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Combat Nursing responsibilities and risks

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I am strongly considering joining the Navy to become a combat nurse. I want to help and assist our troops over seas. How do I go about becoming one? and what are some of your stories of being a Military/Combat Nurse?

PG2018

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

Can this link be posted on here?

A Nurse Deployed

I found it several years ago. It's a blog about a navy nurse attached to a Marine expeditionary unit. Good reading.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

You have to at least be enrolled in a BSN program to apply for any branch; it's extremely competitive right now. You should know that you will likely have to do a few years in med-surg before you can do anything resembling cool stuff, unless you are already an experienced critical care or ED nurse in the civilian world. Also, most overseas combat operations are tapering-off in Afghanistan; there may not be those kind of opportunities for a while. A lot of nurses I serve with are disappointed that few people are deploying, because that's what they joined to do.

You have to at least be enrolled in a BSN program to apply for any branch; it's extremely competitive right now. You should know that you will likely have to do a few years in med-surg before you can do anything resembling cool stuff, unless you are already an experienced critical care or ED nurse in the civilian world. Also, most overseas combat operations are tapering-off in Afghanistan; there may not be those kind of opportunities for a while. A lot of nurses I serve with are disappointed that few people are deploying, because that's what they joined to do.

Aw man, I'm currently in a BSN program now I'm doing my last year of pre-reqs. Would you consider going into the reserves now or waiting till I'm done with my degree?

Hopefully, once I get my experience I could get an opportunity to go over and help, it's been one of my biggest goals.To go over and help our troops!

jeckrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR. Has 17 years experience.

I would wait since there is no guarantee that you would be able to make the switch from enlisted to officer or reserves to active at this time.

Reserves to active is close to impossible

I have tried multiple time to go to Afghanistan....no dice

Unless there is another war you will not be going anywhere when you graduate.

PG2018

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

Reserves to active is close to impossible

I have tried multiple time to go to Afghanistan....no dice

Unless there is another war you will not be going anywhere when you graduate.

Unfortunately, there will always be another war.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

Sure, except there's no way of knowing when that will be. It could be tomorrow or it could be 10 years from now. If you join right now, you likely won't get what you want out of the job if your goal is to work in a deployed environment.

Don't join as an enlisted medic in the reserves. It will be very hard to switch to an active duty nurse. Join when your done and get your loans paid for retroactively.

Why don't you get some civilian experience in an ICU or ED environment and join after a few years. It's much harder to switch specialties in the military than it is in the civilian world. If you join as a new grad, you will be stuck in med/surg for at least a few years; you'll have to apply for a fellowship (a TDY training course basically) to switch to ICU/ED.

Plus, if there was some kind of prolonged conflict, it would be much easier to join at that time. There would be heavy recruiting, massive sign-on bonuses, loan repayment, etc. Right now, you'll be lucky to even make it in with all the downsizing.

Sure, except there's no way of knowing when that will be. It could be tomorrow or it could be 10 years from now. If you join right now, you likely won't get what you want out of the job if your goal is to work in a deployed environment.

Don't join as an enlisted medic in the reserves. It will be very hard to switch to an active duty nurse. Join when your done and get your loans paid for retroactively.

Why don't you get some civilian experience in an ICU or ED environment and join after a few years. It's much harder to switch specialties in the military than it is in the civilian world. If you join as a new grad, you will be stuck in med/surg for at least a few years; you'll have to apply for a fellowship (a TDY training course basically) to switch to ICU/ED.

Plus, if there was some kind of prolonged conflict, it would be much easier to join at that time. There would be heavy recruiting, massive sign-on bonuses, loan repayment, etc. Right now, you'll be lucky to even make it in with all the downsizing.

Oh ok, I have an enlisted recruiter now pushing for me to go in now. And says the transition is easy, but I know it's their job to bend the truth.

But okay, I really wouldn't mind working in Med surg. I really didn't think it was that complicated.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

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

The transition is NOT easy. I know people who are trying, excellent soldiers with stellar service records who can't even get it done. Military nursing is full. If you enlist, do it with the knowledge that you won't be a military nurse. Good luck, whatever you decide.

Oh ok, I have an enlisted recruiter now pushing for me to go in now. And says the transition is easy, but I know it's their job to bend the truth.

But okay, I really wouldn't mind working in Med surg. I really didn't think it was that complicated.

Bear in mind that recruiters have quotas to fill, and in some areas those quotas are tough to meet. There was a recent report that 71% of Americans of enlistment age do not meet the qualifications for enlistment. Lots of things, including obesity, convictions and tattoos, will disqualify a candidate and qualified candidates are getting more difficult to find. Consequently, recruiters will tell you pretty much anything to get you to sign up. Remember, when dealing with recruiters, any promise that isn't in writing doesn't exist.

Seems like to get to my ultimate goal is to become a navy nurse, I would have to wait, even if I have to work med/surg for a while. Thank you everyone for your advice!

jeckrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR. Has 17 years experience.

Oh ok, I have an enlisted recruiter now pushing for me to go in now. And says the transition is easy, but I know it's their job to bend the truth.

But okay, I really wouldn't mind working in Med surg. I really didn't think it was that complicated.

5-7 years ago this might have been the truth. In 2002 I went from enlisted to officer in the reserves and in 2009 from reserves to active. Today it would be next to impossible to do either. The process is easy but getting picked up by the board is not.

5-7 years ago this might have been the truth. In 2002 I went from enlisted to officer in the reserves and in 2009 from reserves to active. Today it would be next to impossible to do either. The process is easy but getting picked up by the board is not.

Wow, okay. I will take that into consideration!

PG2018

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

Wow, okay. I will take that into consideration!

It's economics.

Around 2002, I was finishing up another degree at my old alma mater, and recruiters were showing up to the nursing building with pizzas and freebies and an almost daily basis soliciting new grads. Now, a new grad is lucky to get a resume review at a career fair. When I went back later for nursing, I took the first nursing job, which coincidentally was the highest salary in the region so that may have masked the problem, but the first job offer isn't always the best. Remember, there are reasons why some institutions have recurring openings for the same position/shift/supervisor, etc. Just old dirty pearls of wisdom.

Around 2002, you could always find recruiters trying to entice grads to stop and enlist OR hit up OCS or OTS upon graduation. Times are changing, but everything is cyclical.

Call me crazy but after two initial tours iraq and afg...I am still baffled as to why a person would want to do this.

Getting my 214 was the happiest day of my life lmao

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

If you're just starting school now, the employment landscape could be far better by the time you graduate. Eventually, there will be another conflict requiring military expansion; that's the time you want to apply. That's when they'll be handing out the insane sign-on bonuses, and it's also when you'll get the deployment experience you seem to want. I still think there is a general consensus in the healthcare industry that the demand for nursing services is on track to far exceed the supply in the next 10-20 years; that's going to really make it harder for the military to recruit too.

Call me crazy but after two initial tours iraq and afg...I am still baffled as to why a person would want to do this.

Getting my 214 was the happiest day of my life lmao

What was your experience like ?