Need AF Active Duty Nursing Advice!!

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    I am currently 3 weeks from completing my BSN through the NECP program. I am scheduled for COT and NTP and will be going to Joint Base Richardson-Elmendorf as my first nursing assignment. I would like to know if it would be feasible for me to do my first year of nursing and completing an online MSN degree part-time (1-2 classes/semester)? If any active duty AF nurses are currently doing this please let me know how well it is going for you, and any advise is welcome!
  2. 17 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Quote from SThomas30
    I am currently 3 weeks from completing my BSN through the NECP program. I am scheduled for COT and NTP and will be going to Joint Base Richardson-Elmendorf as my first nursing assignment. I would like to know if it would be feasible for me to do my first year of nursing and completing an online MSN degree part-time (1-2 classes/semester)? If any active duty AF nurses are currently doing this please let me know how well it is going for you, and any advise is welcome!
    Yes, it is feasible, but it is going to be an extremely busy year for you. I would wait at least a few months after graduating before starting your MSN. It will give you time to settle in and get into a routine.
  4. 0
    Quote from wtbcrna
    Yes, it is feasible, but it is going to be an extremely busy year for you. I would wait at least a few months after graduating before starting your MSN. It will give you time to settle in and get into a routine.
    wtbcrna: Thank you for your advise! I figured it would be busy because I did all of my AA degree while active duty (working full time, and deployments setting me back) before I applied for NECP. I am just unsure about duty schedules for nurses right now. Are you currently AD? If so, what is the typical work schedule for an inpatient nurse (46N) like? Right now I have talked to nurses at MacDill and they just work Monday-Friday because it's a clinic. Any info is very much appreciated!! I think it would be feasible once I make it out of COT and NTP. Are you a CRNA in the AF? Just wondering
  5. 1
    Quote from SThomas30
    wtbcrna: Thank you for your advise! I figured it would be busy because I did all of my AA degree while active duty (working full time, and deployments setting me back) before I applied for NECP. I am just unsure about duty schedules for nurses right now. Are you currently AD? If so, what is the typical work schedule for an inpatient nurse (46N) like? Right now I have talked to nurses at MacDill and they just work Monday-Friday because it's a clinic. Any info is very much appreciated!! I think it would be feasible once I make it out of COT and NTP. Are you a CRNA in the AF? Just wondering
    AF med-surg nurses typically work 12hr shifts with a rotating scheduling. The schedule is similar to many civilian hospitals.

    Yes, I am CRNA in the AF.
    SThomas30 likes this.
  6. 0
    Wow! You are ambitious! Congrats on Alaska, I'm hoping to get that as my next duty station. I'm AD. I work in the ICU. As far a work schedules, you can expect to work 7 shifts every 2 weeks generally. You will also have some extra duty and various meetings. You will PT on your own time. Most units rotate from nights to days so expect some rotating schedules. some units do the panama schedule, some go as far as self-scheduling. For me, It's hard to make a set schedule for my personal life. But doing a degree online allows you flexibility. Ensure the program is accredited.

    Expect to do a ton of CBT's when you get to your first duty station. Some on the JKO take hours of mind numbing clicking - as I'm sure you have experienced. I wouldn't start the MSN until you finish your orientation period. Don't burn yourself out.
  7. 0
    Quote from midinphx
    Wow! You are ambitious! Congrats on Alaska, I'm hoping to get that as my next duty station. I'm AD. I work in the ICU. As far a work schedules, you can expect to work 7 shifts every 2 weeks generally. You will also have some extra duty and various meetings. You will PT on your own time. Most units rotate from nights to days so expect some rotating schedules. some units do the panama schedule, some go as far as self-scheduling. For me, It's hard to make a set schedule for my personal life. But doing a degree online allows you flexibility. Ensure the program is accredited.

    Expect to do a ton of CBT's when you get to your first duty station. Some on the JKO take hours of mind numbing clicking - as I'm sure you have experienced. I wouldn't start the MSN until you finish your orientation period. Don't burn yourself out.
    Thank you, midinphx! This info helps a lot! I have COT and NTP to complete before Alaska but I am really excited about moving there! I have found a few great online programs that are accredited and I think I'm going to wait until after I complete the AF residency program.

