Thinking of joining the Air Force - page 2

Hello everyone, this is my first post but I have been a member of the forums for a few months, just mostly lurking. I an currently an RN, 24yrs old, and will be finishing up by BSN in may and have... Read More

  1. by   PRicanRN
    you still can at 33, but Im not too sure of the exact age cutoff.
  2. by   penasco man
    For entry into the United States Air Force Nurse Corp you have to be 48 years old or younger. U.S. Air Force
  3. by   Gennaver
    Quote from #1Gemini
    Do you know if there is an age limit the Air Force requires in order to begin a career with them. I will probably be 29 when I graduate, add a couple of years for experience and I'm looking at 32-33 y/o.... Is that too old to join?? Sounds like a fun adventure
    Hello Gemini,
    (I may be double posting here!)

    When I spoke with an Air Force recruiter about going Active Duty as a Nurse he told me that I still could at age 41!! Go for it!
    Gen
  4. by   #1Gemini
    Thanks for the info! It's still a few years away, but Air Force will definately be on the top of my list.
  5. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from PRicanRN
    Hello everyone, this is my first post but I have been a member of the forums for a few months, just mostly lurking. I an currently an RN, 24yrs old, and will be finishing up by BSN in may and have been contemplating going into the military, mainly the air force. I have 1 yr telemetry experience and 2yrs of ER experience at a lv2 center. I would like at some point to try and get into either crna school or NP school; not too sure yet. Im a military brat and have always wanted to serve my country in some form or fashion since I was a little kid. I talked to an officer recruiter today and Im pretty psyched about it. I would appreciate any kind of advice, tips or just plain info you more experienced military nurses can offer.

    My advice is to get a job in ICU before going into the Air Force. The Air Force now requires that all canidates have ICU experience to apply to CRNA school. In general to get the Air Force to send you to school full time thru the Air Force Institute of Technology Program/AFIT, you need to have a competive GPA 3.0+, GRE 1000+/3.5+ on the writing section etc. I was accepted by the AFIT program for the CRNA program for the next school year. There are a lot of hoops to jump thru to get picked up for an AFIT program, but it is attainable.
    The majority of canidates that get selected for CRNA school also are at Wilford hall Medical Center/Lackland AFB. Getting your first assignment there gives you the best chance to get the necessary experience needed plus it is the Air Force's largest hospital.

    Here are the mininimum requirements for last year's selection board for CRNA school (some parts change yearly):

    GPA 3.0 out of 4.0 (a waiver for GPA or GRE score will be considered but not for both)
    GRE 1000 with a writing score of 3.5
    One Year of Adult ICU experience (ER, PACU, and OR experience will no longer be accepted as a substitute)
    2 years time on station when you apply (12 month waivers available)
    CCRN encouraged/not required
    Professional Military Education commensurate with rank (only an issue for Captains and Majors)
    The board considers many different factors.

    Here is what my stats were:
    Undergraduate GPA 3.34 overall, science 3.4; Graduate GPA 3.85
    GRE 1170/writing 3.0 (wavired)
    4+ years of Adult ICU experience, 1+ years of ER experience & PACU experience
    Time on station wavired by 12 months
    CCRN, ACLS/PALS/BLS Instructor, TNCC, Various awards etc.

    NP is usually a little easier to get picked up for but you need atleast one year as a clinic nurse to eligible for AFIT slot for NP.

    Hope this helps!
  6. by   PRicanRN
    thanks for all that info, thats very helpful. Well that sucks that they wont take ER experience anymore but I understand. I will probaby have an ICU slot though with my current experience, at least the recruiter stated so, I want to make sure its in writing though. How is NP school? Is it used alot in the military?
  7. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from PRicanRN
    thanks for all that info, thats very helpful. Well that sucks that they wont take ER experience anymore but I understand. I will probaby have an ICU slot though with my current experience, at least the recruiter stated so, I want to make sure its in writing though. How is NP school? Is it used alot in the military?
    FYI: Your recruiter can not guarantee you any job duties.....ICU, ER etc. Your chief nurse at the base your assigned(Air Force equilavent of a DON) makes the decision where all the nurses will work. Right now with your experience you would more than likely be placed in the ER. Also, I recommend not taking any identifiers (J for ER, E for ICU etc.). It only pigeon holes you to certain positions and is not needed to get a position in ER/ICU etc. You can always pick up your identifiers later(I did). Be careful with what the recruiter tells you. Find out what the recruiter's background was before becoming a recruiter. Mine was an aircraft mechanic. I thought my recruiter was awesome, but he was upfront that he really did not know that much about the medical side of the Air Force. There are big differences between the Wing side of the Air Force and the Medical side of the Air Force, and their is still huge differences between officer and enlisted careers/duties. More than likely you are talking with an enlisted person from the wing side that is healthcare recruiter with only second hand knowledge of how active duty nursing works.

    NP for the Air Force is kinda of an iffy thing. Traditionally it was hard to get promoted past Major as a working NP, and depending on where you are at, it can sometimes be hard to get a working position as an NP. Things are changing, but not very fast.

