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Air Force/Decision-making help needed!!!

rnx24yrs rnx24yrs (New) New


I have been a RN 20+ yrs, currently working as a school nurse. Am 3 semesters shy of finishing my post masters FNP, which I put on hold due to divorce (already have DNP). This past week I was offered a scholarship by Air Force Nursing to finish my FNP then enter with commission of Captain, or I could go in as active critical care with 30K sign on and commission of Captain. I've checked with the University and I'm able to continue this Fall. I'm going to check with the district to see if I can switch to part-time/substitute so I can attend class and do clinicals. It seems like a wonderful opportunity--heard retiring from military nursing is ideal. What would you do??

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

Welcome! We moved your post to the Military Nursing forum with the goal of eventually accruing feedback from other nurses who serve our country. Good luck to you.

Do it!!! Either option and never look back.

mindofmidwifery, ADN

Specializes in ICU Stepdown.

I would go for it! It sounds exciting; but make sure you put together a list of pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons, I would say it's definitely worth it. Sounds like a great opportunity, good luck! :)


Specializes in ED. iCU, now add on PICU. Has 19 years experience.

I'm not sure of your age, but 20 years nursing makes me think you are over 42? To serve the full 20 years, you have to come in at 42 at the very latest. They will allow you to come in up until 47 as an RN, but I believe you have to sign that you understand that you will not be eligible for retirement. I may be wrong.... just check your facts.

I don't recommend folks join the service right now in the nurse corps unless they're interested in doing nothing other than military nursing. It's not the party folks will tell you it is.

44 and they did explain that in order to put in 20 yrs, I would need a waiver?---since 62 is retirement.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 8 years experience.

I'm curious if you're talking about active duty or guard/reserves. The job requirements of active duty vs. guard/reserves differ significantly. I think whether or not the military is right for you depends on your career goals. For active duty, it is a huge burden on your family; it's not worth it if your goal is to get a nice retirement check and pay off loans. The biggest downside is a lack of control regarding your environment, position, etc. In extreme instances, they can prevent you from taking vacation, prevent you from switching units/floors, call you in at 4am on your day off, etc. You can't go skiing without filling out forms and having a meeting with your commander. The pay, benefits, and career projection are better than the civilian world, but the lifestyle isn't for everyone.

I find it a little strange that they aren't projecting you as a Major.

Waivers are extremely hard to come by right now, and I find it doubtful any would be approved. I was under the impression that waivers had to be approved before you even joined.


Specializes in ED. iCU, now add on PICU. Has 19 years experience.

I came back in later than most at 42. I think age changes how one views and deals with the experiences in the military. I'm an ICU nurse, came in with the designation of such. Being an ICU nurse does limit me - less places that I can be stationed and fewer career broadening opportunities. Not that it's a bad thing, just wish I'd realized or been told this earlier as it came as a shock to find it out when I wanted to do something else and was told no, ICU would not release me. I did get a great assignment, so I'm still happy with it again.

I'm prior service and knew what the military was like. However, it was still a bad shock to come back in. I felt like I had a choke chain on when I first got to my base. You have little to no choice about where you go and what you do. In 4 years, I have been more away from my home than in it. I've lived in 3 different apartments in San Antonio, been on 2 6+ month deployments, gone to multiple extra courses for 1 - 8 weeks at a time with often very little notice. I don't have my family with me, so I'm good at being mobile and on the go. But if you have kids with you, there's a ton stress of suddenly finding care for them (which it is mandatory to fill out paperwork to have such a plan in place for your kids). I've also been on 3 different types of units at my home base in between all this. general ICU, then cardiothoracic ICU, then peds ICU (gag). Now I'm in an ICU slot at a base that needs the experience, but has no ICU, and I'm on a general multi service floor. I've never done med/surg in 18 years as a nurse - I do now. Yikes. It's always new and challenging.

I also had been told that we work normal types of nursing hours - I expected 3 12hr shifts a week and of course extra duties. But it is 7 shifts every 2 weeks plus extra duties and on call days. I have a lot less free time than I did as a civilian. I could not believe that I took a pay cut to come in and to work more hours. Being an hourly worker, I felt like I was working for free anything over. Then I got deployed and worked even more - when I got back and had a whole 3 days off in 1 week, I thought I'd won the lottery! lol

Just a bit of info I thought you should think about. You didn't ask specific questions, but I thought these should be considered.

I hit the reset button on my life coming back in. It hasn't been easy but I'm glad I did it.