Civilian Nurse in San Diego


I have been offered a civilian RN position at Navy Medical Center San Diego. Initially I was super excited and grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to move from the midwest but reality set in. I have a wife and 3 kids and moving across country to a city that I never even visited is kind of scary. The cost of living is super high in San Diego. Also I was going to apply for CRNA school this year but if I accept this job that will be postponed for a couple of years.

What I'm asking here is for some advice on should I accept this job or not?? And has anyone worked as a civilian for a military hospital??? How long is the process to actually start working??? Pros and Cons??? etc.. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!!

Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,732 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.

I am a GS civilian, I went right into a position in my ER from being an active duty Army nurse. It probably takes at least a couple of months to get all the paperwork done, etc. Did they offer you a step 1? For example, our ER nurses are GS-11s, that "11" is our grade. There are many steps (10) within each grade. If you are an experienced nurse or have a BSN, a specialty certification (CCRN?), or have been a nurse longer than 10 years, do not accept an offer of step 1. My HR people tried to offer me an 11 step 1, and (after I stopped laughing) I negotiated several steps higher based on education, experience, board certs, and a couple of other factors. And please note that you cannot accept the position and then negotiate your step — you have to negotiate first. I sent an email that said "While I would love to accept this, I cannot accept anything less than a GS-11 step X."

Are they offering relocation?

Honestly, government jobs have excellent security and benefits. There are some things that are frustrating in working for the government (usually involving incredible layers of bureaucracy and challenges to creating change), but at the end of the day I want to stay in the Federal service. I have worked in both civilian and military settings, so I have a pretty solid basis of comparison. But that's just me. What does your family think?

I think you should go for it, but I have a penchant for uprooting my life every 4 years or so — I blame my upbringing as a military brat. :)

Congrats on the job offer!


17 Posts

They are offering me a step 1. I have my BSN and 1 1/2 years of ICU experience. I will definitely try and negotiate with them!!

In the job posting it said relocation was authorized but I haven't talked to HR yet.

My Fiancé thinks it's a good idea but she still have some concerns. I'm super excited for this opportunity. I wanted to join the military initially so this is the next best option. I'm leaning towards accepting the job because of the experience I will get and the honor of taking care the men and women of the military.

Thanks for the response!!!!