    Good Luck!
  8. by   Gennaver
    Quote from wtbcrna
    FYI: Also, I recommend not taking any identifiers (J for ER, E for ICU etc.). It only pigeon holes you to certain positions and is not needed to get a position in ER/ICU etc. You can always pick up your identifiers later(I did). ...Good Luck!
    Hello there,
    My recruiter also was not to medical and I thought he was very hardworking and as if he was "on my side" trying to help me, not just seeing me as a "number" too.

    I wonder about takign identifiers though, as a soon to be new nurse, (would this advice be different for someone like me?) I haven't signed yet but it will be as a 66H, (medical surgical).

    Won't it just change later, when I have more training and specific training?
    Thanks,
    Gen
  9. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from Gennaver
    Hello there,
    My recruiter also was not to medical and I thought he was very hardworking and as if he was "on my side" trying to help me, not just seeing me as a "number" too.

    I wonder about takign identifiers though, as a soon to be new nurse, (would this advice be different for someone like me?) I haven't signed yet but it will be as a 66H, (medical surgical).

    Won't it just change later, when I have more training and specific training?
    Thanks,
    Gen
    Army is different than the Air Force. In the Air Force we are not required to take on additional identifiers even if we are eligible for them. I took on the ICU and the ER identifiers (in addition to the normal 46N which most nurses have in the Air Force) in order to make my package for anesthesia school look better. I had been working in ICU/ER in the Air Force w/o the identifiers.
    My understanding is that the Army will send you to one of the training programs for additional specialization.
    The Army has some awesome training programs for nurses, including the 2 traning program for nurse anesthetists in the US.
  10. by   PRicanRN
    WTBCRNA, my recruiter been pretty straightforward with me that he is not too familiar with the medical side, he is a wingside recruiting for the health professions. I probably should phrase myself better, he never really said he would get me in an ICU, he just said that it could be a pretty good possibility that I could get into the ICU with my experience. He seems like he is a pretty good guy, at least I hope he is. So... am I SOL now on getting an ICU position? I hope I dont get stuck on a med surg floor Ive done the floor already and I dont really want to do it again. I can get an ICU position right now if I wanted to, but I really am looking forward to being in the armed forces and don't want to join and end up on the floor. What are my options? Im kind of clueless when you are talking about the identifiers and how they pigeonhole you. What is an identifier and should I make sure I dont get that?
  11. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from PRicanRN
    WTBCRNA, my recruiter been pretty straightforward with me that he is not too familiar with the medical side, he is a wingside recruiting for the health professions. I probably should phrase myself better, he never really said he would get me in an ICU, he just said that it could be a pretty good possibility that I could get into the ICU with my experience. He seems like he is a pretty good guy, at least I hope he is. So... am I SOL now on getting an ICU position? I hope I dont get stuck on a med surg floor Ive done the floor already and I dont really want to do it again. I can get an ICU position right now if I wanted to, but I really am looking forward to being in the armed forces and don't want to join and end up on the floor. What are my options? Im kind of clueless when you are talking about the identifiers and how they pigeonhole you. What is an identifier and should I make sure I dont get that?
    An identifier is the AirForce equilavent of a certification. It indicates that you have atleast one year experience in that area. The biggest shortage areas for AirForce nurses are ICU and ER. I would be willing to bet that you would be assigned to ER. ER is always in need of experienced nurses. I don't think you would be assigned to the floor d/t your ER experience. As I said before it is totally up to the chief nurse at each base where you will be assigned. The chief nurse will usually dictate where you will be assigned based on the current nursing openings and your background in nursing.
    The way identifiers pigeonhole you is by limiting the bases that are available to you and alternate nursing assignments (many of my ICU nursing friends have been laughed at when they asked about doing a Flight nursing assignment). For example as an ICU nurse I only have about 6 bases that I can go to in the AirForce (ER a few more, but not many).
    It is all kinda of complicated and most of it you won't really understand until you are in the AirForce.

    The best way to get into an AirForce ICU is to come in with experience in ICU.

    My advice is just friendly advice that I wish someone would have told me before I came in.

    I hope this helps.
  12. by   cmv35167
    I'm currently an AF nurse w/2yrs active duty time. I'd be happy to answer some of your questions if I can. Overall my experience has been positive albeit not what I expected. I think I expected a little bit more forward-thinking nurses and have learned that that's not always the case. I came from a great nursing education/community and was shocked by the outdated paper charting, old equipment, etc. I have grown immensely from learning to make do and improvise and paper chart...hahaha...btw I despise paper charts...would love to have automation but we're nowhere near that goal at my facility. The clinics are automated and someday I believe our inpatient side will be as well.

    Anyway those are minimal issues. The working relationships have been great, the skill/knowledge base is younger than many civilian facilities as nurses are *currently* moved out of clinical areas as they make rank (although the goal is to maintain bedside experience as nurses progress in rank). If you have specific questions, send them my way or feel free to PM.

    *PS - take EVERYTHING your recruiter says w/a grain of salt...really liked my recruiter, felt okay going in....and found out much of what he told me was misleading....my husband has been in the AF for 14yrs and warned me that all recruiters are liars...hahaha...guess mine was too. Btw recruiters are simply that...people in place to RECRUIT/market the military so talk to some AF nurses if you can or even visit a hospital and follow a nurse.
    Last edit by cmv35167 on Dec 21, '06
  13. by   PRicanRN
    My recruiter said they could get me a sign on bonus and have my school loans paid up to a certain amount. Is that the truth?

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