Potential Military Nurse

  1. 1
    Hi all,

    I completed my senior practicum for a BSN program at a local VA hospital and was TRULY, and DEEPLY affected by my time there. I am considering military nursing as a possible road in my life, and many people have said I would prosper there (apparently based on my temperament).

    I just have a number of basic questions. Don't feel obligated to answer them all, but any information is welcome. I understand they it may differ depending on the branch of military I enter. I will tell you that I am leaning towards the Navy, but also have an inclination towards the Coast Guard. Hopefully any differentiating between the two will aid me in selecting my ideal branch of the military.

    1) As I have an undergraduate degree in nursing, I would enter as an 'officer'. What exactly comes along with that? (And please answer all following questions based on the assumption that I am an 'Officer.')
    2) Immediately arriving to my first naval base or training area -- what are my expectations? An educational program? A fitness program? Details on each.
    3) What would my living situation be like? Would I have 'bunk-mates' so to speak, or do I have my own apartment?
    4) I am a vegetarian. Do they accommodate such practices? Would I get ‘beef’ (no pun-intended) from all my comrades for being a vegetarian? Just curious.
    5) I do NOT need any loan repayment from college, fortunately… What then are my required years for active service?
    6) What is expected of me during active service?
    7) What is expected of me during ‘inactive’ service? Can you switch between the two phases?
    8) To military nurses… I understand that you are placed in an area of nursing that is under-represented. Are there any chances of working in an environment you select? For example – I mainly want to work in the Operating Room.
    9) What is the medical test like? And is poor vision (I NEED contacts/glasses) a disadvantage?
    10) What is my first year like, in a nut-shell?
    11) What are the following years generally like?
    *Anything else you feel is pertinent information!

    I am very obviously a military newbie. Unfortunately, no one in my very small and quiet family has served in the military (save for when the draft was still in place).
    Thank you for your time!
    bigsick_littlesick likes this.
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I can answer #9 for you since I passed my medical yesterday. Poor vision is fine. I wear glasses and have 20/400 vision without them; they were ok with that. No waiver was needed for me. You will undergo testing for vision, hearing, get your blood drawn, pee into a cup in front others, perform physical movements in your underwear in front of other recruits and a physician and a chaperon (usually a nurse) of the same gender as you, and then change into a paper gown for a quick physical check. They palpate your breasts (if female), listen to your heart and lung sounds, and then take a quick look at your genitals and bottom to ensure that you are your stated gender and that there were no hemorrhoids or rectal abnormalities. This medical check is done in private with just you and the doctor and a chaperon It sounds awful and it was a bit uncomfortable but honestly it starts to become hilarious and you laugh a lot with fellow recruits. At the end of it, you bond with your fellow recruits because you go through such craziness together. Google "medical exam at MEPS" or something to that effect to get additional perspectives from others who have gone through the process. Also, Google "duck walk and MEPS." Really, the medical exam not that big of a deal. Just wear appropriate underwear (no thongs) and follow instructions.

    I've looked into the Coast Guard myself and found that they get their nurses from the US Public Health Service. The Coast Guard does take physician assistant's though but of course, that requires additional education. Not sure if that is something you're interested in but it seemed worth noting here given your interest in the Coast Guard.
  5. 0
    I was enlisted in the medical field in the Air Force but I may be able to answer some of your questions.

    For your questions about being a Navy officer: Frequently Asked Questions: Navy.com

    Your commitment will be four years regardless of taking educational benefits or not. My vision is horrible. There are very few jobs where this would affect your selection. Nursing isn't one of them. The physical is pretty basic; nothing to be concerned over. Don't expect to be able to choose where you want to go. They will put you where they need you. This applies to duty stations and where you work. We basically rotated to a different floor in the hospital every two years and no, we didn't get a choice. The nurses (officers) did the same. Up until a certain rank, we had dorm mates. Officers may get to forgo that though. Being on a ship, well, that may be a different story. Even enlisted got to move off base and into their own apartments after they reached a certain rank.

