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Becoming an Army Nurse

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Hi everyone, I've been thinking about becoming an army nurse since I graduated in May. I just passed my NCLEX and am about to start working in an ED in July. In 6 months I plan on moving to a different state or join the army so I want to gather as much information as I can and weigh my options. I know I could have my questions answered by a recruiter but I would like to hear it from my fellow nurses first and before i get serious about it and contact a recruiter. My questions are: how long is the initial commitment (i'm lead to believe its 3 years); i understand its not a matter of if but when i get deployed but while I'm not deployed overseas, is there a chance I could be stationed where i want such as Fort Bragg; is there only one time a year that the army commissions nurses ( i heard the board meets every november); is there a good chance that the army will pay for graduate school and where i want to go to school; how long is officer training. They are many more things i don't fully understand so any input on the topic would be appreciated! Thank you guys!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Welcome! We have moved your thread to our Military Nursing forum with the goal of amassing more responses. Good luck with your future career aspirations!

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

Well, you have a couple of strikes against you. First, you don't have much experience. The Army wants several years right now. Also, it sounds like you want to stay close to home in NC (I can't think of why else you would want Bragg---no offense I'm from the area); while there is a decent sized ER there you'll be at the mercy of the Army's needs for moving.

Every branch has a program that pays for grad school. It's universally very competitive. I hope your undergrad GPA was at least a 3.5. You'll be eligible to apply after you've served at least 2 years.

You will have better luck with the Navy or Air Force right now. I imagine you picked the Army because you hoped for Fort Bragg.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

Sorry Joe, you can't just "sign up" for the Army these days. They are actively reducing the number of nurses with forced early retirement/separation, and the Army isn't recruiting new grads right now. You'd need at least two years of experience, preferably with board certification in a specialty. Do you have a BSN? That is also required.

Thank you for the input! I do have my BSN and my gpa was just over 3.5. I am leaning towards army right now because I have two Lt. Colonels in the family who served for 40 years and they are really pushing me that route. I don't live in NC right now but Fort Bragg was my first choice because i plan on moving to NC anyway but i realize the needs of the army trump all personal wants and needs. I have been told by my family members who were in the army (one of which was a nurse) how competitive it is to join the army as a nurse and be commissioned especially at this time but is the 2 years experience a hard, set criteria? Also i don't know if would help but i plan on getting my CEN (certified emergency nurse) as soon as possible.

The 2 years experience is absolutely necessary for Army. I contacted an Army recruiter about commissioning as a new grad nurse and he replied saying they require 2 years experience and to contact him again once I had that...

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

is the 2 years experience a hard, set criteria? Also i don't know if would help but i plan on getting my CEN (certified emergency nurse) as soon as possible.

Yes, experience is a must - they currently aren't funding a mission for new grads. The CEN will help you be competitive when you hit that experience mark, as long as you are still working in the ER. To come into the Army as an ER nurse requires a certain number of hours of ER worktime in the previous couple of years. If you have that, you might be granted a special identifier as an ER nurse. I did it - it was a lot of paperwork but it was worth it because I qualified for the Incentive Special Pay (ISP) bonus. The ISP might not be around forever, though.