New to Navy, ODS, Portsmouth-need any help? - page 23

by Sw88tpea 59,988 Views | 280 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


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    I worked as a nurse for almost two years before leaving for the Navy. Feel free to PM me further questions.
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    Wow, this thread is awesome! I have my BS in psychology and currently am in a BSN program, graduating in May 2014. I am considering Navy but am interested in learning about what everyday life is like for a Navy Nurse. Is it true that it is difficult to join right now? Does anyone regret their decision to be a Navy nurse instead of a civ nurse?
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    In my experience, everyday life of a Navy nurse is not much different form that of a civilian. Navy nurses work 12 hour shifts in the hospitals and the standard 8 hour M-F in clinics. Patient-staff ratios are better. Patients are generally less ill than in civilian. You provide patient care for your shift and go home. You will have training requirements and competencies. I work in the NWU (camo) and combat boots. ICU, ED, L&D and Peds wear scrubs (at the hospital I work at, may be different at others).

    Nursing as a salary employee is very different from civilian. There is no opportunity to make more money without promotion, no overtime, no holiday pay, etc. Everyone rotates night/day shift without differentials. The pay is lower than civilian for about the first 2-4 years, then it is greater. Free healthcare, benefits, tax-free housing/substance allowances etc.

    I'm confident in my opportunities for advancement in the Navy. You receive an 'automatic' promotion every two years x2. If I spend 20 years in the Navy I'm confident that one of my tours would include 'Duty Under Instruction' where the Navy would pay me to go to graduate school for CNS, DNP, etc.

    I have been able to travel, I'm originally from Oregon and am stationed in Virginia. I am hoping to be stationed next overseas: Spain, Italy, Japan.

    My department has 1-2 people deployed to Cuba and Afghanistan. This is out of about 60 nurses. They have recently been taking LT ranks and higher. These spots are sought after, meaning if this does not interest you, it can be avoided in the beginning. However, it is still recommended that the military is not for you if you are unwilling to deploy.

    The choice to serve can be complicated. Know that you will have to 'play the game' but that exists in civilian jobs too. At times you have to complete paperwork or tasks that seem unnecessary. The actual nurse work is very good. I believe you have more opportunity for learning several specialties, floating and cross-training to other units in the hospital. This is a nursing job I could easily do for 20 years. My previous civilian job would of burned me out after 5 years or so with high patient-staff ratios and bad coworkers. Military promotion has you generally in a manager position within 6-10 years. If this is not your cup of tea, getting a graduate clinical-based degree can keep you on the clinical side longer.

    I have been very happy with my choice to join and have already decided (after one year) that I will request another tour and extend my contract. I took a 3 year contract for Virginia. I very much miss my home Portland, OR and am jealous of my coworkers that can drive home to Pennsylvania, North Carolina etc, on the weekends.

    Regardless of this, I feel I am right where I am supposed to be. Please let me know if you have any more questions, also feel free to PM me. Good luck with your decision-making.
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    Sw88tpea - best quote ever and oh-so-true:

    "The choice to serve can be complicated. Know that you will have to 'play the game' but that exists in civilian jobs too."

    I think a lot of folks don't 'get' that while we get told what to do, so do civilian RNs - no one here is their own boss unless they're an NP with their own practice, and even then in most states they're not truly 'free agents', so to speak. We all have a boss. I've not worked a place yet - civilian or otherwise - where someone isn't telling me what to do.
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    Thank you for that awesome response! It's definitely something that I'm considering. I think that serving others is obviously required to be a good nurse and it is so awesome and such an honor for you to be able to serve our military and the people that make such sacrifices for others everyday. So thank you!!!! I have total respect for our military and I think that this is a journey that I will have to really think about.
    Sw88tpea likes this.
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    Hi, I just lost a bunch of weight, 50lbs to be exactly and I and almost ready to apply. I am an experienced nurse of 4 years in psych and ED. Do you think I have good chances of being accepted? Recruiter told me that every year in October a needs list comes out and it is really hard to be commissioned and it can take years.
    Thanks for your time.
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    Yes any experience will help you get in. I don't know any person that is in where they say it took years to come in. Great work on losing the weight! If you're not within the height and weight standards I can't see them taking you. October is the beginning of the fiscal year. Are they still looking at boards in September? Meaning your package has to be in by August?
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    Quote from Sw88tpea
    Yes any experience will help you get in. I don't know any person that is in where they say it took years to come in. Great work on losing the weight! If you're not within the height and weight standards I can't see them taking you. October is the beginning of the fiscal year. Are they still looking at boards in September? Meaning your package has to be in by August?
    I will not be ready for boards this year. I have not started on my package and chief McDonald told me i won't until I have my weight ready. Is it like first come first serve? She told me to apply as early as I can because if the needs are met than there is no way to apply. I did not know it was this difficult to get in the navy nurse corps but it is my dream and it will happen! Currently I am getting fit so I be ready when the day comes. I will probably get my package started in November. Hope to get in by next summer. Thx for your respond. Can you tell me more about the boards?
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    Hi, wanted to know

    1.how many uniforms are is
    sued in ODS

    2. What happens if you fail your initial Physical test

    3. If you have not memorized items before arriving there will you have time to when you get there.

    4. How much time do you spend in the classrooms? How often do you test on materials learned in classrooms
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    Dear enoell, sorry to hear that your package won't make it in. Yes, I would turn in your package as soon as they allow. I'm sure that applications turned in by August have better chance than one's submitted later. Being fit is very important for the Navy. One of the quickest ways to get fired is not passing the height/weight or PRT. I highly recommend being very ready for an active lifestyle to keep yourself within regs at all times.

    When I did my application I had to have it completed and dated within six months of being sent. This was particularly tricky with letters of recommendations. If your package is being sent August 1st you can't have your LORs dated prior to March. Once the security clearance application is completed I think it is good for a while as long as there are no changes.

    Keep building your resume in the meantime and make yourself competitive. Active lifestyle like sport clubs would be a good idea or volunteering for the American Red Cross. Keep these things in mind and be pushing yourself to have the most stunning package they have ever seen. Good luck.


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