I am in the process of putting in my packet for the Army (Reserve) and it should be complete by May when I graduate with my BSN (I currently have an ADN with 2-years ER experience). I am wondering who else out there is planning on putting in a packet soon for Direct Commision. Also, any info or advice from people who have done this in the past would be greatly appreciated. I have already done my physical and now just need to finish up the paperwork part of the process. Thanks, Nick.
Jan 31, '12
I actually just commissioned 2 weeks ago.. submitted my packet in november. I have my BSN and at the time i had 7 months experience. Because i didn't have much experience, and no additional certs or anything.. i think the biggest thing that helped me out was have some really strong evaluations and LORs. and i made sure to get an LOR from an army nurse just to look good lol.
If you have any questions about the process, let me know! Ive done it twice now :]
Feb 1, '12
Since you are a ER nurse have you looked into the M5 SOI (ER Nurse)? Not sure how it has changed since the ICU & ER SOI's are being combined into the 66T (trauma nurse) for new accessions.
Feb 1, '12
What would I need to pick up the identifier? I already have the alphabet soup of BLS, ACLS, TNCC, PALS, CEN. My only hangup would be the ICU part, I have no experience in an ICU (my hospital has 6 ICU's) but do work in Level 1 Trauma. Not trying to downplay what ICU people do, but I have no interest in sitting and staring at vented patients all day. Furthermore, we attempted to float ICU nurses to the ER and they couldn't hang, it's a totally different beast. I don't see how ER/ICU would ever be interchangeable.
Feb 1, '12
There is a checklist of skills which need to be signed off & you can get this from your recruiter. In the future if you want to be a ED nurse in the Army you are going to have to become a 66T. From what was explained to me by the higher ups at AMEDD Center & School nurses would still be working in the area of their choice in the states but would have the skills to work in either area if deployed.
If you are a straight 66H you could end up being mobilized and placed in a med-surg position even with your qualifications. Remember it is the needs of the Army that come 1st and if they are using you to back fill at a hospital there is a good chance that is where you will work. With that being said if you are a 66T you could also be placed in a ICU for a year.
I agree with you about it being a different beast between the ED & ICU and just as it is hard for a ICU nurse to work in the ED and ED nurse can have the same issues in the ICU. I have worked both and understand the issues.
Feb 1, '12
jeckrn is correct, the Army's thinking is that a 66T (trauma nurse) can work in the higher acuity areas but also flex to lower acuity as needed, being more versatile to meet the changing needs of the Army. Definitely look into specialization -- this is the trend in the Army. From what I've heard, they're leaning toward retaining specialty RNs (those with identifiers) but trimming the 66H population. For Active Duty, because I had my CEN and CPEN and had more than 1500 hours of ER time in the two preceding years, I was granted the special identifier (66HM5, ER nurse). It is worth pursuing! For Active Duty people, there are bonuses for specialization (Incentive Specialty Pay, or ISP). Not sure if specialty nursing is incentivized for the Reserves, but it's worth looking into. Rumor has it that getting my CCRN cert will allow me an easy transition to 66T, but that is just rumor right now.
Feb 2, '12
Two years ago there was no incentive to be a M5 other then having the identifer but it never hurts to have one.
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