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army/AF/navy — advice for nursing student needed

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by sofiamarkillie sofiamarkillie (New Member) New Member

49 Profile Views; 1 Post

hello all!! 

i am currently a 20yr old female & will be starting my 3 year BSN program in the fall, which i will graduate from in spring 2022. 

i am very interested in joining the military for nursing & have been for quite some time however i have a few questions. 

first, my hopes are to work overseas in different countries and help treat soldiers & civilians. i definitely want to join the military for nursing however i’m leaning towards maybe a 5 year max service, as i would prefer the “civilian nurse” lifestyle for when i’m married / have kids which is why i want to become a military nurse in my early-mid 20s (i will graduate with my BSN/RN at 23) i understand i probably won’t get deployed overseas right away, but i would prefer to travel & work overseas (Germany, Korea etc ) as soon as possible. i am wondering which branch i would be able to work oversees the “quickest” and how long the commitments are for the different branches. 

secondly, i’m wondering if i should look into joining ROTC at my college to help me in the military nursing field/future application process or if it’s too difficult to do both while in nursing school??

thirdly, is it recommend to join the military as a nurse as a new grad or is it better to get 1-2 years of civilian experience before entering the military field. i understand the application process can be quite lengthy of about a year or more, so should i begin the application process during my last year/semester of nursing school or is it better to work as a nurse first and while i work to apply??also, i am wondering if there are any GPA requirements that you need to attain in nursing school because of the competitiveness of military nursing? or any certifications that may help?

thirdly, are there any summer volunteer programs to gain experience working in the military field under nurses?? i have my CNA license too. or any sort of organizations to help people abroad in the medical field?? i’m sure there are but i don’t know of any organizations (haven’t researched much)

i completely understand i’m still 3 years ahead of even graduating but i like to plan ahead & ANY information/advice would be much appreciated! i have begun researching the branches but i would love to hear any additional insight! thanks in advance! 

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3 Posts; 56 Profile Views

I am in a very similar boat as you!

I plan to join as part of the Navy Nurse Corp but am looking for more information on it.

 

Hope you get some helpful replies on here that may even help me!

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jfratian is a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

1,312 Posts; 11,761 Profile Views

Your planning is on point and will serve you well.  I'm an active duty Air Force ICU nurse, but I can give you some info.

The true benefit to ROTC is that it basically guarantees you a commission as a nurse when you graduate.  Unfortunately, you will be forced to do med-surg for 2 years or so when you are a new military nurse.  That's pretty universal across all 3 branches.  

The benefit to direct commissioning after civilian nursing for a few years is that you can pick your nursing specialty and then start in that specialty right off-the-bat.  However, you'll need to have strong grades to do this route...like 3.7 on a 4.0 scale to be competitive.  It's harder to get in this way.  Make sure your civilian RN experience is at an ACS level I trauma center, preferably at a major university medical center.

The only way you could really work alongside military nurses is to apply for a CNA job at military facility as a civilian contractor or GS employee.  They often want experience though.  usajobs.gov

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78 Posts; 267 Profile Views

I agree with jfratian that some experience would be required and helpful before joining.  I was a hospital corpsman who worked alongside RN's when I was at a hospital or clinic, but you will be doing more than simply doing your RN duties.  It would be a difficult transition from civilian to military nursing and it would be beneficial for your career afterwards if you go into that experience already having an idea of what civilian medicine is like.  Unless you choose to 'pay your dues' with med/surg like jfratian said it would be helpful to serve in your chosen specialty while in military service.  As mentioned that would require some civilian RN experience ideally in a level 1 trauma center as suggested.  Employers would be happy to see a military RN with years of experience in a chosen specialty and that experience would be your golden ticket to whatever job you apply to anywhere as it would be highly desirable. 

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30 Posts; 144 Profile Views

The big ones Doctors Without Boarders, Peace Core, want people with education  a lot higher than a CNA. The WHO does have internships. Otherwise a religious organizations might have something. You could become an EMT for emergency experience but check with a recruiter to know if that will help you or not.  As for Military Healthcare Volunteer work I only know of the VA. 

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78 Posts; 267 Profile Views

If you just want to get military medical experience then going enlisted as a corpsman or medic would get you that.  However you are not going to get to do high-speed stuff immediately and you may never do so depending on where you go.  It's far better for you to get your RN and experience now before deciding to pursue the military as an option.  A further option would be to go in enlisted in one of the medical ratings, and shoot for MECP, a military program for enlisted to be paid to go to RN school for your BSN and follow up with a commission in that branch.  That is a gamble as it's highly competitive and if you do not get access to that program you would have lost years of time that you could have gotten your BSN earlier.  I don't know your situation for school but if loans are required make sure to get public loans and not private.  If your loans are government backed loans you can get them forgiven with military service after a certain period of time, but you need that in writing from your recruiter.  They will play dumb and attempt to tell you that doesn't exist, but it most certainly does.  They will try to downplay it because that is more paperwork for them that they certainly don't want to do.  Be persistent, and eventually they will cave as you would have shown yourself to be dedicated and persistent.  Good luck with whatever you choose.

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