Active Duty Air Force RN Interested in Med School

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    Hey there, folks. I know this will probably get mostly people saying, "why would you want to go to the dark side" or some garbage like that, but let's give it a shot anyway.

    I'm an active duty ICU nurse in the Air Force. It just so happens that I am typing this post from sunny Afghanistan. I have some gnarly experience from Christ Medical Center outside Chicago, Shock/Trauma, and Johns Hopkins. I'm CCRN certified and whatever.

    So, I want to be a doctor. Over here in Afghanistan I have been given the opportunity to interact with MDs (all surgeons), and they let me get my hands dirty. I feel now (and secretly have for a long time) that my calling is to be a surgeon, not a nurse. An ortho trauma surgeon, to be exact. I am looking for advice, words of wisdom, or anything else that will help me along this path.

    Since I'm active duty AF now, there is a decent chance I can get the AF to pay for medical school and a monthly stipend in exchange for more time, that way I can get out and go to a school of my choosing. On the flip side, I could have them send me to medical school through the USUHS program, but that is not nearly as up-to-speed as I think I would like.

    So, with all that, give it to me. What should I do and how should I do it?

    Lt Dane.
    Whykai likes this.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    Sounds like you have nothing to lose by going to medical school. Most people are concerned about getting in more debt when considering a second career, but you shouldn't have that problem. I say go with your heart. Are all of your pre reqs complete? Have you prepared for MCAT? How many years will it take from start to the end of your surgical residency? It will a journey, but you will probably be happier doing what you really love.
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    My prereqs are mostly done, but I will want to revisit some classes for GPA reasons, and others will need to be added. I have not prepared for the MCAT at all, but I'm currently deployed and have endless time, so I will begin that shortly. Also, the Air Force will pay for a Kaplan course to study for it. It will be about 10 years start to finish of ortho trauma surgical. It will definitely be a journey, but I think it will be a complete kick ass one.
    Whykai and Luckyyou like this.
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    I think after your field experiences it would be difficult to transition back to the more strictly enforced scope of nursing practice in civilian life. I say if you're willing a ready for a new challenge, go for it.
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    Hey I know this has nothing to do with the topic, but I'm a question for dangerous.

    I am a college student who major in pre-nursing. I have been thinking of joining the Air Force ROTC program. I know I have to give them time in return but how much? And would they place me ICU if I asked. Also I would like to go to grad school for my CRNA. Would they let me do about two years of ICU then attend grad school? And if so how much time would I owe then.

    Sorry about all the questions but I'm young and I just had a son, and if I'm going to leave my boyfriend an son for a while I want to know if it will be worth it for my family first.
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    Ok Whykai, here's the scoop...ROTC is a pretty good deal, but I never did it, so I'm unfamiliar with the benefits and requirements. All I know is that some friends of mine did it and now outrank me, and they're 2-3 years younger. In order to get ICU, you either need extensive civilian ICU experience prior to entering the AF, or you need to go through a residency program once in the AF. The problem is, you need to spend about 2 years as med surg before you're eligible to apply to the residency. Bottom line is, you'll need 2+ years before they'll consider you for ICU, whether civilian or AF.ICU in the AF is extremely competitive. Also, the only way to get into CRNA school (yes, they will pay), is to be an ICU nurse. So, lets say you have no experience. You would definitely start medsurg. After 2-3 years you'd get into the ICU program, which is 18 months long. Then you'd work ICU a minimum of 1 year before you could apply to CRNA, but other requirements may apply, lengthening your wait. You're looking at a minimum of 5 years before you'd be able to apply for CRNA, and another year before you start. Your payback for CRNA school would year for year. When I joined, my commitment was 6 years, but they paid a ton of my school debt, too. Don't forget, too, it'll take 6+ months to get in, then another 6+ to attend officers school.I have a feeling that's not exactly what you wanted to hear. Getting a CRNA is not easy, even through the AF. However, the AF is very rewarding in a ton of ways.
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