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Air Force Mental Health Nursing

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by coconutzz coconutzz (New Member) New Member

coconutzz has 2 years experience and specializes in OR.

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What does a Mental Health Nurse do in the Air Force? Are there inpatient units or is all care done in an outpatient clinic? How frequently are these nurses deployed? And to where?

I did not realize Mental Health Nursing was an option until I was looking further into the Air Force specialties. I greatly appreciate any information about it!

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wtbcrna is a MSN, DNP, CRNA and specializes in Anesthesia.

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What does a Mental Health Nurse do in the Air Force? Are there inpatient units or is all care done in an outpatient clinic? How frequently are these nurses deployed? And to where?

I did not realize Mental Health Nursing was an option until I was looking further into the Air Force specialties. I greatly appreciate any information about it!

Mental health nursing isn't open to new nurses without prior mental health nursing experience.

There are inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities in the AF.

Basically any larger deployed base you will probably find MH nurses so basically everywhere (Iraq, Afghanistan etc.). Deployment cycles are 6mo every 18mo. That doesn't mean you will be deployed that often or that you won't be deployed more than that, but in general you stay in that cycle and if they need someone they pull from different bases until they have everyone they need, and if they don't need you don't go that cycle.

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aura_of_laura has 8 years experience and specializes in mental health, military nursing.

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I wish I could tell you! I'm commissioning as a Mental Health Nurse in the next week, and I have NO job specifics. :D I imagine it's very similar to MH nursing in the civilian sector when not deployed. I do know that the options for permanent duty stations are limited compared to med-surg nursing, but not sure to what extent.

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CRF250Xpert specializes in ICU, ER, OR, FNP.

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I imagine it's very similar to MH nursing in the civilian sector when not deployed.

Of course it is. That goes for all of our specialties. We (mil service members) go to the same colleges, the same grad schools, attend the same GME, and strive to deliver the same standard of care as our civilian counterparts. We just wear uniforms.

With that said, expect to be on the cutting edge of all healthcare when you come into the mil. No offense to our civilian counterparts, but they just don't see the volume of stuff that we do. I have participated in hundreds of multitrauma amputations, with enucleation, with a craniotomy, with ex lap, etc.

Civilian MH folks might see PTSD, but you will be a PTSD expert once in the mil based on the sheer volume (numbers your civ counterpart just doesn't have access to). The VA has an incredible CBT focused PTSD program that you might want to take a look at while waiting to get here if you're not already a CBT expert.

The last time I was in Iraq, we wrote many journal articles and had folks review them. The U.S. "leaders in trauma" at Baltimore's Shock trauma unit scoffed and thought we made up what we were doing. They couldn't believe the number of cases, the extent of the trauma, or our outcomes. They just weren't used to seeing what we had the luxury of seeing. We simply had access to more mass casualty explosions - something you don't get much of in Baltimore:D.

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886 Visitors; 12 Posts

I am going through the same thing as laura here. I am completing the paperwork to enter the air force as a mental health nurse. Does anyone know on any of the specifics about what CONUS bases mental nurses are usually stationed at? Are their deployments more frequent than their med-surg, ICU, or ER counterparts? Is there the ability to enter the AF as a mental health nurse then change jobs to something more medical like ICU if you so desired? Some insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Mike RN

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