Nursing.....Air Force or Navy??

  1. Hello, I've been lurking around here for some months know and have found lots of great information..but I still have questions.
    I am currently enrolled in a 4 yr. BSN program and will graduate in 2 years. I am married and have 4 children between the ages of 13 & 6. I have been thinking about joining either the Air Force or the Navy and have found many sites with info for the Navy, but not a whole lot on the AF, so I guess right now, I'm leaning towards the Navy. My only question is my family situation. Is it a bad thing to already have a large family before getting in?? My husband and father are both former AF, so we are familiar with the military. Another thing is that my husband is on long-term disability due to a work injury..Is that a problem?? I have heard lots of great stories about how nurses are treated in the military by doctors, as oppose to how we are treated in the civilian world by some not so nice Drs.( I know not all are jerks).
    From what I have read, once I'm done with school I would go to an commissioned officer training camp, and then to one of the big 3 naval hospitals. How long does one usually stay there?? What are my odds of going on a ship? And if I do go on a ship, for how long?? Another question is about housing, since we are a big family, do they have housing that can accommadate us?? What if the size of the house we need is not in my ranking area? I have found a website for naval housing and there are some enlisted houses that have more bedrooms than some officier housing, so woujld we go into the enlisted housing?? How often do you move?? When my dad was in the AF we moved just about every 2 years, where as my husband was stationed at Barksdale for all of his 6 years!
    I would like to do the program that the Navy does for college students, where they pay you a stippend while in school and get a sign-on bonus, and from what I read I need to do this after I complete my first semester in nursing courses, which ould be the end of this semster, so I need to deceide what I'm going to do pretty soon!
    Thanks for any input you can give
    Sorry so long....just trying to make the right decision.
    Feel free to email me if yoou want!
    •  
  2. 44 Comments

  3. by   wtbcrna
    I don't think having a big family would be a problem with joining the military. We have three kids. Most AirForce housing will only have up to 4 bedrooms. All the AirForce bases I have been at so far only had 4 bedroom houses max. The only thing to consider with your husband is if he can still take care of the kids while your gone/deployed/TDY etc.
    The Navy is a great choice. The AirForce is great, too. I am also a big fan of the United States Public Health Service/same benefits as the military w/o being in the military. It is great choice if deployments are problem for you. http://www.usphs.gov/
    The AirForce just changed its' policy on recommended move times from CONUS to CONUS stations they recommend a minimum of 4yrs time on station before moving/PCSing.
  4. by   Allemse
    Thanks for your reply! He can take care of the kids just fine...he just has a limit on how much he can lift...he has had 4 cervical spinal fusions, so he is fused from C3-C7. I didn't really find alot of answers for the website you posted. I guess I just don't understand how the whole thing works...I do know that I do not want to work in a federal prison!!
    I am really interested in the nurse candidate program...if anyone can give me info on how that works. Don't you get a monthly stipened with that? That would really help right now!
  5. by   DanznRN
    Allemse-

    I got into the Navy via the NCP program. You're right you get a stipend, my was $500/ month, $457 after taxes and I got that for 2 years. My sign-on bonus was only $5000, after taxes was like $3700. After I got through with schools and got my license I went to OIS for weeks (now only 5) and then on to my duty station. I have 3 kids and the Mrs. is active duty too, so don't worry about large families and you don't have to always live on-base. If your hubby is totally functional and not needing specialized care, then there are no concerns. However, if he always needs to be close to a certain type of doctor, that could limit your choices of duty stations in the future. With children already teenagers I'm curious how old you are? Not being nosy, but you need to be commissioned before you turn 44 and you may need a waiver for that. What did you do before going to school to be a nurse? From personal experience, people over a certain age with a prior career have trouble adapting to the Navy and nursing at the same time. My wife is precepting a lady who just got in who is 44 and my wife is 30. The lady had a 9 year career as a personal trainer before going to nursing school. She's having trouble with my wife teaching her how to be a nurse, my wife has been a nurse for 7+ years now and this woman just doesn't like a younger woman telling her how it is. That's now to mention my wife outranks her, just food for thought if that kind of stuff bothers you, want you to come in as informed as possible. I have been in the NAvy since '97, going to be 10 years in May and I love it. If you have more questions, please let me know, here to help.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  6. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from Allemse
    Thanks for your reply! He can take care of the kids just fine...he just has a limit on how much he can lift...he has had 4 cervical spinal fusions, so he is fused from C3-C7. I didn't really find alot of answers for the website you posted. I guess I just don't understand how the whole thing works...I do know that I do not want to work in a federal prison!!
    I am really interested in the nurse candidate program...if anyone can give me info on how that works. Don't you get a monthly stipened with that? That would really help right now!
    I know the site can be a little confusing, but there are well over 30 + positions right now listed on their site not working in the BOP. http://dcp.psc.gov/vats/rpt_create.asp
    Also, because the way USPHS does its rank/pay you would come in as an O-2 instead of O-1. That is a difference of over $300 month for the first two years and then because of promotions that would be a difference of over $1000 a month for the next two years after that! Just something to think about..
    Lt Dan is the most knowledgeable about Navy stuff on this board. You might try to PM him.

