Quote from LN75
How long is NTP? The packet my reciter gave me says 10 weeks, but I've seen postings on here of folks who were in it for 9 weeks or 11 weeks. Does the length of NTP vary depending on the base/hospital you're assigned to? Is it possible that I could be assigned to go through NTP in a civilian hospital? During NTP, are you sort of "attached-at-the-hip" to a mentor, like precepting or orienting to a new unit in a civilian hospital?
How long is COT? The packet my recruiter gave me says 4 weeks, but I've read a few posts saying that it was longer or shorter too...
Can you give me a ball-park time frame for how long it could take between submitting my application for NTP, getting notified of the results, and beginning a COT class if selected?
What are your thoughts on which track I should apply for? Honestly, i'm not really interested in med-surg or OB nursing…i really want to be in critical care, emergency, and eventually flight nursing. I've heard that there are more slots available for the med-surg track, but generally fewer applicants for the OB track.
How about scrubs or uniforms? It looks like some of the bases (like Keesler) have their nurses come in in ABUs then change to scrubs…do you know about any other bases? In all the years I was active duty (1997-2008), I only ever saw nurses in BDUs, but that was at Aviano, Holloman, Luke and Sheppard and only in clinics…I never set foot in an AF hospital.
Lastly, my recruiter tells me that if accepted i'll most likely be stationed at one of the bigger hospitals in the CONUS for my first assignment. Have you ever heard of any newly commissioned nurses being stationed overseas for their first assignment? Either in one of the hospitals like Germany or Alaksa, or at a base with a smaller clinic?
I know this is a ton of questions, and even if you dont know the answers, i appreciate whatever info you can share!
I didn't go through NTP because I already had several years of nursing experience - I think anyone who has less than one year of RN practice goes through NTP. There are only a few locations to do NTP, Scottsdale, AZ, Wright-Patt, OH, and I think in Florida. We used to do it at Travis, but I think they're stopping it after our current class. I think that they sometimes use civilian hospitals, but you'll be with a cohort of military nurses, with an instructor guiding you through everything. It's very much like a preceptorship, from what I understand. I think it's 10 weeks...
My COT class was 5 weeks (about 33 total days, I think). They're talking about making it longer to match the BOT class (which is 10 weeks, I think), but I don't know what the time table is for that to go into effect.
You don't actually apply for NTP, you're applying for a commission. Time from application to notice of acceptance is pretty standard - about a month after the board date, give or take a few weeks. Time from acceptance (you can commission any time after that) to COT depends on what slots are available. I had four weeks between getting my acceptance and leaving for COT. Some people have 8 months, just depends.
As for specialties, as a new nurse you don't really have options - L&D or med-surg. If you have more than a year ICU experience, you may be able to work ICU. Most ICU and ED nurses are 1LTs or Captains, and lots of Majors. I think they even want clinic nurses to have experience, since they do telephone triage. Coming through NTP, you'll all be the same AFSC - 46N1 - general nurse. Some specialties will change that AFSC (I'm a 46P3, psych nurse), some just add an identifier (ICU nurses get an E Enabler identifier, I think). You'll usually get the opportunity to specialize after a few years. Flight nursing is very competitive (almost everyone coming in wants to be a flight nurse).
There's a big push for all inpatient nurses and staff to wear scrubs. At DGMC, we wear the UOD in to the hospital and change into blue scrubs. We have to change every time we step outside the hospital. Most clinic staff don't change.
As for bases, I know a few new nurses that got to go to Alaska, and one that went to England for their first duty station. It doesn't hurt to request it. Lots of nurses go to Travis, Lackland, and Florida, though they can go almost everywhere. Travis is a great base, and we have the biggest AF hospital (which isn't huge).