Nursing in Afghanistan, Iraq etc - page 3

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... Read More

  1. by   mmm333
    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.
  2. by   Faeriewand
    Well ERtraumanurse, did you get in the sandbox? Just wondering
  3. by   maverickemt
    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?
  4. by   maverickemt
    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.
  5. by   AirforceRN
    Quote from maverickemt
    You must be in the Canadian Air Force right?
    Yes, what gave it away?
  6. by   qtnursestudent
    Okay. To clarify the tax free part of this:

    You must be out of country (the US) for at least 330 days out of ANY 365 day period. So, you go over in the middle of the year, and stay gone for any 330 days during the next 365 day period, you do not pay taxes on approximately the first $80,000 (that amount changes every year) and then will pay full taxes on the rest. I know this to be the truth because for the last 3 years, this is how I've filed taxes for my husband. There are very clear forms to fill out that help with these matters when it comes to taxes. Go over in June, then in April file for an extention on your taxes (because you will not have reached the required 330 days yet) and then once you're officially out of country for those 330 days, file your taxes without paying for the first $80,000. Notice, "out of country" is the phrase I keep using. What that means is that you can work 9 months and then stop drawing income but as long as you do not return to the US for 330 days out of that 365 day period, then you do not owe taxes on the first $80,000. My husband didn't finish his last contract but didn't want to pay taxes on all that money since he was only short by 2 weeks, so we met in Europe and took a two week vacation and still didn't have to pay taxes on that money 'cause he was out of country for 330 days out of the 365 day period. That also means that for those other 35 days out of the 365 day period, you can come home to the US. This I know to be true too because he would come home for R&Rs during the year and we've never had to pay taxes on the first $80,000.

    Now, before you ask, my husband is not a nurse and did not have a nursing job with his company. The nursing jobs were few and far between and at that time his company only had 3 nurses on staff. The job is not easy and you will be without family and friends for 330 days at least. I do not have any information for the nursing job in Iraq or Afghanistan so please do not ask. I was just trying to clear up some misinformation about the tax free situation. Again, I know what I'm talking about in this matter.
  7. by   qtnursestudent
    And, yes the pay can be that much. The first company that my husband worked for paid the three nurses on their staff approximately $200,000. Now, those three nurses were for his company's clinics and did not treat any military personnel. Remember, you are tax exempt on only the first $80,000 (approximately. it changes every year) and are required to pay full taxes at the rate set for the $200,000 on the remaining income. You still pay medicare on all of it.

    The new company that my husband is with pay a lot better. I mean almost twice as much. They do not advertise their nursing jobs though. I figure they probably have all the nurses they need since they are a government contractor and only need medical staff for their employees. I do not know of any contractors that exclusively hire nurses to work with the military personnel.

    So, yes, you can make $200,000 a year. No, you do not have to pay taxes on the first $80,000 if you are out of country for any 330 days during a 365 day period. But, nursing jobs with these companies are few and far between.

    And, again, I know what I'm talking about. I was asked by my husband's first company to apply for one of their nurse jobs but at the time I hadn't yet graduated with my BSN and was not a nurse but merely a nursing student. They said to apply once I graduated but all their nursing jobs were filled by then. I missed out on a great opportunity but I was secretly glad it worked out that way because I wasn't sure if I wanted the job. It's very dangerous and I just don't find it appealing like my husband does.
  8. by   qtnursestudent
    And, my husband in not military or ex-military. Has never been in the military and never had any desire to be in the military ... until he got to Iraq and started working in the middle of the marines. That's when he realized he had missed his calling and should have been a marine from day one. He is now working with army SOCOM with a different government contractor in Afghanistan.

    It is true and it is available out there but to get your foot in the door is a long, hard process and once you're in, hold on to it for as long as you can 'cause it could all end tomorrow.

    My husband has many, many friendships gained with the military personnel that he works right along side. He is treated really good by the soldiers and has gained their respect. Believe it or not, most of the military people don't give a flying leap about how much money the contractors make. Most of them over there in Iraq and Afghanistan were there to do their job (a job that they love and believe in) and didn't care about money. They were true Americans and are to be held with the utmost of respect.
  9. by   Fiona59
    Wow, you're military is very different from ours.

    My husband is on his latest tour. They loathe civilian contractors and despise the fact that they are there for the money, while the Forces are there for "Queen and Country" and only earn their hard earned danger incentives.
  10. by   qtnursestudent
    I guess my husband works with a different breed of military. I don't know but they all treat him really really good.

    And "you're military" is not correct. Like I've already said my husband is not military and neither am I.
  11. by   Fiona59
    Quote from qtnursestudent
    I guess my husband works with a different breed of military. I don't know but they all treat him really really good.

    And "you're military" is not correct. Like I've already said my husband is not military and neither am I.
    Sorry use of you're instead of YOUR.

    But remember the US gave the world Blackwater and Halliburton.

    Most of the coalition forces don't have a lot of time for any contractors. I have friends in the Cdn., UK, Australian military and hang with a few Marine wives. So I guess your husband is in a really unique spot.
  12. by   qtnursestudent
    All I wanted to convey was the issue about paying taxes or not paying taxes.

    I'm sorry if some of the other countries do not like their contractors. My husband is working down in the trenches with Americans and Italians and he's loving it. I think most of his good experiences have to do with the type of man my husband is. I do hope that it has something to do with the type of people he's around also. Again, he has had absolutely NO problems out of anyone he's come in contact with. I know there are plenty of people that understand the importance of the government contractors and appreciate what they are doing. Luckily (and by the grace of God) he has had wonderful experiences and has had no problems. They love him and admire him as if one of their own.

    I pray that everyone can be as accepted and appreciated as he has been. Again, all I can give is my knowledge on the US tax situation as I know it and I can pass on what my husband's wonderful experiences have been as a government contractor.

    (And, when I first read the statement "you're military" I just wanted to clarify that we are NOT military. After rereading it, I see it was just incorrect grammar. Sorry.)
  13. by   aflack41
    Hello, I was curious as to the name of the contractor your husband worked for. Would they hire an LPN and how much experience do you need? I know someone who said the nurses make about 180,000 out there and 97,000 is tax free. He has been there under a different position and he said he thinks the people out there were paramedics, not nurses, there were some nurses, and he said they would get paid higher of course, what do you think?