Hello. I'm new to this but I just wanted to get some get some more information. I am a nursing student (RN-BSN) and Army ROTC cadet on my last semester of nursing school and Army ROTC. In May, I will be graduating as a nurse and commissioning as a 2nd LT in the Army. Anyways, I just found out that I got my first choice for my First Duty Station and it's Landstuhl, Germany. Of course, when I found out, I completely freaked out
and it's probably the best early Christmas gift ever!
I don't know anyone who has been to Germany as an Army nurse and was wondering how the area was and if you liked living there. So far, I've read only good things. Are there things to do around city? Is there a beach or something? How's the weather? Is it a big city? congested? Also, how was working in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center? I know there will be a lot of injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan so maybe a lot of critical care cases. Was it stressful? big? Did you feel lost? Did people help you? Are the native people there friendly? do they speak English? Do I have to learn how to speak German or is English good enough? Is housing easily available and is it affordable? How about the cost of living there? I know the Euro is more than the American dollar. Will I have enough time to travel through Europe while working as an Army nurse? How about a car? Do I need to buy a car? a little off topic, but are Mercedes or BMW's cheaper there? Is there anything else that I should know? Anything that I need to steer clear of?
I know these are a lot of questions but I've never been too far from home and on my own, plus living and starting out a whole new life in a foreign country (I'm single, so no family or friends in a big, foreign place!
<scary> lol.). Just really want to know any information that you have or any of your own personal experience living there. I kind of need to prepare myself for this whole new life and adventure before it happens. Thanks!
LRMC (Landstuhl for short) is an unique animal. You will love it but you will learn to hate it. I work in the ICU, but that is a different animal when compared to the rest of the hospital.
Enjoy your time off. As a new nurse, the army tends to make the new RN's pay their debt. This is something I hate, because I have no tolerance for the BS and the stupidity. If you're looking for a beach, go to Spain, but be prepared to spend some money since the exchange rate sucks big time. The town is avg size and is ok. I prefer the southern part of Germany, but your rank is the limiting factor for those jobs.
Get a GPS with European maps and pack that sucker with you on your way here. Once you get OBC or whatever they call it now, then you can start studying for the driver's test. It is not hard if you study the material. As soon as you can get a hold of who your sponsor will be, use them to the fullest. He/she will help you get settled and should tell you what to avoid.
What part of the states are you from? If you ever been to Seatle, WA, the weather here has been like the PNW for several days. The summers are nice but short.
Hope this helps. PM if you have more ?s
Last edit by armyicurn on Dec 22, '08
Quote from lionstudent
I am a senior nursing student and considering the Army (I'm prior service) for ICU experience...Can u give me a little insight on the pace of the Critical Care Course after completion of 1 to 1.5 yr of Med/Surg?...Also, what's a normal ICU shift like @ LMRC, and are there opportunities for working PRN's @ area hospitals once you return stateside? Any info would extremely helpful!
What is your ultimate goal? CRNA? The Critical Care Course is what you make out of it. Where do you want to go for it? BAMC, Walter Reed or Madigan? You must do ECCO online for phase one and this will start to paint the picture about ICU stuff. I will recomend you try to float or just drop by and talk to the Head Nurse in the ICU if they can allow you to shadow and RN during their shift to get and idea of what is like.
Depending on where you decide to go for the course, it can be a pleasant experience or it can be pure hell. Every course director is different and some of them take the course in a way that they can make it tough for you or they can make it harder than nursing school. Do you like care plans? You will have to give two oral reports. The first one is on one system that is failing on your patient and the other one is on 3 systems that are failing on another pt. The oral exam can last from 1.5 to 3 hrs depending on how you come accross to the director. If you make it, then the army will give you your identifier as a critical care nurse.
Shifts in the ICU are 12 hours minimum. I say minimum because some places are not fully staffed and you must depend on some agency nurse (stateside only) to come in. They can be late or can be early. My shifts are by far the best I have ever had in the army. I work 12 hrs on days and I work a set schedule which allows me to plan what I want to do on my days off. Every other weekend I am off. Basically I work only 15 days a month. Keep in mind that this is only here at LRMC. We are fully staffed with 11-13 RNs plus a charge RN. We do get slammed when we get pts from the sandbox. One day we can have all 12 beds empty and in a matter of hours we can have 18 patients taking every available bag of IV fluids and gtts. Burns, trauma, neuro, cardiac, MORF, organ donation, ARDS. You name it.
You can do PRN up to 16 hrs besides your own duty with the army. They track this closely and you must get the paperwork filled out prior to working outside the military arena.
Last edit by armyicurn on Dec 23, '08