New to Navy, ODS, Portsmouth-need any help? - page 18

by Sw88tpea

57,696 Views | 276 Comments

Hi there, I've been a nurse since 2010 and graduated from University of Portland, Oregon. I worked in mental health and with the red cross for a year before applying for the Navy. 13 mos later I found myself at Officer... Read More


  1. 0
    Welcome akapler01!

    1. I enjoy being Navy Nurse. When it comes down to it, when you go to work, as a nurse, you're doing the same thing you would be doing in the civilian world, only in uniform. Nurse work is nurse work, taking care of patients, charting, keep up on training, working with the interdisciplinary team. Some differences that I noticed immediately: 1) I have never been cursed at by a doctor 2) For now, things are slower paced than civilian (except labor and delivery) 3) For now, patients in general are less sick-the military population is healthier than civilian populations-though we do care for retired and dependents that may have more co-morbidities.
    I do feel I have more opportunity for career advancement, not just as an officer but also as a nurse (working on different units, education) and having the chance to travel is always enticing. I do feel part of something bigger, I enjoy being part of a team, and working towards a mission.
    2. These statements are made base on my year at NMCP: I have not had the threat of deployment. Deployment in the nurse corps is generally sought after and it seems that higher ranking nurses are often the ones that go (O-3, O-4), to Afghanistan, Djibouti, or Cuba. Note, we are meant to be out of Afghanistan soon. I feel confident that if I wanted to deploy, I could direct my career in that direction. Also if I did not want to deploy, I could do the same. However, we are always deployment ready. I would not make assumptions nor have expectations about not deploying, it is the military.
    3. Yes, in general, CONUS orders are for 3 years. OCONUS orders may be for 12-24 months. Saying that, sometimes after 24 months at a command you can request to take a 'hot fill' which is a 'need now' post for nurses. Also, there are ample opportunities to switch nursing units either with Navy needs or per request after 18 months.
    4. I walked into the Red Cross and found out what I could do. I worked as a Disaster Nurse on the Disaster Response Teams. I was fully deployable for National Emergencies and mostly did local response to flood and fire (Oregon is far away from hurricanes). They also have nursing opportunities to teach courses (CPR, Babysitting, etc.) or work in Blood Services. All of these would be significant resume builders for any nursing position, but the Armed Forces work side by side with the Red Cross (just to keep in mind). Here is their main website for nurses (they also have student nursing opportunities) Volunteer Nurses | American Red Cross | Red Cross Nurses

    (Not all of that may have pertained to you but, I'm just trying to offer info to anyone who's reading) :-)
    Last edit by Sw88tpea on Feb 26, '13 : Reason: update
  2. 1
    Longtime reader here!

    Thank you so much for the info. For ALL the info! :-)
    Sw88tpea likes this.
  3. 0
    Quote from The Tiki
    Thank you for your response, but you did not understand my question. I am in the NCP former enlisted. My command told me that my date of rank to O1E will be based on my graduation date and not my commissioning date. Is that true? For example, I graduate w/ my BSN on May 5, 2013 is this my date of rank? - will I put on O2E on May 5, 2015? or will it be based on the date of my commissioning after passing the nclex? or will it be based on the day I start active duty at ODS?

    Thank you.
    The Tiki,

    My oath of office shows present grade date of December 4th. I finished my program in October but wasn't officially conferred until December and I didn't go to ODS until Jan. I am prior enlisted. Word of caution: Make sure you fax your paperwork (NCP enlistment, oath of office) including DD-214 directly to BUPERS no matter what your recruiter or ODS says. They won't handle it and you won't see O1E pay until 3-4 months and even longer for the back pay. In fact, I didn't even get paid until the last week of ODS. It was a nightmare.
  4. 0
    Quote from linnaete
    The Tiki,

    My oath of office shows present grade date of December 4th. I finished my program in October but wasn't officially conferred until December and I didn't go to ODS until Jan. I am prior enlisted. Word of caution: Make sure you fax your paperwork (NCP enlistment, oath of office) including DD-214 directly to BUPERS no matter what your recruiter or ODS says. They won't handle it and you won't see O1E pay until 3-4 months and even longer for the back pay. In fact, I didn't even get paid until the last week of ODS. It was a nightmare.
    Linnaete,

