I had a four year scholarship
that I applied for in high school. I was able to go to any school that offered both a BSN and had ROTC. At the time that I went to school I think that they paid up to $8000 a year for tuition, and $300 per semester for books. Some schools like to have the government money and will add free room. I went to Texas Christian University so I still had to pay out of my pocket some tuition, but got a great education. I think that the scholarships
have changed there are different amounts that you qualify for, and there are 2,3 and 4 year scholarships to apply for. You receive $150 a month stipend. At TCU we had a 1 hour military science class once a week to learn land navigation, military customs, tactics....(army stuff). Then a 2 hour a week "Lab" that we actually did the thing that we were learning. The lab tries to prepare you for your Junior Year of "summer camp" where cadets are put in leadership roles and stressful situations to evaluate you and your potential on being an officer. Nothing like basic training for the enlisted, but stressful to a certain extent. Once you graduate and pass the NCLEX you will be sent to your first station. They try and give you one of your top 3 choices of where you want to go but not everybody gets to go to Hawaii, Colorado or Germany...you may get to go to Ft Polk, LA or Ft Leonard Wood, MO both out in the middle of nowhere! It all depends on where the Army needs you. You will have PLENTY of opportuninty for bedside nursing. Nearly everyone starts out with one to two years on the med surg floor. Then you can apply to go to a specialtycourse such as L&D, OR, ER, ICU or Community Health. But you do not have to apply to the course to move to a specialty, they can move you whenever you want to whatever they want. I worked med-tele, gyn surg, PACU and ER. I had tons of experience to put on my resume and feel that I am a very well rounded nurse because of all the different oppotunities that I had. You will be the charge nurse within 2 months of starting on the floor. You have extra duties being an Officer and a nurse such as maintaining physical fitness which is a test of 2 mins of push-ups 2 mins of sit-ups and a 2 mile run with different passing grades depending on your age. (the army can boot you if you do not pass) Maintaining your qualification with an M-16 rifle. You will not have a set schedule, you will work each shift, and you are on call whenever the floor needs you. You may have worked the nightshift and are supposed to be off the next 2 days, but get called at 11am and be told that you have to come in and work 3-11 because someone got sick, or detailed to some other place of duty. You have to answer the call because you work for Uncle Sam. Oh yeah, no calling in sick! You have to go to sick call and receive "quarters" to miss work. But it really instills dependability and loyalty in a person. I always said that when I got out of the Army I would call in sick whenever, but I can't I feel to guilty! You will be deployed to the field at least 1 or 2 times a year to staff field hospitals. Everybody goes, Officers and Enlisted. Officers should work just as hard as everybody else out there to set the presedence. Everybody does everything. No real separation out in the field especially in the setting up of the DEPMEDS(hospital) our dining facility and our sleeping tents. Last time I was out in the field I was on a team with a Surgeon (LT COL) 3 RNs,(2 CPT and 1 1lt) and 2 brand new privates! We had a blast! We were sweating and stinky but we had built a hospital!! What an accomplishment.
There is also the opprotunity for Grad School(on the Army), but keep in mind that your life schedule and the Army's schedule for you may differ. I had a friend you had started her Master's in San Antonio 36 cerdits into school, Army needed a nurse in Hawaii. Credits do not transfer!
I opted to get out because my husband was in the Army as well and we could not get stationed together where we want to go, He could go somewhere but a nurse was not needed or vice versa. We spent 2 years apart while I was in San Antonio and he was in Kansas! Very frustrating!!!
Yes there is a lot of politics!!!! But the experience that you receive is stellar. So are the people. I met so many people and have so many friends from the Army, the people made it worth all the hassels!
The money is ok, but salaried. No shift diferentials, no charge pay no on call pay, and no overtime. Good health coverage, and 30 days a years of paid vacation.
I almost forgot one of your questions.. with a scholarship you will owe the Army 8 years, all active duty or 4 years active and 4 years reserve.
There is also another option that you can join the Army with out doing the ROTC. I think that you get a $5000 signon bonus.(but do not quote me on the figure). I think that ROTC officers do better overall because you learn the leadership necessary to be a better officer.
I know nothing about the other branches, but think that they are similar. I hope this helped with your question. I think that if I were single and not ready to settle down I would still be in, the military is a fulltime committment and hard to wife, individual, officer and student all at the same time to the level I wanted to do them at. The army was the one I could let go easiest. Let me know your decision and let me know if this info helped! JJ