NurseAnalyst 504 Views
Joined: Sep 28, '03;
Posts: 4 (0% Liked)
Hello again! Let's see...do you get your first choice upon graduation? I'll have to do more research on that, but for me it was give me your top three choices and we then have flexibility for assignments. The obvious reason for that is we only have X-number of Navy Nurses and they can't all be stationed at the same hospital! ha! We also have to be very careful not to give any one hospital too many new nurses. The impact can be tremendous, especially in some of our smaller naval facilities!
But let me check with some of the more recent NCC program grads and tell you what they said.
I was deployed in '94. I had been in the Navy for about three years at that time. But, deployment, especially in this high operational timeframe, can happen at any time. Talk about OJT! We have a young Periop Nurse who checked on board and in a month was shipped to Iraq in support of the medical mission over there. Our troops were deployed for about 4 months total and they have all subsequently returned.
So, as a parent (single or married), the military asks that you have a childcare plan updated and ready. Make no bones about it, military life is a 24/7 job. But don't let that discourage you as I know many very successful nurse corps officers (single and married) with children who have been deployed and moved about and continue to enjoy an excellent career. Military life does not suit everyone, however, and that is perfectly okay.
Spain was fabulous! I lived off base in a 4-bedroom house in Puerto de Santa Maria! And I was a single LT at the time! When you live overseas they compensate you for housing and cost of living allowances due to the currancy fluctuations. You get housing allowances where ever you live. That is part of the benefit. Mine pays for my mortgage, but the cost of utilities and all come out of my regular pay. You are only taxed on your base pay, which is another benefit. Furthermore, you have ability to shop on base for food/supplies and you do not have to pay tax. My medical care is free, and though we aren't a perfect system...it think we do a great job (especially given our HUGE population served and the finite resources that Congress appropriates to us to do this).
Back to Spain...with new nurses, we like to keep you in the US for your first tour. The overseas hospitals require more honed skills and independent thinking. We are our own PRN staff! On nights in Spain, I would be the only nurse for the Labor/Delivery, Newborn Nursery, and Post Partum wards. I'd usually have 1 or 2 hospital corpsmen working for me...these enlisted persons are trained at the level of an LPN and are your right and left arm!
I do carry a supplemental whole life insurance policy as part of my financial portfolio, however while active duty we have the option of a $250,000 life insurance benefit for like, $16/month. I carry the supplement, because after you retire, the benefit cost increases...with whole life, if you sign on at an early age...you get to lock in on a better price.
They have done better with retirement planning. If you stay for a full 20 years, you get a retirement package of 50% of your base pay (average of the last three years served). Always read your contract thoroughly, however, as this benefit can change. Those who leave prior to 20 years, have earned zero retirement. That is why in the past 2 years they've set up some 401/IRA type accounts. But an honorable discharge does still give you benefits no matter how many years you've served. My dad was an Army guy for 9 years (prior to marrying my mom.). So, he accesses the VA for his medical care. That is a huge savings for my parents, who are not rich by any means. I think it rather appropriate that he get something...he did serve in WW II and the Korean Conflict.
So yes, I believe that the financial benefits are awesome. Promotion opportunities have remained steady...100% from ENS to LT (unless you have competency or behavioral issues), then 70% to LCDR, 60% to CDR, and 50% to CAPT. From ENS to CAPT is about a 22-23 year career! We have 2 Admirals in the Nurse Corps.
Being a Navy Nurse is actually 2 jobs. You are an officer and you are a nurse. So, promotability is based on how well you succeed at both. We wear uniforms, unless you are in an area that allows scrubs (like the OR, PACU, ICU, ER, L&D). But even in scrubs, you need to keep a well groomed appearance. But shouldn't all hospitals have a standard?? Studies have shown that patients will have more faith in the care you provide if you are simply well-groomed!!
Yes, being in the military does take some freedoms away. I will never be a stay at home mom during my active duty years. My family and I move every three to four years, given my requests and the Navy's needs. My husband is self-employed so he is portable, however some families live apart so that the spouse can maintain a good paying job. I've also known folks to take "geographical bachelor" orders overseas for 18-24 months for the same reasons. But, I also see this type of stuff in the outside world....look at big business. People live on airplanes! So, 6 one way, half a dozen the other...it's a choice!
