Quote from RNmom2RJC
I am seeking information related to NICU nursing in the AirForce. I have been a NICU nurse for 6 years and have a strong portfolio backing my skills. I am a certified PICC nurse, transport nurse, skilled in intubations and uvc/uac placement, chest tubes, etc. I have my RNC-NIC and I am looking at joing the AirForce when I graduate with my BSN in sept/2011. I would love some information from anyone who is currently working in the AirForce as a NICU nurse. Info regarding deployments, bases, and the chances of going straight into the NICU. My entire nursing career has been spent in the NICU and I am NICU obsessed, which leads to my next point of being very hesitant about caring for adults. Do NICU nurses get deployed? Also, i'm having a hard time getting ahold of a Healthcare Recruiter. I have called multiple times with no answer and finally got ahold of somebody on the AirForce website live chat who said he'd try to have someone contact me next week. If anyone has experience or information related to NICU nursing in the AirForce please please please share with me! I'm very excited about this possibility! I'm young (27) and in good shape so i'm not worried about the fitness side of things. I am married with two kids so the deploying issue is concerning...talk to me guys/gals
Hello. I have been trying to get into the AirForce as a NICU nurse for 2 years now. It is very competitive and they only take so many Specialty NICU nurses each year. They don't decide how many spots they have available for this area until September-October (beginning of the fiscal year). You would have to talk to a recruiter and start to get the application packet ready. There is a lot of paperwork involved in the application. Since your background is only NICU and you are RNC-NIC, you shouldn't have any problems staying within NICU. The way they decide is if you have 6 mos or more experience in the area. They will look very highly of you for being certified in this area. Also, make sure to keep your certifications up to date, such as NRP and CPR/BLS. Your chances of going straight into NICU is very good, but it all depends on if they have the slots available. They only had 5 slots last year and my paperwork was not ready in time, so hopefully this year will be my year. The recruiter will have you fill out the application packet, you will need 3-5 really good references and they will provide you with a form for those references to fill out, you will have to go in and do a military physical and security clearance which the recruiter will explain to you, and then you will have to interview with a Chief Nursing Officer. After all of these things are completed, your packet will be sent to the board where they will decide if they will essentially hire/accept you into the AirForce.
If accepted, you will go to a 5 week Commissioned Officer Training and then to your base. There are very few NICU's in the Air Force. You have somewhat of a choice, however, the Air Force will send you to where you are needed most. Air Force NICU's are located at Travis AFB, CA; Lackland AFB, TX; Langley AFB, VA; Germany, and Japan. When it comes to deployments, in the Air Force, I believe it is 6 months every 2 years. Not necessarilly saying it will be 6 months consecutively, but a total of 6 months. And, you may or may not get deployed. When it is time for your company/flight to go and they don't have anywhere to send you at that moment, you won't go anywhere. But, during that 6 month period of time, be prepared to get deployed. Deployment is where ever you are needed at the time. It may be stateside or it may be overseas, it may be due to natural disaster or it may be for a war; there are no specifics for deployment for nurses is the AirForce. Also, they will not have you do something during deployment that you are not able to do (ie. care for a critically injured adult when you have no idea how to do that). They will put you where needed within your scope of practice.
(Someone correct me if I am wrong about any of this!)
IF you are serious about this, I would suggest getting the application started. If you tried to contact the AirForce on their website asking for more info, they should have someone contact you. I filled out an email requesting more info and a healthcare recruiter sent me an email and called me. If you have any other questions, don't be afraid to ask on here.