Nursing in Afghanistan, Iraq etc - page 3

by deannicholas 61,279 Views | 42 Comments

A P.A. friend of mine was talking to a nurse that he works with at the E.D. that said he took a 9 month nursing contract in Afghanistan that paid 180k tax free. Anyone know where these jobs can be found online? Is this working... Read More


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    Up until recently the Canadian Military was running the role 3 hospital in Kandahar Afghanistan. We worked alongside American, Dutch, Australian and other nation's forces.
    The Canadians also sent civilian critical care nurses and various surgeons to supplement the staff there.
  2. 1
    Quote from AirforceRN
    Up until recently the Canadian Military was running the role 3 hospital in Kandahar Afghanistan. We worked alongside American, Dutch, Australian and other nation's forces.
    The Canadians also sent civilian critical care nurses and various surgeons to supplement the staff there.

    Cdns. are still there. Check out 1 Field Ambulance's record.

    This thread was started by a "dreamer" who wanted to make big money "over there". We all know that the government will not directly hire a civilian to do a job that a member can. Hence my tongue in cheek reference to Blackwater, they supplied at one point paramedics for their own guys.

    The surgeons that have gone from my hospital didn't make a mint BUT they gained valuable trauma experience.

    The medics in 1FA did a fantastic job and some have retired and are working in Edmonton area hospitals with very valuable skills.

    Get rich? Hell, everybody has either invested or spent their deployment pay now and are getting ready to go again.
    Faeriewand likes this.
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    Quote from Fiona59
    Cdns. are still there. Check out 1 Field Ambulance's record.
    Oh I'm well aware :-) We are no longer running the show however, we have recently passed the reins to the American team and are now supplementing their staff. Its kind of odd though...they are planning on having more boots on the ground in Afghanistan by 2010 then we have in our entire military. They don't "need" our medical help but its always nice to work together.
    Faeriewand likes this.
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    Indeed. It sounds like the original poster was lied to/ duped with exaggerations by a friend of a friend or friend's friend, possibly with a little wishful thinking involved in the process. So far, we have only 1-2 firsthand posters who have been feet dry in country and say that these jobs are a myth, further clarifying some little-known inconvenient truths about the matter that sound genuine to the trained ear. And if it did happen early on in either Iraq or Afgh, it most likely isn't happening now. Especially not after the post-Blackwatergate political sandstorm.

    Yes, the military does contract with civilian staffing companies to provide RNs at Naval Hospitals etc. inside the United States. The gap is open because the Navy Hospitals run short-staffed after deploying their military members overseas. These temp/staffing companies are NOT set up like Blackwater. Yes, civilian companies have hired some ex-Navy SEAL Paramedics etc (with 15-20 years of intense uber-paramedic experience) who had become LVNs or RNs or even PAs. Imagine the temp agency that supplies office workers sending people to war zones- they simply aren't set up for that. However I don't see why you couldn't get to a base in Rota, Spain, Bahrain, or even Kuwait (outside of active war zones) as a civilian, and it's certainly worth looking into if you want a taste of adventure and a look at military nursing.That is, if it's possible.

    Civilian contractor companies like Blackwater basically generally hire operators and paramedics (they are more interested in Paramedic quals/experience than in RN which is just an expanded prehospital role to them). They hire by word-of-mouth/reputation for the most part. All were male. I have never heard of a female getting hired into any of the downrange positions. The rationale there was that they only hire primarily ex-SEALs or other men with military experience served under SOCOMM (special operations command, which manages the SEAL Teams & Navy SWCC, Army Special Forces & 75th Rangers, Marine Special Operations (MARSOC) & MEU-SOC/Recon, Air Force Pararescue/Combat Control Teams & maybe SOAR, etc.), units which simply do not have women in them. All of these guys recieve at least roughly EMT-B level training at a minimum. For example, SEALs & SWCCs all know trauma stuff, IV therapy, some meds, 02 etc. Their medics are all EMT-P qualified and go to some hardcore schools unlike anything civilian EMT-Ps go through, learning trauma, field surgery, etc. on a TCCC model in addition to the civilian basics on the BTLS/ATLS models. So Blackwater hires special operators, some of whom happen to have the history of paramedic specialization under their belt. They also hire guys who had other specialities like Sniper, Radio, Intelligence, VIP protection, etc. Medical is just one co-equal role among these, a secondary job on top of being a fighter.

    Back to the actual military: If you weren't in one of these SOCOMM units and especially if you never served in the military at all, the idea of working for these guys in a combat/security/close support role (prehospital/emergency) seems to me and many others an exercise in fantasy.