    Thanks for the info! I appreciate the heads up.
  5. 0
    Hello. I have started the process to join the Navy NC. This is the most difficult thing I have ever encountered in my life!!! I have been a nurse for 5 years, but my experience is ICU/CICU (bedside) and teaching (future RN students). I find this whole process as stressful because I am used to when I email people, I get a response soon. My recruiter takes FOREVER!!!!!! I often question is it a lack of interest on her part or is it just how things go. I have to interview with two Navy nurses, I have emailed her several times about is that my responsibility to schedule or their...no response. STRESSFUL!!!!!! I have a few questions:
    1) How long of a process was it for anyone; starting paperwork to leaving for ODS? I keep getting a blanket comment which isn't helpful to me.
    2) What is the best hospital for my first duty station? Everyone say NMCSD, but its not realistic for me. Everything that is important to me is on the EastCoast. I don't want to go to NMCP because.....I live near there now. I need a change from VA...LoL. Not to mention, I want to eventually like within the next 2-3 years become a CRNA.
    3) Is ODS really physically challenging? I have been working out daily and I feel I am in pretty decent shape. However, that 1.5 mile run creates anxiety in me. Don't get me wrong, I run at least 1.5-2 miles 3 times a week.
    4) I need some REAL honest advice regard Navy nursing and ODS?

    Any suggestions or comments are appreciated.
  6. 0
    Sorry for the delay! I was on leave for a week.
    1) The paperwork process should naturally take at least 4 weeks-that's if you come prepared with letters of rec and so forth (military wide)-it can certainly take up to months. If you finish everything it still depends on when they are doing the boards when they review packets, when I came in (2011) they were only reviewing packets once a year-September so everything had to be in by August. But they may be accepting year round. Pieces of the app as far as I remember: NASIS security clearance, CV, Motivational Statement and APSR, credentialing (just has to be turned in by recruiter-not approved), 3 letters of rec, 2 interviews, MEPS physcial roughly 6 pages-with any and all waivers, recent PAP docs.... and that's all I remember for now.
    2) I'm not sure why 'everyone' would say NMCSD. I'm not there and I'm ok. If you don't want NMCP then you can choose Bethesda WRNNMC (I think that's it). Otherwise you would have to do Florida-Pensacola or Jacksonville, or a non-Navy base-Camp Lejune, Ft. Belvoir. Though these are less likely you can always ask-I was offered Ft. Belvoir. As far as wanting CRNA it is even more beneficial for you to for to Bethesda because it has more critical care.
    3) You sound like you will do absolutely fine at ODS. It's more about attitude and following instruction than physical ability.
    4) There is a load of advice for both Navy and ODS in this thread from start to finish. One thing to keep in mind is the news. Congress and budget cuts include the military and your potential job. Though I do not fear I will lose my job, it just certainly could affect the recruiting process. If civilian employees go down to 4 days a week-those are the folks that actually process your paperwork and it will slow it down. Also they may take less nurses. Just something to keep in mind. Feel free to ask more questions, or PM me.
  7. 1
    Hello Sw88tpea!

    Just read this entire thread from the very beginning...thank you VERY much for posting all of this information! I will be going to ODS hopefully this May as I will be taking my NCLEX-RN exam next week and officially commissioned thereafter. Once I pass my exam I am told it shouldn't be a problem to get sent to Bethesda, MD but I am a bit concerned about making the transition from ODS to my first duty station. I've never traveled anywhere out of Chicago, IL and although I'm a city girl I really wish I was more savvy with finding my way so to speak in new areas.

    1.) Do you know of anyone that can recommend places to live nearby in Bethesda? I hear there are no housing options near the hospital so I wanted to get an idea where some good areas would be to rent an apartment (I really hope I make some good friends at ODS so we could share an apartment!).

    2.) If my duty station were to change, would you mind if I asked to be in touch with those you know at other duty stations who are also working as nurses? I'm sure you can tell I'm a bit concerned :-)

    3.) How would you describe the camaraderie between you and other officers (especially other nurses)? I have witnessed older nurses "eating their young" during my clinical rotations and just cringe at the thought of being away from my support system here in Chicago, adjusting to military culture and learning to be an excellent nurse...whoa.

    Thank you for all of your help and time, it is very much so appreciated! :-)
    Sw88tpea likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from BSN-NavyNurse
    Hello Sw88tpea!

