Civilian nurses under contract to military?

Nurses General Nursing


I am an honorably-discharged veteran (formerly military practical nurse), and now I am civilian licensed as LPN and seriously considering working under civilian contract to Army as LPN nurse. But what if changes in supervisor or command might make me very unhappy with job- am I stuck like an enlistee until contract expires? what if I want to leave to finish the last two semesters of my LPNtoRN ADN program? What are the unknown problems that I might need to know about before committing? Thanks for any information that you can provide.

I worked at Walter Reed as a contractor (but not as a nurse). I worked for the contract organization, but didn't have a contract- the organization I worked for did. So I could quit/leave anytime I wanted, just like any other job. In fact, even if you worked directly for the Army or DOD, I am pretty sure that it is a normal employee/employer relationship. So- you're not tied to them like you were when were in. I am not sure if you directly contracted with them- it might be easier to go with a contract organization.

Specializes in ER.

I am an LPN, and I work for the Air Force as a contractor nurse. My contract states that it can be terminated at any time by either party. I need to give at least 30 days notice prior to quitting, and the AF will give at least 14 days. So it isn't like you are completely stuck. That being said, there will always be people you work with that are complete tools.

Thanks very much for reassuring info! Glad I have option to leave to finish my RN program if I cannot transfer into a school near the military base. I look forward to working with the kind of people that I read on these posts about military nursing.


Would you suggest a new graduate working for the military? I see that there are postings for army nurses. Also how long is the hiring process?

Specializes in ER.

There's no reason to NOT work for the military. As far as I'm concerned, it's just like any other large employer. Just be aware that they have a VERY low tolerance for ignorance/constant mistakes/whining, etc. They expect that you can hit the ground running and not need a whole lot of training. The hiring process is different for every branch, and depending on what position you are being hired for (contractor vs GS).

What is the difference between a contract nurse and a GS nurse? Is one job easier to get than the other?

Specializes in ICU, School Nurse, Med/Surg, Psych.

Take a look at the information that can be found at USAJOBS website. There are plenty of openings both stateside and abroad.

Civilian jobs at Military and VA are seen at and Army has extra info at about jobs. Most jobs specify minimum 1 year experience (maybe in specific tasks). These are nontraining positions. "Points" are assigned to your application for each requirement including experience. Vets or military spouses get a Federal hiring preference over other applicants with similar points. Hiring process takes time. I applied in June, got jobsite interview in late September, then sent to higher level for final decision. Next are physical, background investigation, immunizations. Use all required info stated in description of each job to write your own application/resume. You get dropped if not all required info is together. Late apps are "dead". Economy is tough even for nurses, and Federal benefits are good. Military nursing for LPNs has excellent clinical experience, and you will be proud forever that you served your country as part of a team.

To Dreamon: You can work directly for military under a personal contract as a GS ("government service") employee of the Federal government (with a numerical GS-level or rank that sets your pay by the military-a GS6 level pays more than GS-5). You are then a "contractor" yourself with your own personal contractual obligation to the military service. Or you can be an employee of a contractor company that is working for the military (you would be employed by a private company and not be directly employed by Federal government) such as travel nursing company that has its own contract with the military for you to staff that company's position at the military site. GS employees get a paycheck from the military, employees of a contractor company get paid by that company. GS employees work where Uncle Sam wants them, employees of contractor companies work where private employer puts them. GS government employees get Federal benefits, employees of contractor companies get benefits from that company. GS jobs are likely longer term and may have Federal alternatives if the job ends, but maybe easier for employee of company to transfer jobsites if unhappy. If a GS employee fouls up then that one can lose job, but if other employees foul up a company's contract then all of its company employees can lose jobs. Private companies can go bankrupt, Uncle Sam can print money. Each job status has a tradeoff of options.

NurseTrishaH...I have some questions about filling out the contract. Can you help?

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