    Those in the military who sacrifice so much and make such huge commitments to that career might get perturbed when people fantasize about strolling onto the base in for 9 months and do their job at 3-4x their pay. They make these sacrifices in exchange for the rewards of military career which includes- leadership opportunities unlike in civilian nursing, training unlike in civilian nursing, teamwork unlike you'll see on most civilian floors, world travel, adventure, etc. Does a civilian know not only what to do in case of a go fire, but how to go ahead and put out that fire? And do they know how to "return enemy fire" if absolutely necessary? To send messages by radio? If you did get hired into their world, you'd most likely get treated like a leper.
    Last edit by mmm333 on Dec 15, '09
    Jarnaes and Joe33 like this.
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    Just sticking my nose in here - there was a posting on a Canadian job board for civilian nurses to go to Afganistan on short rotating deployments (8-10weeks) I believe this is for Canadian nurses only though - and the job entails working in the clinics looking after the civilians working over there? I applied for the position - mind you they did require trauma certifications so I will see if they call me to discuss the opportunity
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    Interesting. More power to you if you can find short tours like that and gain the experience. I hope you let us know what you hear.
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    Well, since the original thread Iraq has stabilized a great deal and presence has expanded to other countries in the area. It wouldn't surprise me if opportunities in Iraq became more and more available. It would be neat to hear about anybody's experiences.

    Experienced nurses or NPs should also look into the U.S. State Department, (and maybe U.S. Agency for International Development & U.S. Commerce Department)- they definitely hire medical staff for embassy/compound clinics... another option that could land you in the sandbox.
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    Well ERtraumanurse, did you get in the sandbox? Just wondering
  9. 0
    Quote from AirforceRN
    I would suggest going to your local recruiting office. If they don't know the answers they will at least be able to point you in the right direction
    You must be in the Canadian Air Force right?
  10. 0
    Quote from mmm333
    Indeed. It sounds like the original poster was lied to/ duped with exaggerations by a friend of a friend or friend's friend, possibly with a little wishful thinking involved in the process. So far, we have only 1-2 firsthand posters who have been feet dry in country and say that these jobs are a myth, further clarifying some little-known inconvenient truths about the matter that sound genuine to the trained ear. And if it did happen early on in either Iraq or Afgh, it most likely isn't happening now. Especially not after the post-Blackwatergate political sandstorm.

    Yes, the military does contract with civilian staffing companies to provide RNs at Naval Hospitals etc. inside the United States. The gap is open because the Navy Hospitals run short-staffed after deploying their military members overseas. These temp/staffing companies are NOT set up like Blackwater. Yes, civilian companies have hired some ex-Navy SEAL Paramedics etc (with 15-20 years of intense uber-paramedic experience) who had become LVNs or RNs or even PAs. Imagine the temp agency that supplies office workers sending people to war zones- they simply aren't set up for that. However I don't see why you couldn't get to a base in Rota, Spain, Bahrain, or even Kuwait (outside of active war zones) as a civilian, and it's certainly worth looking into if you want a taste of adventure and a look at military nursing.That is, if it's possible.

    Civilian contractor companies like Blackwater basically generally hire operators and paramedics (they are more interested in Paramedic quals/experience than in RN which is just an expanded prehospital role to them). They hire by word-of-mouth/reputation for the most part. All were male. I have never heard of a female getting hired into any of the downrange positions. The rationale there was that they only hire primarily ex-SEALs or other men with military experience served under SOCOMM (special operations command, which manages the SEAL Teams & Navy SWCC, Army Special Forces & 75th Rangers, Marine Special Operations (MARSOC) & MEU-SOC/Recon, Air Force Pararescue/Combat Control Teams & maybe SOAR, etc.), units which simply do not have women in them. All of these guys recieve at least roughly EMT-B level training at a minimum. For example, SEALs & SWCCs all know trauma stuff, IV therapy, some meds, 02 etc. Their medics are all EMT-P qualified and go to some hardcore schools unlike anything civilian EMT-Ps go through, learning trauma, field surgery, etc. on a TCCC model in addition to the civilian basics on the BTLS/ATLS models. So Blackwater hires special operators, some of whom happen to have the history of paramedic specialization under their belt. They also hire guys who had other specialities like Sniper, Radio, Intelligence, VIP protection, etc. Medical is just one co-equal role among these, a secondary job on top of being a fighter.

    Back to the actual military: If you weren't in one of these SOCOMM units and especially if you never served in the military at all, the idea of working for these guys in a combat/security/close support role (prehospital/emergency) seems to me and many others an exercise in fantasy.

    Those in the military who sacrifice so much and make such huge commitments to that career might get perturbed when people fantasize about strolling onto the base in for 9 months and do their job at 3-4x their pay. They make these sacrifices in exchange for the rewards of military career which includes- leadership opportunities unlike in civilian nursing, training unlike in civilian nursing, teamwork unlike you'll see on most civilian floors, world travel, adventure, etc. Does a civilian know not only what to do in case of a go fire, but how to go ahead and put out that fire? And do they know how to "return enemy fire" if absolutely necessary? To send messages by radio? If you did get hired into their world, you'd most likely get treated like a leper.

    I don't know too much about how military contracting and civilian contracting works overseas yet because I just got in to the USAF Nurse Corps but I would imagine these "contract" jobs would have to be a GS job....and RNs would have to go through the DOD to go to active war zones. So far, I have only seen and heard of active duty military and reserves going to the war zones. But again, this is just a novice nurse's opinion who is just getting started with the US military process.


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