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Joined Jun 21, '10.
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I did 12 months (to the day) of M/S in DC and had no problem getting a job in NoVA (also in m/s, but that's what I applied for). I wanted to be closer to home and easily got a job where I wanted.
If you are applying to a school that takes all qualified candidates and uses a waiting list, your service isn't going to help or hurt you- it's somewhat irrelevant at that point. However, many schools are going to point based admissions, and many schools give point(s) for military service. For the program I did, it was more "traditional" admissions, where they look at everything (grades, prior work/ experience, volunteering, test scores, etc). Having been a Marine was definitely a plus for my application (I did 8 yrs AD, working in logistics). Serving in the Marine Corps also helped me get my first RN job. Having real work experience on my resume helped it to stand out, and I had help in "translating" my military experience into civilian terminology, really emphasizing what was applicable to being an RN, even though they were 2 totally different job fields.
Definitely look into taking care of prereqs while you still have TA and free CLEP testing to take advantage of. While prereqs do vary from school to school, there are many that you will see at any school, as well as gen ed that will apply to whatever degree you are seeking to get (ADN, BSN). If you know where you are planning on settling when you get out, look at all of the schools in that area and what their prereqs are, in order to get a good idea of what is expected in that area.
The VA would be the largest organization for what you're looking for. MTFs obviously deal with this as well, but if you are not near a base, especially one with a large hospital, that probably isn't an option. PP mentioned warrior transition units, and they have various roles for RNs, case managers, mental health RNs and visiting nurses. Navy Marine Corps Relief Society also has visiting nurses, as seen here: Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society - Employment Opportunities. Are you near a VA hospital? It would be a good place to start, as I know that many VAs hire new grads, as quite a few have internship programs for nursing students.
Around here, if you're an ADN with experience, you'll be fine. If you're pursuing your BSN, that will look good, but from what I've seen, it's not a requirement (many job ads will put BSN/ MSN preferred, but really, experience is more of what they're looking for). From my understanding, FFx Cty Sheriffs aren't paid too badly, but the county website would probably help more: Jobs*- Fairfax County, Virginia. Personally, I don't think that RN wages around here are consistent with COL, but with 2 incomes, it's doable. Do you have kids/ are schools important? A great thing about this area is that the schools are really good (there's always an exception, but throughout the majority of the county, there are really great opportunities/ choices. We are only stationed here, so it's temporary, but in the 2 1/2 yrs we've lived in NoVA, I've realized it's a pretty nice place to live (but, again, not a place where RNs are compensated compared to similar COL areas elsewhere in the country, but that's not everything).
"I know you guys keep saying that you have to bring the medicine 20 minutes apart, but I keep telling the nurses that I'm really ok with you just bringing my dilaudid, phenergan, benadryl and ativan (all IV, of course) at the same time. I'm just trying to help you guys save some time."
"You'll need to push that dilaudid faster. When you push it slowly, it makes me nauseated." Mind you, I was giving 3mg at a time. I guess if she stopped breathing, she might not be nauseated.
I would also encourage you to talk to the VA about the GI Bill. The post-9/11 GI Bill made more people eligible than the previous one. Even people who did ROTC or came in through the academies are now eligible, and there's no money to pay in to it, like the old one. Even if you don't qualify for 100% of it, you can qualify for certain percentages of the new one, based on how long you served.
We have a hospital policy that sedating IV meds (e.g. ativan, dilaudid, morphine, benadryl, phenergan) must be given at least 20 minutes apart. However, you can give IV of one and PO of another together, so IV dilaudid and an Ambien or IV Ativan with PO dilaudid would be fine, for example.
I'm not in the Army, so I can't tell you about changes, but regarding O vs E, do you have a BSN? If you do, I cannot think of a logical reason to enlist. With other, non-specialized degrees, there can be benefits to doing enlisted time and then becoming an officer, for sure. However, as an RN (with a BSN), if you desire to join the military, becoming an officer is the only logical way to join.
We got brand new white, dry erase boards in the pt rooms with all sorts of fancy new stuff added to them a few months ago (used to be the regular boards that just had our name, the tech's name, their Dr, etc, but these were oh, so much better). I was lucky enough to work the first night they were used. In our am "huddle" the director asked how we liked them. I spoke up and told her that they don't erase well (she was looking for feedback on how we liked all of the information we were now able to "provide" for our pts, but for the sake of functionality, erasing is important). She replied, "Well, you probably don't know how to erase." Really? I must have been out during that day of nursing school when they taught erasing. To this day, they become this horrible mess of black smudge after they are written on just once, and we apparently have 1 bottle of the official cleaner for the board, that we share between 3 units. Luckily, alcohol swabs work decently. Perhaps next, I can pursue a post-Master's certificate in dry erase board erasing.
