Air Force -- a rewarding path for a nursing student?


hi all,

i am going to a nursing school in a year, and i was inspired by a lot of people's postings on here about joining the air force as a nurse with a bs. so, i am asking 1.if anyone has any info on what kind of specialties in nursing that are available in the af. i would also like to know 2. if it would be a good idea to have experience prior joining. 3. will all nurses be on active duty if accepted? i am just very confused about what i should do, and please let me know any info about nursing in the af. thank you all very much!

rghbsn, BSN, RN

187 Posts

Specializes in Flight/ICU/CCU/ED/Trauma. Has 7 years experience.

Specialties in the AF Nurse Corps include pediatrics, neonatal, ER, critical care, med surg, flight nursing and psych. I'm sure that there are likely more, but those all come to mind pretty quickly.

I think they want you to have a least a year of nursing, but I think that it's a good idea to have it...if they require it or not. Actually, if you have less than a year, I think they just send you to NTP to get your feet wet. It's essentially a long, detailed orientation to AF nursing.

If you talk to an Active Duty nursing recruiter, then you'll be active duty. If you talk to a reservist nursing recruiter, you'll be in the reserves. In the reserves, you'll have several months of active duty time for schools, training, and "seasoning"...similar again to an orientation type situation.

Is it a good idea? I love it. Is it for everyone? Not by a long shot. I can tell you after 8+ years of nursing, all of it critical care, flight, and ER/trauma, I experienced my most rewarding moment last week bringing home our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines...I can't even put it into words, to be honest. Amazing isn't even close!

midinphx, BSN

853 Posts

Specializes in ED. ICU, PICU, infection prevention, aeromedical e. Has 28 years experience.

I think the support and training the new grads get is really amazing in the Air Force. On the civilian side of nursing, it can be dog eat dog. I haven't seen that from my AF nurses. I did 14 years of civilian nursing. I think the ICU nurses that I work with in the AF are the best trained and skilled as an overall group than any I worked with before.

This isn't an easy path. But I would not have the chance to do any of what I'm offered now without being in. I get to be deployed soon. I'm looking forward to it!

rgh- thanks for sharing! I have loved taking care of all my patients. They are not the same patients that I took care of as a civilian. I'm glad to be blue!


233 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER, OR, FNP.

+1 on the uniqueness of our job.

When I speak of my experience with my civilian counterparts, I know they don’t believe a word. It’s not their fault, but they’ve just never seen trauma in the U.S..

Traumatic evisceration, multiple amputation, enucleation, and craniotomy on the same patient is a common every day – all day long occurrence for us as military providers.

For someone who sees fat diabetics all day – it’s kind of hard to grasp.