Questions regarding Army ROTC

  1. 0
    A little about me:

    -I am currently a 4th semester BSN student
    -I am interested in Army ROTC
    -I am currently taking an Army PT class to "see how I like it"
    -If I do, I plan on going to LTC this summer and doing ROTC for the rest of my time in school (4 more semesters after this current one)

    As for my questions:

    -If I complete ROTC and graduate with my BSN, am I guaranteed to work as a nurse in the Army, or can they force me into another field? I have absolutely zero interest in doing anything but nursing because I have changed my major and it is going to ultimately take ~7 years for me to graduate. Is there a way to guarantee this in my contract with the Army? (Side note: I understand that I am not guaranteed a commission, but I'm asking if there is any way they can switch my career, not what my chances are of getting a commission!)

    -Does anyone have experience with the ARMY ROTC and nursing combination? I want to hear from anyone who has gone down this path and what your experience has been like. Any information would be appreciated

    -I have talked to people I know from the military about nursing, and one guy said that some of his military nursing friends complain that civilian nurses who they work with sometimes have a lack of respect for them. He didn't really provide an explanation and I was kind of shocked because I would expect just the opposite (usually military garners more respect).

    Thanks for the help everyone!
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  3. 16 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    A few questions:

    1. Are you in pre-nursing or nursing school? If you're pre-nursing, have you been accepted into a program?

    2. What do you mean by 7 years to graduate? You'll have been in school for 7 years by the time you're done or you'll be in school another 7 years? ROTC works within a traditional timeframe--4 years of school to get your bachelor's, take the NCLEX, commission and off you go.

    A few statements:

    1. If you're a 4th semester nursing student, you'll be going to LDAC, not LTC. LDAC is a mandatory course attended between your junior and senior years. LTC is typically attended between sophomore and junior years and is not mandatory.

    2. If you want to attend Army PT via ROTC, you should contact the ROTC at your school. We had folks PT with us frequently just to get their feet wet.

    3. If you graduate college, pass the boards and are accepted into the military, your contract should stipulate that you'll serve as an RN. However, if you fail college or do not pass the NCLEX, you get a finite number of retakes (I think 2) and then the military can do with you what they will.

    4. Disrespect is universal, and just because you're entering the military does not mean that everyone will respect you. Civilians are somewhat untouchable because 1) the unions are powerful and 2) they exist in the system, but they follow a different chain of command than the military. I've know a few civilians who are incredibly disrespectful. They could probably have gotten away with murder. The nice thing is, the military is a family. This tends to catch up to civilians who try to abuse their position and take advantage of soldiers.

    Personally, I didn't end up completing ROTC. I did LTC, got my waivers done and did ROTC for a semester before I realized that I couldn't feasibly do both ROTC and nursing school. The ROTC at my school was a satellite program, so I had ROTC labs and nursing clinicals overlapping. The requirements between the two were conflicting and would've been nearly impossible to fulfill. I direct commissioned after college, though from what I've heard, the Army requires 2 years of prior experience nowadays to even apply for a direct commission.

    Due to the drawdown, you probably won't end up on active duty as those of us currently on active duty are facing cuts. If you do ROTC, you'll likely be placed in the reserves.
    Last edit by SoldierNurse22 on Jan 15 : Reason: forgot words...errrrg.
  5. 0
    Sorry for the confusion regarding my status in school. I was formerly a biology major for 3 years, and am now in nursing school, with 2.5 years left. I have been accepted into nursing school, and have completed a semester (at my school, your "first" year is prereqs, then the next 3 years are actual nursing school, and I am in the first year of the actual nursing school portion). So I am a second semester sophomore as far as nursing school goes, which means I would have to do LTC this summer in order to catch up to others who have been in ROTC for the past 2 years.

    As far as ROTC goes, I am already registered in an ROTC class and I am attending PT as a part of this course. I talked with the director of the ROTC program and he has been my main source of info up to this point, so I wanted to get info from people who have actually been through it. I've read a lot on here and I have learned that commissions are becoming more competitive every year. My ultimate goal would be a commission, but I would not be super upset if I ended up having to do reserves. As for passing the NCLEX, I am not too worried about that since our school has a 99% pass rate so I feel like I will be very well prepared when it comes time to take it.

    I like what you had to say about the disrespect issue. The whole idea that the military is more than just a job, and that it is your family, is a big reason why I want to join the Army.

    Any other comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated (especially since you are an Army nurse!)
  6. 0
    Gotcha, thanks for the clarification. Now I'm tracking with you.

    Just to make sure you're on the same page, you'll commission whether or not you go reserves or active. The commission itself is what makes you an officer.

    I hate to sound like a negative Nellie, but really make sure that you're good with getting used up, working long hours without compensation and being a long ways from home. Just because you have leave to burn doesn't mean you'll always be allowed to use it. While I have enjoyed my time in service, there comes a point where it's time to move on.

    Personally, I'm at a point where I'm ready to live in the same state as my husband and start a family. Working in the nursing specialty of my choosing and being able to travel where I want to on my days off are bonuses as well.

    I'm certainly not saying don't serve, especially if you're really set on it. Just be aware that there are sacrifices on a personal level that may crop up when you least expect it, and both you and your loved one(s) will pay for it.