    Here is some info on the Navy program though:
    http://www.navy.com/messageboard/thr...0626&tstart=45

    Good Luck!
  7. by   Allemse
    Thanks Lt Dan for your reply. I am 33, almost 34 and I have a little over 2 years left in school. I am familiar with military life, since my father was in the AF till I was 13 and I married into it with my husband. He got out of the Af 1n 1994.....they were down sizing his job so he had to either cross train or get out. Before I went to school, I worked here and there between kids. Then after my last one, deceided it was now or never!
    Some other questions....after OIS, I would go to one of the "big 3"? And would stay there for about year before going somewhere else? How often do nurses go out on the ships? I read somewhere that they mostly volunteer for that..don't know if that is true or not? Do you get to wear scrubs or do you wear a uniform? When I am at OIS and I have my orders...can my family go ahead to my new duty station? How long does it take to get the stipend after you fill everything out?
    I think that may be it..for now!!
    Thank you for helping me!!!!
  8. by   DanznRN
    Allemse-

    Going to do my best to answer your questions, let me know if I miss something.

    1. After OIS, even though you go to a "Big 3," your tour will be 3 years, not 1 like you thought. All tours in the Navy are for 3 years with a few exceptions.

    2. Nurses on ships. As a duty station, yes you have to volunteer for that. We only have 12 ships in the Navy that accomadate/ use a nurse and they are carriers. You have to request to go on one. However, in a deployment situation you could find yourself on a ship, just depends. As a duty station though, volunteer.

    3. Scrubs vs. uniforms. It all depends on where you work. Most critical car areas are scrubs including most ERs. All the other floors generally wear informs, but places like L&D where scrubs too. This is an issue that is different at each command. If you have a particular interest in an area, try to get some experience there. I always advise people coming in as a nurse to get a job as nursing assistant in the area they like. I liked ER/ ICU and worked for 3+ years in those areas before my license. When I got to my duty station and they asked if I had experience outside nursing school and I said "yes." I got exactly what I wanted, I marketed myself, keep it in mind with 4 kids that's a stretch with school.

    4. Family ahead. Yes, once you get your orders they can go ahead. However, you need to provide your husband a power of attorney to get the household goods and stuff like that. If you wanted to do base housing, they can't do that without you. It all depends on what you want them to do without you. Also keep in mind that you won't get paid for the new duty station BAH until you get there, I think, need to check on that one.

    5. NCP Time frame. O.K. there is a process for this, it's not sign on the dotted line and you're good, you have to apply. I applied in a year when there 3500 other applicants, they chose 35 that year. Things are probably different now, but you if this is what you want to do, you need to get in touch with a nursing recruiter and get the ball rolling. Once the application, physical, etc., are complete you have to wait for the next board to meet and that can take months. Once you get accepted then you can start getting your money. So what you need to do is get a nursing recruiter to let you know what is going on, where are you located, maybe I can help. I know the guy in Baltimore, MD.

    Keep the questions coming and let me know if I can help.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  9. by   Allemse
    Lt Dan
    You answered so many of my questions!!Thank you!! The only question I have now is about housing & BAH. I was just looking to get an idea of the different areas that I could go to of the 3, looking at house prices and such. I was on a site that sold & rented houses for the military and was looking at rent houses arounf the Bethesda area....the average rent was 2,500-3,300.....I looked up what my BAH would be for that area with a rank of 0-1 and it was 1,876, does that mean I would have to make up the difference?
    I would love to work L&D!!! But I know I can't stay in one certain field. I might be able to work at a hospital in about a year, to get experience. Some hospitals around here will hire students after their 2nd semester in nursing clinicals and they work around your schedule.
    I'm in south Louisiana, Lake Charles area. The only recruiters here are for enlisted. I went to ask some questions awhile back and they didn't have a clue what I was talking about!!! But one guy there knew, and gave me a number for an officer recruiter in Houston, tx. But I don't have it anymore.
    I requested some info off of the navy.com website, so that should get in a few days.
    Thanks again for all of your help!
  10. by   DanznRN
    Allemse-

    As far as the BAH question, you're right. You get the $1876 and the rest is up to you, I know OUCH!!! That's why I live in West Virginia about an hour away. I have a 4-bed house on 1 acre for $399,000, nothing closer can touch that. Our area is starting to build up too, so property values are going to go up. I'll see if I can dig up a recruiter for you. The Houston person is probably right, they cover huge areas because there are so few of them. Let me know how I can be more help.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  11. by   Allemse
    WOW!!Ouch is right!!! But I guess you gotta do what you have to when housing waiting lists are 1-2 years! Maybe, like you said....live alittle farther away.
    My husband brought up a question.....he remembered when he was in the AF that you had to do atleast 1 long tour, usually around a year long, and it was no family. He didn't know if that was just for enlisted or not( he was enlisted) and was wondering if the Navy had the same thing.
    Thanks!
  12. by   DanznRN
    Nope, nothing like that in the Navy. You can do a tour like that if you wanted, place called Diego Gracia, also known as "The Rock." But no, there is no such thing that is mandatory like that. You can pretty much take the family anywhere, there are a few places that you can't take your family because it is too dangerous, but they don't force you to go there. Keep'em coming.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  13. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from Allemse
    WOW!!Ouch is right!!! But I guess you gotta do what you have to when housing waiting lists are 1-2 years! Maybe, like you said....live alittle farther away.
    My husband brought up a question.....he remembered when he was in the AF that you had to do atleast 1 long tour, usually around a year long, and it was no family. He didn't know if that was just for enlisted or not( he was enlisted) and was wondering if the Navy had the same thing.
    Thanks!

    The AF calls them unaccompanied tours. There are few tours like that for nurses in the AF. Korea & Turkey are the top ones and all the nurses I have worked with have done these on volunteer only basis. Most people do the unaccompanied tours in order to have their choice of stations afterwards.
  14. by   Allemse
    What do they look for in applicants for ncp? You said that when you applied there were 3500, and they only chose 35. Is there a certian criteria that they look for? What is the selection process based on? If you're not chosen, can you reapply?
    Thanks

close