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Air force vs. Navy

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I hope all is well with everyone. I wanted to get some information in regards to air force vs navy as a new graduate nurse. I currently have my RN license and talked to the initial recruiters about meeting the basic qualifications. They both said I should meet them and I am currently scheduled to talk with the specific officer health professions recruiter in the next few days. I wanted to get a list of good questions to make sure I address any concerns or loop holes I may not know about. Also if anyone has any feedback about their experience on the job or going through the process it would

really help! Thank you!

nurse2033, MSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU.

You will find very few people who have served in both, so a comparison is difficult. Do you like planes or boats?

Honestly probably planes. I'm Just unsure which branch is better for spouses and which one has better opportunities.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience. Specializes in ICU.

While I have only done AF nursing, I've interacted with Army and Navy nurses and have some idea.

If you want to do flight nursing or some form of critical care air evac, then the AF is what you should do. Yes, the other branches have flight nursing, but the opportunities are far more limited. The Navy has some really good bases (San Diego, DC) , since they tend to be by the coast. The Navy also has ship postings, such as a ship's nurse on an Aircraft carrier.

The Navy doesn't like ADN/diploma nursing. If some of your RN experience was earned without a BSN, the Navy won't give you credit.

The Navy embraces the 'jack-of-all-trades' mentality a bit more than the AF does. Both branches have specialty codes, but Navy nurses tend to acquire more of them more easily. The AF loves specialization and feels more corporate. If you want to try a bit of everything, then the Navy is your show. The AF allows you to do one thing for a long time (ICU, ER, OR, L&D, NICU, and psych especially so).

Honestly, though the overall career/job is very similar. At many bases Navy and AF nurses work side by side on the same unit.

Edited by jfratian

Hey let me know how your meetings with the recruiters go! I'm also a new grad (& military spouse) and moved out to CA to be with my husband... I looked into Navy nursing because I'd love to serve and I'm having a hard time finding positions out here in San Diego. But when I talked to the navy recruiter she said I needed 1 year of experience first, an absolute minimum of 6 months. I haven't looked into the Air Force as much but will you let me know if they require experience too? I hope all goes well for you!


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