I tell my patients my name twice during room orientation and while they can describe me and tell you nice things about me, they NEVER remember my name. In fact, I was just warned that I needed to get the patients to remember my name or I would face discipline even though they can clearly describe me. Please come back and reflect more on this thread when you are out on your own and caring for own patient assignment and discover that thank you cards are a meaningless and demeaning gesture for everyone involved.
The most "commutable"- if you were living on base- would be Stafford Hospital (the closest but not very big, from my understanding), Mary Washington (Level II trauma center; south of base) and Potomac Hospital (in Woodbridge; north of the hospital). I live up in NoVA, so I don't know a ton about those hospitals (I wasn't an RN when we were stationed there), but the names should give you a starting point for research.
Are you set on living on base? It wouldn't be a hard commute for your husband if you lived north of the base (reverse commute), so you could live somewhere between Quantico and Falls Church (where Inova Fairfax is- the large hospital with Neuro ICU) and both have a decent commute.
One big difference, to me, between my last job (union) and my current job (non-union) is the differentials. At my last job, if you worked night shift, you made night shift diff for all 12 hours (we had a few 8 hrs people left, and they made evening or night diff, based on the shift they worked). Right now, even though we don't have 8 hr RNs, we make evening diff from 1900-2300 and night diff from 2300-0700. I know they used to do it like this at the union hospital, as well, but when the hospital made a push to switch the majority of RNs to 12 hr shifts and all new hires to 12s, the union pushed to have the differentials reflect appropriately.
As much as I would love for things to happen on a night shift schedule, like meetings and classes, I don't see it happening. Our hospital does do a night shift session for things like forums with the CNO or if the unit wins/ earns pizza, they do it separately for day and night shift, but otherwise, they don't do a ton for night shift, specifically.
My school did them separately, with neither being a prereq for the other. Based on when I could actually get into the class (I was waitlisted for all of my sciences), I took physiology before anatomy, without any issues.
Experience in no way proves that you are competent- it merely proves that you have experience (in this case, in another role). It's like saying that education makes you smarter- it, alone, only makes you more educated. I guess I could go to work tonight and survey the RNs that I'm working with to find out if they were techs before they became RNs, but really, it's irrelevant, because I can look at the schedule and know whether or not I'm working with good RNs, based on the fact that I have worked with them before, as RNs, regardless of their previous life and work experience.
I have an MSN and did a MEPN program. I am not an APRN; my MSN program was a CNL program. As a new grad, I did a new grad residency, just like any other new grad. For me, part of the decision was not earning another bachelor's degree, the fact that I had years of management experience and might want to go back into it as an RN (once I had bedside experience) and going to through the best program available to me, at that time. We are military, and I was restricted in where I went to school, location-wise, as well as being able to complete school within the timeframe that we would be at that duty station. Yes, I could have done an accelerated BSN program (ADN was not an option d/t the length of waiting lists where we were stationed), but the quality would have been lower than the program I did (I'm not saying that getting an MSN made it higher quality- it was the actual program, regardless of degree). I don't really see how this is "disgusting," but maybe I would have learned that, if I had gotten a BSN. I have never had a problem getting hired- and yes, I make as much as any other bedside RN with the same amount of experience. I would like to put my MSN to use, through obtaining some post-master's certificate and trying to move "up," but for now, moving every couple of years isn't allowing that to happen. I am getting bedside experience in the meantime.
I have more respect for nurses who've worked as CNAs and NPs who worked as nurses for a couple years before.
See, I have respect for people who have earned it and who are good at their jobs. Do you ask every RN you work with whether or not they were techs/ CNAs before they went to school or do you observe what type of RN they are, and just as importantly how good of a team player they are? I have worked with many RNs who were CNAs or LPNs, and made horrible RNs- and every variation on that statement is true, too- RNs who were CNAs or LPNs and are amazing RNs, as well as both good and bad RNs who had no previous medical experience of any kind. I care more about the person I am working with now, in the role they have now, than what they did before.
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