sign now in Air Force as BSN or wait until DNP

  1. I was hoping some of you might have suggestions. I am an RN with 10 years of experience in med-surg, cardiac, and mental health combined. I am considering the possibility of joining the Air Force, which has been a life dream of mine. However, the decision I am struggling with is when to join.

    I am graduating with my BSN this May, so I know I could apply to go in then as an officer. On the other hand, I have already applied for admission to the DNP program for this August. I am not sure whether it would be worth it to wait and go in with the higher degree for higher rank, or better to go in now and attend school under the educational program. If anyone has any insight into these options, I would really appreciate your help.

    Also, I should add that I am 40, so I know there is an extended paperwork process.

    Thank you.
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    About nursedarleen

    Joined: Mar '11; Posts: 3; Likes: 1


  3. by   Travelcrazy
    I leave Tuesday for COT and this whole process has taken me 19 months. I would go ahead with your program. You'll get a lot of it done before you would ever even leave!
  4. by   nursedarleen
    Thank you, Travelcrazy, for your insight. That is what I was wondering. From what I have been told, there is the possibility of them paying for my schooling for the next 3 years, and then I have to serve, year-for-year, according to their website. It would be great if I could get the next three years of college paid for since they will only do forgiveness on around $40,000 or so.

    I hope things go really well for you. If you have a chance while you are at COT, keep me posted on how things go. I have 8 more years to work though the process, so I am pretty sure I want to go if they will let me in.
    Last edit by nursedarleen on Mar 7, '11 : Reason: wording
  5. by   just_cause
    I would look at your DNP specialty is and if there is a direct translation for it in the AF. Rank is not automatically based on your degree - it is ultimately decided by the board and they take it into account along w/ experience, their need, etc.
    I commissioned w/ someone who had a PHD I had a BS, both commissioned as 2LTs...... (granted all individual scenarios will be different, that is just an example). I would also look at time involved. I'm betting that rank could be obtained faster by joining 3 years earlier rather then doing DNP.. as education time is generally accounted at a 1/2 ratio or similar.. that is assuming they would take it into account. If you are looking at retiring from military then that is 3 years less you would be in service and could start receiving benefits, also a factor. I would look at the DNP if I were set and planning on doing a AF specialty that required a masters + level specialty then I would look to see if experience is required based on the current competitiveness of admissions... please note admission requirements on website are not in alignment with requirements of those being accepted - there is a surplus of applicants, lower attrition rate of those departing the nursing corps of the military.
    You sound like a good applicant with prior experience - they also have some specialties where u can apply with a letter of admission and you commission and go to school... and serve at graduation... especially if you want to be a psych np~
    Best of luck,
  6. by   lifeafter40
    Does anyone know if DNP qualifies for the HPSP program? That would be ideal... you could get commissioned at graduation from BSN program and continue school on the Air Force's tab.
  7. by   mswingle
    Good question!!! I have a BSN and I start Acute Care DNP in Fall. I'm curious about joining the USAF now vs waiting until I graduate in 2 yrs. Not sure if I should join the reserves now or attempt to enlist as an officer.
  8. by   T-Dasha
    Yes the DNP does qualify for the HPSP. The AF started offering DNP scholarships a little over a year ago. So nursedarleen I would suggest applying for the HPSP.