA, Bethesda, MD, or Portsmouth, VA. These are the Navy's largest stateside facilities that have all available specialties. The thought is you will get the most exposure at one of these facilities. I can't remember your background, but if you have prior medical training you may be able to get away with going somewhere smaller, but I doubt it. As far as what an Officer is or does. Our primary job is to lead others and to teach. Your responsibilities are to ensure those that are working beneath you are doing it right, mind you this is not an instant expectation. They expect you to be a competent nurse first, so the first year of being an officer is a bit blurry in that you spend a majority of your time becoming competent and developing you leadership style. Once you've been in 10+ years like me the expectations are different, make sense? Your role as an officer is constantly evolving. As far as the other stuff, ENS PM hit the nail on the head. As always keep the questions coming and we'll answer as best we can. Where are you currently located? If you're interested I can take you down to Bethesda if you want to see what it's like?


    LCDR(s) Dan
  5. by   MaleRNstudent21
    First of all thank you both for replying to my post. The information was very informative. I was kind of confussed of what was the job description of a officer and how it fit with being a nurse. So what is the staffing in this nursing profession. I'm used of hearing CNA's, LPN's,RN's and then MD's, the common floor nursing staff. So when you say teaching is it that your more so of management being a Officer. Is it that you do your practice " nursing" and give orders over the medics,ect? Also this may sound silly but what is the difference between deployment and being overseas? How easy is it to move up from 01 to 03? What is it that initally made you all want to join a branch? I ask this because I kind of ask myself the question at times when I think of this kind of being a life contract. I would hate to just join for nothing and be unhappy with my decision. I think I would enjoy the experiences and life changing opportunities. I have time to think about it though. I live in Memphis,TN. I'm a 22yrs old male and I'm a pre-nursing RN student. My main objective for joining is global travel and great retirement opportunites. This is why I asked about traveling aboard and having a great location the 1st 3yrs. What was your reasons for joining?
  6. by   navynurse06
    Staff is different for each floor and each hospital. I can only speak from my experiences. But on my floor we have civilian RNs, military RNs, corpsman (in the navy we call our enlisted members corpsman not medics), LVNs (same as an LPN), then we have our clinical educator who is a PNP, we have our DIVO (nurse manager), and we have our department head (who is an RN with a masters degree, retired navy nurse). Also, we have a string of Doctors on our floor. I am a staff nurse! When I say teaching, I mean that I precept other nurses and corpsmen. I will teach them about skills, meds, disease process, etc. while I'm doing pt care. When I'm precepting I will have my preceptee shadowing me (just like you do in nursing school). I'm not per say management, but I am a leader. As an officer you are always a leader no matter what your job title or position.
    The difference between being deployed and being overseas is this:
    When you are deployed it is for a short amt of time, 6 months to 1 yr. Than you come back to your permanent duty station and resume you 'regular' job. When you are overseas, that is your permanent change of station (PCS). That's your home, that's where you live for those 3 yrs. FYI...all our orders for PCS are for 3 yrs at a time...this is called a tour.
    As far as advancement goes, you "automaticlly" get promoted from O1 to O2 after 2yrs in rank. (that is if you don't do something crazy like kill someone, or have major discipline infraction). Also, its pretty much "automactic" that you go from O2 to O3 after 2 yrs in rank of O2. Once you get to the O3 mark its a little harder to advance, but as long as you are doing a good job and have good fit reps than you'll advance. But that's a whole other explantion..which LCDR Dan would be better at explaining.
    I've always wanted to be a military nurse since I was in high school. I have a strong military history in my family. I too am from TN...East TN...so the opportunity to travel was also appealing. I never like the feeling of being "stuck" in any one place; and that's how I felt when I lived back in TN. My lil' brother is a Marine, so ever since I seen him graduate from boot camp (while I was in nursing school) I was fascinated with the Marines. So that's why I wanted to join the Navy b/c we are the medical for the Marines and I wanted to be near my lil'bro. Also, the ability of being able to live on the water was a nice appeal for me (most navy bases are near water ). Also, the leadership opportunites that you get while being navy nurse was another aspect that drew me to military nursing. The navy also provides excellent educational benefits to nurses. (look up the DUINS program) The retirement and healthcare is awesome too! Healthcare for myself and my family for life...show me were to sign!
    LCDR Dan extended you a great offer to show you around Bethesda. That way you get a look on how a military hospital is ran. I didn't get the luxury of a tour before I joined. But I have yet to regret joining the Navy; I can't see myself being a nurse in any other setting.
    Also, you had mentioned before that you didn't want to be stationed in San Diego. Can I ask why? The weather is great here! No humidity! I don't miss that TN humidity at all! Some times I miss the green moutains...but not the smoothering humidity!
    ENS PM
    Last edit by navynurse06 on Dec 31, '06
  7. by   DanznRN
    MaleRNstudent21-

