Experienced ED nurse contemplating Navy Nurse Corps


Hello everyone,

I wanted to reach out to anyone with some words of advice concerning the Navy Nurse Corps. I am a prior enlisted Navy member of 8 years. I got out and went back to school for nursing. I got my ASN degree, followed by my BSN. I had one year experience on a med/surg floor, which I hated, and got a job right after in the ED. I have over 2 years experience in the ED/trauma setting. I have my ACLS, PALS and TNCC and working towards my CEN. I know that experience plays a role in commissioning, but what specifics would ensure that I would stay in the ED/trauma setting?

The benefits of the Navy are very attractive, but I do worry about deployments and duty stations. I have 2 young children and a husband. My husband is an active duty member in the aviation community. He is stated in Virginia Beach, VA, so if I did enlist, my hope would to be at Portsmouth Naval. I know that the Navy can't guarantee co-locating families, but has anyone dealt with these unique situations.

Lastly, can anyone tell me the pros and cons of military nursing vs civilian nursing? I was in the aviation community as an enlisted member so I know that the medical field is a whole different world. Also, I LOVE trauma. I work at a trauma center in Virginia Beach, and I just don't want to be bored. Its hard to picture myself out of that setting.

Thanks in advance for any input or advice.

Very Respectfully,

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,543 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

They do an okay job of keeping families together, but it isn't guaranteed. It's more likely if you are at least both in the same branch. If you aren't willing to be deployed 6-9 months out of every 2 year period, then you shouldn't join. I'm not saying that's the current ops tempo, but it could be in the future. You'll need a family care plan since both of you are active duty.

If you absolutely love trauma and would be devastated to potentially only see it while deployed, then don't join. Broadly speaking, military healthcare is significantly less acute and lower acuity than your average University Teaching Hospital. To the best of my knowledge, all of the Navy ERs are level 2 or less acute. SAMMC (which is AF and Army) is the only level 1 ER in the military.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

1,203 Posts

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 8 years experience.

I highly doubt the Navy would split up family members who are both in the service. Most likely you would get stationed at Portsmouth, however Im not sure they have much of a trauma department? I could be wrong.

Another option would be Bethesda (now re-named Walter Reed) in DC.

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,741 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.
I highly doubt the Navy would split up family members who are both in the service.

It is actually a significant challenge being a dual military couple in ANY branch of the military. If it's not an issue with being in the same area, they may be on opposite cycles for deployments, TDY, etc. Being dual military is a known challenge; one cannot assume that their needs supersede the military's needs, ever.