Hello! I am a new graduate with an ADN considering joining the service. First, I am an adrenaline JUNKIE! So I like my job to be fast-paced. I had a brief online conversation with an Air Force recruiter and was told to finish my BSN first. I am considering Flight Nursing with the Air Force, but still in information-gathering mode. Also considering whether to join Reserves or Active Duty.
(1) Which branch of service offers the best opportunities for nurses?
(2) How does a nursing career with the military compare with a civilian nursing career?
(3) What opportunities will I have in the military that I cannot have as a civilian nurse?
I am hoping I could possibly do a ride-along at an AFB to see if military nursing is for me. Not sure if that is an option, but I am going to ask!
Apr 18, '12
Quote from Merlyn
I was in the Air force, but not for nursing. I can tell you that there are pros and cons with the service. The big advantage is that you will be on the cutting edge of medicine. You will work with the latest equipment. Stuff that the hospitals will not have for the next five years. If you get your BSN you will become an officer. You will have the best in food, I never have eaten as well as I did in the service. Educational benefits. The best of healthcare, 30 days off a year. Veteran status when you get out. BUT, while you are in, the service owns you body and soul. They tell you when to get up, when to sleep, when to eat. Even your time is not your own. You will be taught to obey orders with out question. They can and will work you into the ground if they have to. I don't know about now but when I was in, officers could be called back into the service anytime after you leave. The way the service is run will seem illogical to you. As all old military people say There is a right way, a wrong way and the Air Force way. In this time of war, you may have to leave for parts unknown. It could be deadly. If you can take this kind of life, go for it. Just remember one thing, the recruiter is not your friend. They have a quota. They will promise you anything just to get you in. If it's not on paper they never promise it to you. But first, get your BSN.
I too was in the Air Force. Your description makes it sound like it's boot camp 24-7, it isn't. You'd be surprised how oddly human military people can be, despite the image portrayed typically. I wasn't sitting in an office either mind you, I was lugging around 70+ pounds of weapons and ammo as a security forces member. It is like any other job day to day, just with a few particularities attributed to the military lifestyle. I wasn't told when to eat or sleep either mind you...except for boot camp, which is all of 6 weeks. I imagine what you meant is they control your time, and on occasion, you may be tasked with something and have to work late or take a later lunch.
As far as the recruiter being an enemy, that mentality will hinder your ability to enter. Entering ANY branch of service right now as a nurse is very difficult and competitive. Simply read any of the other posts here to see that. I would advise you to befriend your recruiter, as the healthcare recruiter who would take you in is not desperate to fill a dwindling number of slots for a downsizing force.
The point on educaiton is spot on however. Nobody takes care of you like Ol' Uncle Sam does - especially if you come from a background of destitution. He'll just expect some of your time for it.
The military may be the military, but it is comprised of other human beings with the same needs and desires as you, so I caution you to remain optimistic.
Last edit by deftonez188 on Apr 18, '12