    As usual, ENS PM has hit it all on the nose. As far as advancing, the Navy has a loose guideline as to what you should do throughout your career to continue to pick up rank. you have to be a good all around performer, good at your job as a nurse and good as a leader. There are multiple activities that you get into seperate from your nursing job that show your worth as an officer. Some of the "other" jobs I have done, were Education and Training officer for an ICU and ER. Yes, these jobs are in addition to your nursing job, but normally do not require more than a couple hours a month. Generally, you don't worry about stuff like that until you get to 02. Once you get to 03 that is when you have to turn up the heat a bit. You basically have to do things that make you better than the next 03, you have to think "what makes me stand-out?" things I've done to stand-out, I was guest speaker at a motorcycle safety program and safe driving program, I represented the hospital. While in Italy I did 3 Public Service Announcements on TV for the base on different things. these opportunities are available to any officer, but you have to go get it, that's what makes you better in the eyes of the promotion board.
    Why did I join the service? Frankly, they paid me $20,000 through the NCP - Nurse Candidate Program to finish school, then I owed them 5 years. I gave them 5 years 4 months and got out right after September 11th, that is when I realized why I was in the Navy. See I figured the grass was greener in the civilian world, it's not, it's just a different color. I realized when I got out why I was truely in the Navy. See I have 3 kids and I want to make sure that no matter what, when they get to be my age, they get to do exactly what they want and have the freedom to do it, sounds a bit patriotic and all, but that's how I feel. I'm in the Navy for them and anyone else that can't do it themselves, it's what makes me proud to say I'm in the Navy. People point at the military and complain about uniforms and rank structure, etc. It's the same in the civilian world, people just have different titles and uniforms are exchanged for a dress code, we just get paid way better. Consider this, I got paid to be moved to Italy for 3 years and they did all the work. I just got on a plane for 9 hours and got off in Italy. My stuff was there, my cars were there, it was great. We liked it so much, after I get out of school, we'll try to go back or somewhere else overseas. While we were there we travelled everywhere we could, went to Spain, Ireland, all of Italy, England, liked Paris so much we bought a time-share there. The only thing limiting anyone in the military is themselves, the opportunities are there AND you get paid for it. I might sound like recruiter, which I'm not, I'm one of those people that gets up in the morning and loves to go to work, whatever it is, as long as it's in the Navy. Let me know if I didn't answer something, I'm here to help.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  8. by   Chesnee10
    I love everything you said. You summed up why I am joining. I am a junior student RN-BSN. I cant wait to get started. But my recruiter dosent seem to be in a hurry. He said with a 3.7 GPA I shouldnt have a problem being picked up but they seem to be going slow to me. I guess I am just in a hurry and I would like to get all the paperwork done yesterday!
  9. by   midwesternboy
    Hello all,
    As a new graduate, when you arrive at a new duty station, how does the process work for assignments to certain floors? For example, do they offer you a list of openings, or do they just tell you you will be working on ortho/neuro, cardiac, peds, etc? How often do you end up floating to other floors? Do you get called in a lot for extra shifts? Thanks for any information.