    To get back on topic, I have been through LTC myself. It was an eye-opening experience and about ten times tougher than anything I experienced at officer's basic (BOLC). Compared to LTC, BOLC was like a 4-month party. I had a blast. But LTC was serious business--drill sergeants, 2-4 hours of sleep a night for a month, training in the sun all day, long ruck marches, PT until you felt like you just couldn't do it anymore--I've never worked harder or been in better shape in my life. I made it through and came out with a lot of appreciation for what the enlisted side does. I also gained some skills that most medical officers never really get the chance sharpen (land nav, water survival, urban and my personal favorite--marksmanship!).
  7. 0
    I did Army ROTC and nursing. You will find nowadays it is hard to get a scholarship or even get contracted. Without a contract you won't get a commission.

    I have heard rumors of nurses getting forced into other jobs this year because the Army is at like 140% capacity or something for new nurses but I am not positively sure. It is safe to assume that if you get a contract and pass your NCLEX you will at least get a reserves commission. Keep in mind you may be paying for your own school....

    Civvy nurses at military hospitals have it made. They get OT, don't have to bother with rank and have much more rights than a military nurse. Oh and it is almost impossible to fire them even if they are terrible nurses. Because of this, many military nurses dislike lazy, mean spirited civvy/GS nurses. As for respect I don't know and I don't care what they think.
  8. 1
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    I hate to sound like a negative Nellie, but really make sure that you're good with getting used up, working long hours without compensation and being a long ways from home. Just because you have leave to burn doesn't mean you'll always be allowed to use it. While I have enjoyed my time in service, there comes a point where it's time to move on.

    Personally, I'm at a point where I'm ready to live in the same state as my husband and start a family. Working in the nursing specialty of my choosing and being able to travel where I want to on my days off are bonuses as well.
    Amen sister! I knew I would deploy - as an ER nurse with the M5 identifier, that was inevitable. I don't love being a bazillion miles from home and away from my significant other, but I am dealing with it. What I didn't expect was the inequality in workload distribution at my home MTF. Quite frankly, my unit here treats me better, and I am just a PROFIS member of the unit. Lol. Kinda sad. I do have to give love to my company commander (who was an L&D nurse when I left) and my ER OIC, because they stay in contact to keep up with how I am doing. But the abuse of active duty is rampant. My contract is up in June 2015, at which point I will transition back to civilian life. No regrets, I have loved my time (mostly), but I will need flexibility at that point in my life to move wherever my significant other ends up going to med school.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
  9. 0
    Quote from Pixie.RN
    What I didn't expect was the inequality in workload distribution at my home MTF. Quite frankly, my unit here treats me better, and I am just a PROFIS member of the unit. ... No regrets, I have loved my time (mostly), but I will need flexibility at that point in my life to move wherever my significant other ends up going to med school.
    Quote from Dranger
    Civvy nurses at military hospitals have it made. They get OT, don't have to bother with rank and have much more rights than a military nurse. Oh and it is almost impossible to fire them even if they are terrible nurses. Because of this, many military nurses dislike lazy, mean spirited civvy/GS nurses.
    Well said, both of you. I couldn't agree more.
  10. 0
    Quote from SoldierNurse22
    Well said, both of you. I couldn't agree more.

    With all this being said, would you all then NOT recommend going down this path? It sounds like most of you like some aspects of ARMY nursing, but overall I have found most responses to be negative. I like the ROTC stuff I have done so far but I don't want to continue on if it is going to just be a waste of time. I'm very torn right now.
  11. 0
    That's really a tough call. A few years ago, I'd have recommended it wholeheartedly.

    However, times are changing, and after you get in, if you get in, you'll immediately have to fight to stay in. The drawdown is going to mean crappier stations, longer promotion time and a lot more work for the few of us in green who remain.

    Ultimately, of course, you're the only one who can make that decision. But if you're not fully committed to the lifestyle, I'd strongly suggest you seek civilian employment.
  12. 0
    Please, please, please, focus on your grades! I did ROTC last semester in nursing school, and I can tell you right now that I could not have continued in the ROTC program with nursing, because ROTC is a full time job in itself. I turned in all of my equipment today. Scholarships are extremely hard to come by, and if you are someone like me you need to be keeping up with PT everyday and in nursing school I just had no time at all to workout all the time as well as study and go to clinicals. My boyfriend and friends are in ROTC and it is easy for them since they have easier and less time consuming majors. My GPA took a hit because of ROTC. You can try it, but once you contract you cannot go back and have to keep up your GPA at at least a 3.0 for a decent scholarship. LTC will help you if you go, and I was set to attend this summer but I realized I could not keep up. The one other girl in nursing and ROTC has to repeat a semester and they made her pay in full for the semester because she was on contract and you cannot extend it! That's 20,000$ out of pocket! I came in as late as you did, with 2.5 years left. Please save yourself the trouble and direct commission when the Army needs nurses again, because right now everyone is being pushed reserve and that's not where I wanted to be, I am not sure about you. Not trying to discourage ya, but it is very, very tough to be a nursing student in ROTC especially with the learning curve and military lifestyle you will have to adjust to from missing those first years. If you have any other questions feel free to message me about my situation and what it was like, I could go on for pages haha


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