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ARMY- Gaining competitive RN experience


I’m a new Grad May 2020. My end goal is to be an army nurse career track. I’m currently 24 and single. I know nursing is competitive now, unortunately I have ADHD and would need a waiver. Due to my ADHD I got a complete ghost from the FL recruiter (a test as I lived down there for a year). I’m from MN but I’m scared to mention to my MN healthcare recruiter now, that I even have ADHD (I’ve been off meds for college though). I also don’t have the worlds best GPA 3.10 and I didn’t do any leadership things during college. I realize nowadays the army wants years of experience. However life for the new grad is sh***y indeed with many places freezing hiring in MN for new grads d/t COVID 19. Every application I look at has one year acute care experience MANDATORY. Not to mention trying to get an ED or ICU residency if you Are not either a remarkable applicant with stellar grades and connections or dirt poor first generation non white person so they can meet there government diversity requirement then you’re screwed and don’t have a chance. Do I wait 3 months for the next hiring cycle? I’m just very depressed as a new grad trying to find a job. do I have to move to a different state with a lower level of healthcare to get a job? What can I do so when I do apply to commission I stand out on paper for the boards?

catamounts30, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

Hi there! The recruiter gave you excellent information about MEPS; MEPS is not your friend and can only dig into things that you disclose to them. If you have nothing wrong with you the day of MEPS do not disclose anything. Becoming a CRNA is an outstanding goal so becoming an experienced ICU Nurse gaining certifications like CCRN/TNCC etc are things to strive for in the next couple of years. You can serve in the Army Reserve as a Critical Care Nurse after a few years experience, the advantage to this is you then get to work in your chosen civilian hospital gaining valuable, technical experience that you effectively would never see in the military hospital setting.

You're going to want to work in a Level I Trauma Center teaching hospital that utilizes things like CRRT and ECMO. Army Reserve is one weekend a month of drill and two weeks a year with the possibility of being called up for active duty to a war zone/disaster and or opportunities to participate on volunteer humanitarian missions.

CRNAS have a strong presence in the Army Reserve also, the Army CRNA school isn't the best CRNA school; it's just free. Many Army CRNA's are from civilian schools of which the Army will give you a portion of money and loan repayment to attend while in the Reserve. Also side note, you can live anywhere in the US and move around if you're in the Reserves. Even though other branches have Nursing; Army clearly the most programs and opportunities for Nursing and CRNA Active and Reserve thats why I love it.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

I can't speak specifically to the reserves (there is an Air Guard, Air Reserves, and Naval Reserves), but in general the Navy and Air Force have all of the opportunities you mentioned. Minus a few specialized jobs, nursing in each of the 3 branches is largely similar. Humanitarians, deployments to combat zones (Kandahar and Bagram role IIIs are almost exclusively staffed by Navy and AF respectively), military CRNA school with Uniformed Services (Navy/Air Force), and civilian CRNA school funding via HPSP.

I would recommend looking at the reserve or active components of each branch and joining the one with the best offer for you. DHA is gradually making military medicine fairly homogeneous anyway.

Trashboat, BSN

Has 2 years experience.

I commissioned active duty Army to gain hospital experience (FY 2019). I submitted my packet with ~2 years HH nursing experience and was selected for 66H with eventual 66S schooling in my contract.

In my competitive state it's how I plan to gain hospital RN experience.

Jeckrn1, ADN, BSN

Specializes in Operating room, ER, Home Health. Has 22 years experience.

Do not hide any information, if found out it could kill your career.

MikeyD, BSN

Specializes in SRNA. Has 9 years experience.

On 4/26/2020 at 11:24 AM, Jeckrn1 said:

Do not hide any information, if found out it could kill your career.

Correct, it is illegal