Quote from Kisa12
Alright, I'm going to give you a bit of a background of me so you'll better understand my motives to these questions.
I am a nursing student who is about to finish up getting my associates degree (just a couple months to go!), I am also dating a Marine (talking about marriage), and is interested in joining the military to. I am aware that the Marines don't have nurses, they just borrow from the Navy which is why I picked Navy. I'm thinking about doing the Nurse Candidate Program when I get out of the ADN program. My questions:
1. Does the military at any time let you pick what kind of nursing that you do? Psych nursing is a bit of a calling to me, so if I can pick psych I'd be really happy. If I can't I'm find with it, but I would be super happy if I can pick.
2. How well are the military (in general) are about placing married couples at least near one another?
3. If you are a military nurse what are the average hours that you work?
4. If you are a military nurse what are anything important do you think I should know before going forward with this plan?
I like to get a good picture of something before I go into it. So, thanks for your help.
First and foremost, you need to have a BSN. If you decide to go back for it, you can talk to the recruiters about the Nurse Candidate Program, but many of those programs have been shut down due to oversaturation of nurses across the board in the service. Sucks, but you will very likely need civilian work experience before you're competitive for selection into a service.
1. The military might take suggestions, but in the end, they will put you where you're needed. Personal preference has very little to do with it, at least in the Army. The Navy seemed to be better about taking into consideration personal preference (for instance, they didn't make anyone work the Hem/Onc floor if they didn't want to, but the Army nurses didn't have an option).
2. Most of the branches have a married couples program. As long as you're in the same branch, they're pretty good about making sure you're at least nearby.
3. Excellent question. You are there as long as you are needed whenever you are needed. Most weeks, it's a 40-hour work week for me. Lately, however, with sequestration looming, we are looking at 60 hours+ to make up for the loss of our civilians. There is no pay compensation for additional hours worked. We will not be "given back" time to make up for the time we work.
One notable exception is training. There is a LOT of extra training that the military requires, and it is not negotiable. I have been required to come in before at 1200 for a 2-hour training after working a 12-hour night shift the night before and being scheduled to work another 12-hour night shift the night after. Amazingly, no one thought this was a big deal. This happens fairly frequently. I am very fortunate that my drive to and from work in DC traffic went as well as it did, both on the way to training and on the way to work later that night. I have a friend who has been tasked out to so many things, she regularly puts in 60-80 hours a week at our hospital now. She is a floor nurse, but that woman is at the hospital every day.
4. Service is exactly that: service. You will need to check your personal preferences at the door, especially in a time of budget cuts and drawdown. Getting in is difficult even for experienced nurses, and staying in is cutthroat amongst those who want to be lifers. Additional education is essential (BSN will NOT make the cut above captain).
If you have any particular questions, feel free to PM me. I am an Army nurse, but I worked closely with the Navy for several years at Walter Reed-Bethesda. Good luck!