I am a 41yr old BSN student that is in the process of applying for the Nurse Candidate Program. I understand that gaining entry into the program is VERY competitive and have a few questions. Currently, the recruiter has submitted paperwork to ensure that my age will not be a problem. I am interested in knowing about the process of applying. What should I expect to need to get my package ready to be submitted?
Also, I'm not sure how they decide which nurses get accepted or not... So here's my info
GPA 3.9 University of South Florida
4yrs Active Duty prior Enlisted- Aviation Electricians Mate
41yrs old and in great shape so weight or fitness will not be an issue
Will be doing clinicals at a major VA hospital
Also will be applying to the VALOR program with the VA to get more experience while
Married- husband is retired enlisted
Any advice for questions to ask???
Also, I want to go either overseas or Bethesda as my first duty station. I am concerned about Bethesda because of the area. If I am commissioned directly after graduation, my son will be a Junior in highschool. So, how is Bethesda for families? How are the schools?
Would references from professors that are retired officers look better in my package?
I know these are alot of questions. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Aug 12, '12
I can say my wife is in the process with the Army right now. For active duty into the Army, you need Nurseing experience, I believe 2 years. Not sure about the Navy. You will have a very large background packet around 70+ pages, and very aggrivating. You will have to go to MEPS, for an in depth physical, and of course pass the background. The paperwork and dealing with recruiters beforehand are the worse. After your packet is submitted for the board, all you do is hurry up and wait, but keep yourself in shape. That is about it.
Aug 13, '12
In regards to age - I believe your 4 years active should give u a 4 year grace period. So u r really 37. :-). Good luck!
Aug 13, '12
nursespouse - for NCP you don't need experience. It is for students who graduate, take the NCLEX and then go directly into the nurse corps.
PalmHarborMom - if you are accepted will your VA allow you to apply for the VALOR program? Our VA wouldn't allow you to apply if you had a federal obligation, so I couldn't apply. I would have loved to do that program. Also, unless you have prior RN experience, they won't send you overseas as your first duty assignment in the Navy. No idea about Army and not sure which branch you are looking at. We were specifically told that if we put overseas on our DPS they would send it back. But you can definitely put Bethesda as your first choice! You sound like a good candidate. Good luck!
Aug 13, '12
NursePamela- I am 41 right now and the Navy Nurse Corps recruiter said that I would need to be commissioned by the time I am 44. That's not including my 4 yrs of active duty. The paperwork is just a formality according to him.
oaktown2- I am still in the process of getting more info on the VALOR program. The 2 student nurses that I met already in the program have jobs lined up due to their experience gained in the program... And neither will be working for the VA after graduation. They both found jobs going straight into an ICU which I have heard is hard to get as a new grad. I just want to get additional experience on top of clinicals. I figure that considering that I will be doing clinicals at the VA anyway, there will already be people at the hospital that know me. (any edge helps)
I too heard that overseas is next to impossible for a first assignment but one can hope for miracles! I want Bethesda but am worried about the schools there. If I get commissioned directly after graduation, my son will be starting his Junior year in highschool. As this will be a big change for him as it is, I would like to make sure that there are good areas to live in. So if anyone knows about the area, I would love to hear from you.
Once I am commissioned, we will be a bi-state family. My daughter will be staying here in Florida to finish college (also wants to be an RN) and then wherever I end up.... the husband and son will follow. Thank goodness the whole family is excited about the possibility of being an active duty family again!
Aug 13, '12
I might be wrong about the age but I thought in order to get retirement benefits you had to have 20 years in by 62?? Therefore shouldn't you have until you are 46 to get commissioned??
Aug 13, '12
Technically yes. But I have been told that even with prior service they only want to waive 2 years from the maximum age limit for medical officers. I'm sure that there are exceptions but I should be OK either way. I guess that they do not want people with 12 years active duty expecting to come back in at 54yrs old. There has to be some kind of ultimate cutoff.
Aug 17, '12
So I went to talk to the recruiter and he sees no reason why I won't be accepted. I'm in the process of getting all the necessary paperwork together. It seems that my GPA and being prior service are the biggest things that will hopefully get me accepted. The suspense will be killing me until I find out!
Sep 7, '12
Keep working on that GPA. Also I worked as a VALOR nurse too prior to the Navy. I had my commitment with the VA before I signed any paperwork with the navy so I didn't actually have a prior commitment. Just to hedge up your bets, let your recruiter know that if the NCP doesn't work out that you would like to apply as a direct accession. Since you are prior military you should have a little easier time getting in. Plus you get more money from a DA than through the NCP and for less time usually.
Regarding your chances of Bethesda or Overseas, there pretty good. Many new nurses do get stationed overseas to places like Guam and Japan. I know many nurses that got to serve overseas as there 1st duty station and they weren't even prior enlisted.
Sep 7, '12
navyman7- Thanks for the reply! I was just at the recruiters office today and he said that there should be no problem getting in. It seems that having a 3.9 GPA and being prior military will help me stand out. I haven't heard whether a NCP commitment will hinder my chances for the VALOR program or not. But I did find out that, as a veteran, I can do work-study at the VA hospital and gain valuable experience. Our first day working the floor at the VA was Wednesday and it was awesome. Our clinicals are on the Spinal Cord Unit so we get a variety of patients. There are patients that are there for a acute illness, fresh injuries and others that have been there for awhile. The first day flew by! Hopefully, it will continue to be just as exciting.
As for the NCP versus DA.... I would go in without any additional compensation but just want to know that I am accepted. The recruiter said that the DA spots are getting fewer. They also tend to be more for nurses with experience versus new grads. Either way, the board meets in October so hopefully in November I will know something. There is another student in my class that is also in the Navy, she is in the reserves. I told her that we may end up at ODS at the same time; which would be cool to know someone already.
I'll post updates as the process progresses.
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