    If you don't mind I do have a quick question. I have found on the KX page a lot of information about the ICU fellowship. I know it is a year long and you get the ICU AFSC when completed, but do you have to complete this course to work in the ICU. For example, I'm a new grad with ICU experience for my preceptorship. I will be a 46N when I get to Alaska and in say 6 months I want to work in the ICU can I move from Med-Surg to the ICU. Just wondering, thank you do much for your help!
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    Your preceptorship in school in no way is acceptable as ICU fully qualified in the AF. Compare that to: The ICU course is year long and they work to learn ICU at least 40hrs a week. I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule if the need was dire (which it isn't), but nurses don't just float from a med-surg to ICU without the appropriate training and skills lists. You can apply for a fellowship after appropriate time on station. As a word of advice - if you jump up and declare that you just can't wait to do ICU, it can come off as you don't value the med-surg training and orientation. Express just as much excitement while on med-surg for nursing. That positive attitude will do a lot for you in the long and short run.

    also... I would love to have some of the opportunities that med-surg nurses get. ICU tends to be very small and less options, fewer bases we can go to. Med-surg nurses get some great humanitarian missions compared to the ICU nurses just going back and forth to Afghanistan. ICU deploy most every time our bucket comes up (18months btwn), while med-surg don't get tasked every time. Enjoy med-surg. Express interest in telemetry and get good at cardiac - you can do that as a med-surg RN.
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    I totally agree with midphinx, but there isn't telemetry at elmendorf. You would have to wait to get to another base for that. Most of the ICU nurses at elmendorf are VA nurses, so chances are small of getting into ICU without post-graduation ICU experience.
  10. 0
    Quote from midinphx
    Your preceptorship in school in no way is acceptable as ICU fully qualified in the AF. Compare that to: The ICU course is year long and they work to learn ICU at least 40hrs a week. I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule if the need was dire (which it isn't), but nurses don't just float from a med-surg to ICU without the appropriate training and skills lists. You can apply for a fellowship after appropriate time on station. As a word of advice - if you jump up and declare that you just can't wait to do ICU, it can come off as you don't value the med-surg training and orientation. Express just as much excitement while on med-surg for nursing. That positive attitude will do a lot for you in the long and short run.

    also... I would love to have some of the opportunities that med-surg nurses get. ICU tends to be very small and less options, fewer bases we can go to. Med-surg nurses get some great humanitarian missions compared to the ICU nurses just going back and forth to Afghanistan. ICU deploy most every time our bucket comes up (18months btwn), while med-surg don't get tasked every time. Enjoy med-surg. Express interest in telemetry and get good at cardiac - you can do that as a med-surg RN.
    Thank you for the advise! I have deployed in AF multiple times already and I want to deploy as a nurse as well, but I do want to move over into an ICU for future career goals. Should I just express these future career goals in my ADP, and just wait until I can apply to the fellowship? I get what you are saying about the attitude and I do know the med-surg experience will be invaluable! I appreciate your advise so much!!
  11. 1
    ICU is very appropriate on an ADP. Let your Chief nurse know that you would love the opportunity to go to the fellowship, but exude how happy you are to be there as a med-surg nurse right now!

    I have my ADP in with Elmendorf being my #1 wish - my commander commented that she fully supports me going there. I know it is a slower paced ICU which would could make a nurse rusty - but I've been a nurse 16 yrs and can handle a little rust I think. I deploy over the winter and I hope my PCS orders come through while I'm there. I do know Elmendorf has issues between military and VA nurses - it's well known. Here in San Antonio we have the struggle between Army, AF, and GS civilians. GS is in the lead, Army in 2nd, and AF has a foothold on certain units (not mine). As a nurse, I'm really not terribly effected, nurses on my unit get along regardless of army/AF/civilian. But the AF leadership doesn't have any space for offices at the hospital. They are across town over at Lackland. getting paperwork and checklists done is a challenge ( I just pretend it is a fun scavenger hunt and celebrate when I get a box checked off). I just want to be in a facility where I can grow in my AF career with leadership there. Luckily, I do trust my leadership to be there when I do need them, but they aren't around for mentoring.

    Well, probably more than you need to read! lol
    SThomas30 likes this.


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