    -recent BSN
  10. by   JDCitizen
    Quote from DanznRN
    MaleRNstudent21-

    As usual, ENS PM has hit it all on the nose. As far as advancing, the Navy has a loose guideline as to what you should do throughout your career to continue to pick up rank. you have to be a good all around performer, good at your job as a nurse and good as a leader. There are multiple activities that you get into seperate from your nursing job that show your worth as an officer. Some of the "other" jobs I have done, were Education and Training officer for an ICU and ER. Yes, these jobs are in addition to your nursing job, but normally do not require more than a couple hours a month. Generally, you don't worry about stuff like that until you get to 02. Once you get to 03 that is when you have to turn up the heat a bit. You basically have to do things that make you better than the next 03, you have to think "what makes me stand-out?" things I've done to stand-out, I was guest speaker at a motorcycle safety program and safe driving program, I represented the hospital. While in Italy I did 3 Public Service Announcements on TV for the base on different things. these opportunities are available to any officer, but you have to go get it, that's what makes you better in the eyes of the promotion board.
    Why did I join the service? Frankly, they paid me $20,000 through the NCP - Nurse Candidate Program to finish school, then I owed them 5 years. I gave them 5 years 4 months and got out right after September 11th, that is when I realized why I was in the Navy. See I figured the grass was greener in the civilian world, it's not, it's just a different color. I realized when I got out why I was truely in the Navy. See I have 3 kids and I want to make sure that no matter what, when they get to be my age, they get to do exactly what they want and have the freedom to do it, sounds a bit patriotic and all, but that's how I feel. I'm in the Navy for them and anyone else that can't do it themselves, it's what makes me proud to say I'm in the Navy. People point at the military and complain about uniforms and rank structure, etc. It's the same in the civilian world, people just have different titles and uniforms are exchanged for a dress code, we just get paid way better. Consider this, I got paid to be moved to Italy for 3 years and they did all the work. I just got on a plane for 9 hours and got off in Italy. My stuff was there, my cars were there, it was great. We liked it so much, after I get out of school, we'll try to go back or somewhere else overseas. While we were there we travelled everywhere we could, went to Spain, Ireland, all of Italy, England, liked Paris so much we bought a time-share there. The only thing limiting anyone in the military is themselves, the opportunities are there AND you get paid for it. I might sound like recruiter, which I'm not, I'm one of those people that gets up in the morning and loves to go to work, whatever it is, as long as it's in the Navy. Let me know if I didn't answer something, I'm here to help.

    LCDR(s) Dan
    I know this is an old listing...

    Besides nursing and public speaking what else do you do as rank progresses? Having been a charge nurse (in my civilian life) I know about being a preceptor, teaching, instructing, etc.. the nurses around me. Are you required to leave the floor and become a chief nurse or something in that line?? I guess I realize a command structure is built to command with ever changing faces in those command positions so someone has to advance.

    Basically can someone advance in rank without having to climb into an executive /office seat?
  11. by   navynurse06
    So to answer some of the question since I last posted.
    As a new graduate....you bascilly get assigned any where in the hosptial they need you. You will not get assigned to crictial care areas as a new grad. You will have to buy your time on a regular floor 1st. When I came in I was given the choice of peds or mother/baby. I put my time in on peds for a year and a half (inculding one deployment) then I got to transfer to the ER...

    Next...as a nurse corps officer you are expected to be a leader for people more JR to you officer wise and to enlisted folks. After being n a floor for at least 6 months you will get trained to charge, and you will start precepting new nurses. Most of the time in the nurse corps if you are in long enough you will end up in admistration postions. ie...divison officers (nurse manager)...nursing supervisor of hospital....etc.

    Hope this helps.
    LTJG PM
  12. by   midwesternboy
    Thank you,
    All of your input has helped greatly. I don't mind buying my time on a floor. Do new grads ever get the chance to work mental health? I work on a stepdown floor now and would love to work either peds or mental health, but will accept the floor I am needed on.
    Thanks,
    -recent BSN
  13. by   JDCitizen
    Quote from midwesternboy
    Thank you,
    All of your input has helped greatly. I don't mind buying my time on a floor. Do new grads ever get the chance to work mental health? I work on a stepdown floor now and would love to work either peds or mental health, but will accept the floor I am needed on.
    Thanks,
    -recent BSN
    What I thought working in the hospital environment one was always working mental health.. If its not a patient its a family member or a doctor, or a fellow nurse or some time in the rest room you glance at the mirror and its like oh-my-god!!! and than you wonder if anyone heard the scream:chuckle Sorry I know this was not very helpful but you mentioned step-down, Peds and mental health in one post. Memories....
  14. by   midwesternboy
    I agree, half of my pts have mental health issues, but I was just wondering if new graduates (for the navy) have the chance to start on an inpatient mental health floor, or if most everyone ends up on the med-surg floors. I will only have about 6 months of stepdown experience before I leave for ODS.
    Thanks
    -recent BSN

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