Clinically, I don't think that I would have the experience that I have if I hadn't gone into the military. But then again, some people only want to do one thing and they are happy if they do it for the rest of their life!
So, again...Navy life has its ups and downs. It isn't made for everyone...but for those who do have a taste for it, it can be GREAT!
I'll try to send you a pay scale so you can determine if it matches up to civilian life. That is a hard question to answer, as civilian pay really fluctuates depending on the size of the hospital and the location. Military pay is the same for everyone...there are some specialty pays out there for CRNAs too. And if you are deployed, you may earn other specialty pays.
I am a Navy Nurse and have been so for going on 14 years. I was brought in under the Bachelor Degree Completion Program which proceeded the Nurse Candidate Program. I was asked to give input as to where my top three choices for a duty station would be. That is such a hard question when you are new out of school, and for me...I hadn't really been anywhere the bases were! There were many factors in my decision...size of the hospital and distance from my family being two of them. I made the decision that I wanted a duty station on the East coast to at least be in the same time zone with mom and dad. But I also wanted to go to a large teaching facility, as I understood that it would afford me a much better experience as a new grad. Of my top three, I was able to go to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, VA. It was a great first tour, and I saw a variety of clinical pathology. I worked on a Pediatric Medicine floor, got certified in Chemotherapy Administration, and was sent to ACLS and PALS courses. I enjoyed working with the Peds Oncologist, as well as doing rounds with the medical students. I felt that we taught the med students as much as the attendings did! And I learned ALOT! I did that for two years, then transfered to an Adult Oncology/Chemotherapy Ward. I was also deployed on a hospital ship where I worked ICU. When I moved from that hospital to an overseas assignment, I knew that they could place me anywhere and I would be just fine...my nursing skills were that honed. I ended up working the whole gammet of Maternal-Child while overseas...trained in Level II and III NICU. And I especially loved L&D. When I returned to the states after that tour, I worked a brief stint on a Maternal-Child Unit, then became a Charge Nurse on a Medical-Surgical (including Pediatrics) ward with a Same Day Surgery Unit. Wow! Now I was really seeing it all... I had a desire to get into ER nursing so I worked PRN at a local hospital and became a CEN. From there, the Navy sent me to get my Masters degree (full-time and it was my only job!). I've since graduated with my Masters and am now doing what is considered a utilization tour.
Your decision regarding your personal life and your career is a big one. You will have to make compromises where ever you work when you have to consider family life. It isn't an impossible situation, but you do have to always remain flexible.
One of my greatest mentors in the Nurse Corps is an Admiral. She is married with children. It is possible to do all that you desire, but perhaps not in the timeframe that you desire. Flexibility is the key, and "Blooming where you are planted." In other words, always make the best of where ever you are.
What questions do you have about the Nurse Candidate program. I am a Navy Nurse. Have been in for going on 14 years. I came in under a program called the Bachelor Degree Completion Program, which they do not offer now. The Nurse Candidate program is what came after the program I was recruited under. I have many new graduates at my hospital who were in the NNC Program, so I could also get that kind of information for you.
If it is information regarding Navy Nursing...I'd be happy to tell you my experiences as well. Let me tell you some of the fun stuff that I've done...deployed on a hospital ship, lived in Spain, and got to go to school for my Masters degree (full-time) on the Navy's dollar (and that was my job...nothing else, but to study!). There are many, many benefits. It is a special type of job, and not one suited to every person. Yes, there have been days that I've been truly aggrivated by my circumstances, but for the great majority of my career, I have truly had fun.
I am a Certified Emergency Room nurse, and have worked every setting from birth to death. Now, I am on a more administrative career track and working on my PhD in Business Administration.
Let me know what kinds of questions you have! (and no, I'm not a recruiter.).
Hello, I am doing some research on nurse staffing and the use of the Admission, Discharge, and Transfer (ADT) index. I was wondering if anyone out there has heard of this index, and if it is used to assist with understanding and predicting staffing levels on their unit? I currently trend the data against quality of care occurances (such as patient falls, needle sticks, etc)...to see if staffing had an impact in the occurance. But I also believe that it can help with understanding "true" staffing ratios. We have a very short length of stay at my hospital (a small military facility), so you can imaging our turnover is out of this world! Thank you for your feedback.:roll
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