    Most military contracts are four years active and then four years inactive. You can not switch to inactive from active. Your butt is theirs for that four years, 24-7, period. The inactive period just means that they can call you back into active service. I didn't have to do anything at all during my four years of inactive service. You can return to active duty during that time if you so choose, but you will have to re-enlist for another four years.

    Yes you will pretty well be ragged on for being a vegetarian. They don't "accommodate" you per se, just don't eat any of the meat at chow :-).

    Keep in mind that you can work in military hospitals and facilities as a civilian nurse as well.

    Finally, if you are female, be careful. Your chances of being raped double ( from 1 in 6 civilian to 1 in 3 in the military).

    Good luck!
  6. 0
    Your passion for military medicine sounds like a good fit. Note: There are no Coast Guard nurses. They have flight teams but no real nurses.

    1) As I have an undergraduate degree in nursing, I would enter as an 'officer'. What exactly comes along with that? (And please answer all following questions based on the assumption that I am an 'Officer.') You are a Naval Nurse and a Naval Officer everyday at work. You are a leader, a mentor, and a teacher everyday. You will lead and train enlisted corpsman. It's good work that a BSN trains you for-delegating etc.
    2) Immediately arriving to my first naval base or training area -- what are my expectations? An educational program? A fitness program? Details on each. Upon arriving to your duty station you will be part of a nurse graduate training program that is 6-15 weeks long where you rotate through the hospital and learn about military medicine. Then you will have 4-12 weeks orientation on your assigne unit. See my thread on ODS. http://allnurses.com/government-mili...ds-696434.html
    3) What would my living situation be like? Would I have 'bunk-mates' so to speak, or do I have my own apartment? You will live on base with a roommate during training. Then you can choose to live on base (no one does) or live in town on your own or with roommates. You will be given a basic housing allowance.
    4) I am a vegetarian. Do they accommodate such practices? Would I get ‘beef’ (no pun-intended) from all my comrades for being a vegetarian? Just curious. I had three friends that were vegetarian in ODS. It wasn't good eating but it was manageable.
    5) I do NOT need any loan repayment from college, fortunately… What then are my required years for active service? I did not need loan repayment. I did 3 years with a $20K. You can do anywhere between 3-8 years. They might change what they offer according to their need.
    6) What is expected of me during active service?
    7) What is expected of me during ‘inactive’ service? Can you switch between the two phases? No. You can choose to go active or reserve. When you sign active you sign an 8 year contract but once you finish your active duty orders you can go into 'inactive reserve' where you would only be obligated in the event of WWIII.
    8) To military nurses… I understand that you are placed in an area of nursing that is under-represented. Are there any chances of working in an environment you select? For example – I mainly want to work in the Operating Room. At first you will be placed where you are needed, you can have a preference. You will not go to OR immediately. However there is there is the opportunity for moving to another area after about 18-24 months. Which is honestly what's best as far as getting your feet wet and learning how things work.
    9) What is the medical test like? And is poor vision (I NEED contacts/glasses) a disadvantage? Poor vision is not a problem-unless you wanted to be a pilot.
    10) What is my first year like, in a nut-shell? ODS for 6 wks, Command Orientation/Nurse Grad for 6-15 wks. Unit orientation for 6-12 weeks. 6 months in I was trained as charge nurse. At 14 months in I will be deploying on the USNS Comfort for a humanitarian mission and I can't wait.
    11) What are the following years generally like? For your first 5+ years you will be working on wards etc. You can alert your chain of command if you are interested in deployment. Like I said you can change wards after a year or so. Your orders for your command are usually 3 years. After 2 you can request a hot-fill or a 'need now' position at another base. Otherwise you can request your next set of orders with three requests the same way you do for your first set.

    My family was not military either. I feel like I also came in with a mostly blind eye but have done well and am glad with the choices I made. It's important to have a good outlook and attitude. One team one fight. Training is done for a reason and it's best to just go through the motions and have a good, proud attitude. It's a big choice to be part of the 1% of Americans that choose to serve their country. I'm happy to be here and proud to serve!
  7. 0
    Check out the post Military Nursing Questions Answered. Lots of answers to your questions. Good luck.


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