NICU Nurses Questions,

  1. Are there any nicu nurses here in the military; particularly in the Air Force? I was wondering if you enjoyed your job? Are there many bases to choose from in this field? Is it hard to become a nicu nurse in the military if you are already one as a civilian? What are the pros/cons on being a nicu nurse in the military vs a civilian? Do you deploy a lot?

    Thanks for any input you may have.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   JaxiaKiley
    I was wondering if there were any opportunities for NICU nurses in the military, too. Anyone know?
  4. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from CaringT
    Are there any nicu nurses here in the military; particularly in the Air Force? I was wondering if you enjoyed your job? Are there many bases to choose from in this field? Is it hard to become a nicu nurse in the military if you are already one as a civilian? What are the pros/cons on being a nicu nurse in the military vs a civilian? Do you deploy a lot?

    Thanks for any input you may have.
    There are very few NICUs in the AirForce. I think we are down to about 4 including the one that is about to reopen at Keesler AFB. Being a nurse in the AirForce is much better than civilian nursing in many regards, but I don't know specifics on NICU being an Adult ICU nurse.

    Capt E, USAF, NC
  5. by   navynurse06
    I know that the 3 big Navy hospitals have NICUs; but I'm not sure about any of the others. At one point it was rumored that the Navy was cutting back on nurses in the NICU; just hiring civilians nurses. But that changes day to day. I think our NICU only has a few navy nurses up there right now.
  6. by   MCHnurse
    I'm no expert on this but ironically I had a conversation with my detailer today and we talked about this exact subject. As navynurse06 said, the Navy does have NICUs and they do utilize Navy nurses. My detailer also said that there are several smaller hospitals that have Navy NICU nurses but rarely more than just one or two. Most of the NICU nurses in those hospitals are contract. He also said that NICU nurses are rarely stationed overseas (again this is Navy) because there are so few births overseas. As for deployment, I cannot speak to that since I am not yet active duty, but I would assume that any nurse in the military would be deployed at some time regardless of their specialty. The active duty nurses who frequent this message board could enlighten you more on this I'm sure.
  7. by   wtbcrna
    He also said that NICU nurses are rarely stationed overseas (again this is Navy) because there are so few births overseas.

    I would have to disagree about "few births overseas". L&D at any active duty military base is usually one of the busiest departments! Almost all overseas bases allow accompanied tours. I know quite a few active duty people that had their kids overseas. The difference with NICUs overseas is that high risk OB and people with special needs dependents are often not allowed to go accompanied overseas.
  8. by   navynurse06
    Regardless of the area you work in you are deployable if you are in the service! I'm in peds right now and I will be deployed on the USNS Mercy this summer. Also, I work with a nurse who was deployed to Kuwait.
  9. by   MCHnurse
    Quote from wtbcrna
    I would have to disagree about "few births overseas". L&D at any active duty military base is usually one of the busiest departments! Almost all overseas bases allow accompanied tours. I know quite a few active duty people that had their kids overseas. The difference with NICUs overseas is that high risk OB and people with special needs dependents are often not allowed to go accompanied overseas.
    I certainly won't disagree here since I'm not yet in the military and I have no first-hand knowledge. I think the point my detailer was trying to get across is that there are many overseas sites that have only 5-10 births per month. This in contrast to 350-400 per month at the hospital where I will be stationed. He said that while OB and neonatal nurses are needed, they are stationed overseas in small numbers and they often work in areas other than their specialty because the census is too low.
  10. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from MCHnurse
    I certainly won't disagree here since I'm not yet in the military and I have no first-hand knowledge. I think the point my detailer was trying to get across is that there are many overseas sites that have only 5-10 births per month. This in contrast to 350-400 per month at the hospital where I will be stationed. He said that while OB and neonatal nurses are needed, they are stationed overseas in small numbers and they often work in areas other than their specialty because the census is too low.
    Here is an article that people in L&D/NICU might find interesting.

    http://www.military.com/NewContent/0..._Stork,00.html
  11. by   MCHnurse
    Quote from wtbcrna
    Here is an article that people in L&D/NICU might find interesting.

    http://www.military.com/NewContent/0..._Stork,00.html
    That is crazy! Well we know where she could request to go if she wants to work NICU. Apparently the detailer I spoke to was *not* talking about Germany. Thanks for sharing...that means good opportunities for me too.
  12. by   cliffguard
    I am an active duty AF NICU RN. Currently the AF has NICUs in San Antonio, TX at Lackland AFB; Okinawa, Japan at Camp Lester (Navy hospital); Landstuhl, Germany at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (Army). There is also a NICU at Kessler AFB, near Gulfport MS that is still in the process of reopening post Katrina.
    The NICUs are small, units range from 7 to 20 beds. Even though they are small there are a fair share of complex, unique patients to deal with. I have taken care of conjoined twins, I have also assisted in the intercontinental transport of a gastroschisis newborn on a KC135 -- a fuel tanker for jets.
    If you are a civilian NICU nurse, and you want to remain a NICU nurse in the military, the AF is the way to go. The Navy rotates staff RNs from unit to unit, the Army delivers NICU care by mostly civilian RNs. In the AF you are more or less locked in for at least 5 years or longer if you so desire.
    I have known a few civilian RNs that now work in the military setting and their biggest complaint is that there is not enough complexity to the cases to keep skills sharp. I have personally enjoyed the pace and the patient loads that I have experienced.
  13. by   CaringT
    Cliffguard,

    How many times have you deployed?
  14. by   cliffguard
    I have not had a deployment, and I have more than 15 years in the USAF as an enlisted member and Nurse Corps officer. A lot of my time has been overseas, however. Being an AF member we are deployable during certain rotations and may be asked to volunteer if a fill in is needed. If you deploy you will be working with adult patients, or may get the occasional peds case if someone is aware of your skills. If you are stationed stateside you may experience more opportunites for deploying. Most of the time, because NICU RNs are quite specialized, you will not have to deploy unless you volunteer to do so.

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