    Just read this entire thread from the very beginning...thank you VERY much for posting all of this information! I will be going to ODS hopefully this May as I will be taking my NCLEX-RN exam next week and officially commissioned thereafter. Once I pass my exam I am told it shouldn't be a problem to get sent to Bethesda, MD but I am a bit concerned about making the transition from ODS to my first duty station. I've never traveled anywhere out of Chicago, IL and although I'm a city girl I really wish I was more savvy with finding my way so to speak in new areas.

    1.) Do you know of anyone that can recommend places to live nearby in Bethesda? I hear there are no housing options near the hospital so I wanted to get an idea where some good areas would be to rent an apartment (I really hope I make some good friends at ODS so we could share an apartment!).

    2.) If my duty station were to change, would you mind if I asked to be in touch with those you know at other duty stations who are also working as nurses? I'm sure you can tell I'm a bit concerned :-)

    3.) How would you describe the camaraderie between you and other officers (especially other nurses)? I have witnessed older nurses "eating their young" during my clinical rotations and just cringe at the thought of being away from my support system here in Chicago, adjusting to military culture and learning to be an excellent nurse...whoa.

    Thank you for all of your help and time, it is very much so appreciated! :-)
    Sw88tpea,

    I also wanted to take a moment to thank you so much for this information. This thread has been an invaluable resource.

    I would like to echo most of BSN-NavyNurse's questions/comments... much of it is sounding just like what I'd have written... which makes me think that the two of us should connect somehow before we meet in May.

    -calledtoserve
    Sw88tpea likes this.
  9. 0
    Hi BSN-NavyNurse, congratulations on graduating and commissioning! You're so welcome, I'm glad I can pay it forward!

    1) My friend bfrei+ is a Navy Nurse at Bethesda, I'll let her know to jump on and leave some info. She lives in the Chevy Chase area and metros to work as there is very limited parking at the hospital. Finding a place depends on if you want a parking spot... or not. We both wish we lived in the glam of Dupont Circle, unfortunately $$$.

    2) And yes, I can always do my best to put you in touch with someone!

    3) There is certainly a different culture in the military, the active duty you work with are often only there for 1-2 years so they don't have much time to become high and mighty. The civilians that hold the units together are the ones that are there for the long haul and I may have lucked out, but I have no real issues with the civilian employees (incomparable to my civilian nursing career). Each unit gets a new nurse about every 2mos, they are used to new faces, used to teaching, and want to have good co-workers.

    You will have to reach out to find a support system, ask those Junior Officers what they're doing after work, meet your neighbors, and go to your local church (regardless of faith). This is how I've made several connections-being 3000 miles from home. :-)
  10. 0
    Quote from Sw88tpea
    Hi BSN-NavyNurse, congratulations on graduating and commissioning! You're so welcome, I'm glad I can pay it forward!

    1) My friend bfrei+ is a Navy Nurse at Bethesda, I'll let her know to jump on and leave some info. She lives in the Chevy Chase area and metros to work as there is very limited parking at the hospital. Finding a place depends on if you want a parking spot... or not. We both wish we lived in the glam of Dupont Circle, unfortunately $$$.

    2) And yes, I can always do my best to put you in touch with someone!

    3) There is certainly a different culture in the military, the active duty you work with are often only there for 1-2 years so they don't have much time to become high and mighty. The civilians that hold the units together are the ones that are there for the long haul and I may have lucked out, but I have no real issues with the civilian employees (incomparable to my civilian nursing career). Each unit gets a new nurse about every 2mos, they are used to new faces, used to teaching, and want to have good co-workers.

    You will have to reach out to find a support system, ask those Junior Officers what they're doing after work, meet your neighbors, and go to your local church (regardless of faith). This is how I've made several connections-being 3000 miles from home. :-)

    Thank you so much Sw88tpea!!! :-)
    [Sidenote: I appreciate your help in advance Bfrei!!]

    I will look into the Chevy Chase area as I will also be taking the Metro to work. I'm not taking my car with me because I imagine trying to drive anywhere on the East coast is a nightmare...better off taking public transit or a cab. I also heard that Silver Springs is a nice area although I am not sure about the commute time.

    Thank you for telling me about the culture of the units you have worked on. It's a relief that they are used to new faces and teaching new grads the ropes! I will also go out of my way to reach out to others and I'm glad you mentioned church because that's one of the places I figured would be pretty easy to meet good people and maybe even the gym. Thanks again for everything and once I have my 15 posts I will PM Bfrei :-). Have a great week!


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