Air Force Anesthesia

  1. Hello, I am really considering joining the Air Force to do critical care nursing and then hopefully anesthesia. Does anyone know how hard it is to get into anesthesia school through the air force? Easier or harder? The air force seems like a good deal and I am looking forward to joining. Thanks!! Oh yeah, its looking like I will be stationed at Lackland.
  2. Visit ceska2 profile page

    About ceska2

    Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 15
    Specialty: Surgical/cardiothoracic intensive


  3. by   WalkingInTheRain
    [font=Arial Narrow]Hi maybe you can talk to an Airforce Recruiter. They might be able to direct you to someone involved in the Medical Corps, you might want to talk to a Nurse Recruiter though.. Good luck and hope you find what your looking for.
  4. by   vaRN
    Will you be headed to Lackland soon? I am starting the CRNA program at Fort Sam (down the street) in June with both airforce and army students. I could ask one of my peers for you. I am a VA nurse and a civilian so I do not know the answer to your question. I am hearing great things about San Antonio. Can't wait to move!!! Good Luck!!!
  5. by   ceska2
    Quote from vaRN
    Will you be headed to Lackland soon? I am starting the CRNA program at Fort Sam (down the street) in June with both airforce and army students. I could ask one of my peers for you. I am a VA nurse and a civilian so I do not know the answer to your question. I am hearing great things about San Antonio. Can't wait to move!!! Good Luck!!!
    Im not sure exactly when I would be going to Lackland...I graduate in August and will probably take my boards in September or October. I dont know if they will send me in November or wait until after the holidays. Good luck with anesthesia school, I bet you are excited.
  6. by   Cherish
    Just a little FYI. I'm guessing your career goal is to become a CRNA. For the military you have to be stationed for 2yrs (stabilized) and work in a Critical Care Unit. It is never promised where you work (i.e. sick call, hospital, telephone triage, etc.). If you go the civilian route first then air force (the way I am doing) it's actually faster. Plus I've heard from military nurses, that soon after you graduate that the more experienced nurse is the one who came into the military with some experience (plus I think you can come in a LT instead of a 2nd LT-butterball). So you might want to weigh your pros and cons, which I did and found that one year of Critical Care in civilian is better then waiting 2 yrs then waiting to see if you get accepted into the CRNA program (remember you must get commander then battalion approval and they only send you if your not in immediate need). Did you know that you can join the military and go right into the CRNA program (you sign for this in your enlistment contract that says that you are doing it this way) if you work just 1 year of civilian critical care? Just a thought before you step your foot on the base (never to late to change your mind trust me I have). I'm prior service (veteran) to so I know how the military works (hurry up and wait mentality) and made sure I investigated the routes of becoming a CRNA. Just a little heads up before you go, cause honestly military does not work around you, you work around the military (and thats EVERY rank)!

    Theres a MILITARY website that discusses this option I'll put the link up for it once I look at it again (I'm doing homework right now lol).
    Last edit by Cherish on Apr 12, '04
  7. by   zman

    I'm in the ICU at Wilford Hall Medical Center (the hospital on Lackland) and would be happy to help you on your trek.

    The advice to gain a year of critical care experience before joining is important as this allows the recruiting folks to bring you in as a 46N3E (46- generic designator for nursing, N-bedside nurse, 3-rough indicator of experience, in this case at least about one year, and E-critical care nurse). Without the 'E' identifier, coming straight in and straight to an ICU slot is difficult (I won't say impossible, but highly improbable). Following this route, you would normally be required to have served 2 years before being selected for school (it's an administrative detail that I can explain further later).

    Each year, usually in June, the AF selects candidates to attend CRNA school either here in SA or at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. The application packet includes the standard transcripts/GPA, GRE scores, and copies of annual Officer Performance Reports. GPA and scores are roughly equivalent to what civilian schools require. Some years there is a long list of alternate selectees, and some years (like last) there is a 'Supplemental Call for Candidates' i.e. 'hey, we didn't get enough applications!'.

    Since I gather that you are already speaking with a Health Professions Recruiter, you might ask him to sponsor a trip to an AF hospital, hopefully here at Lackland, so that you may see first hand what we have to offer. At that time you can also speak with some CRNAs that have gone the AF sponsored route and other folks that are applying to school this year or next.

    If you decide to come straight in without outside critical care experience, your likely assignment will be on a traditional nursing floor, which is the norm in the AF due to our mission: caring for large numbers of casualties during wartime. Nothing sharpens your mass-cal skills like a very busy day on med-surg. If you scoff or giggle, then you haven't shared my experience, and I am speaking from experience on both points. Thus, med-surge experience is important, though not mandatory. If you start on floor you wouldn't expect to move to a unit for about 2 years. During those 2 years you will have the opportunity to accomplish TNCC, ACLS, PALS, etc free (though most likely on your 'off days'.. see my post under Air Force vs Civilian nursing for more info). You will also likely get a chance to travel to a very sunny location for about 3 months.

    If you have more questions, or are able to arrange a trip down, PM me and I'll help you and your recruiter set up a tour.
  8. by   armyrn
    if you are considering army they are wavering a bit with the critical care requirement. last year they decided they would review applications from 66E (armyspeak for perioperative) nurses. tempting, but for now i like my job. a coworker of mine went from PACU to army CRNA school two years ago. the great thing about the military is that if you are smart, a hard worker, and want something, you'll get it. it might take longer, but eventually you will get a shot. good luck!
  9. by   DawnEyes
    Hi there, just wanted to relate what I know as well to the great answers above. I also am in school and interested in CRNA as a career path. I've spoken at length with several of the CRNA's I work with in the OR at Tripler Army MedCen. The two routes I've found most appealing: 1) What was mentioned above -- complete 1 yr of critical care exp. in a civilian hospital and then go into the AF with CRNA school in my contract. 2) (This option would be if I'd rather not stay civilian) Join the AF right out of school, but make sure that I get the ICU course in my contract. Two of the CRNA's I work with took this route. They went straight to their course, and then to their assigned duty station. If the recruiter tries to play hardball and say no to a course...well, the military needs you more than you need them, and don't let them try to tell you otherwise. Stick with what you want! If you don't like what they're saying, you can always revert to plan 1.

    Also, not all of the CRNA's here had ICU/CCU experience. One was an ER nurse for 6 years, one was an OR nurse for 3 years. They've said that while the knowledge of drips/meds etc. would have been a bonus, the most valuable thing you need to have is excellent time management skills. The workload is not easy, and you have to absorb a lot of information.

    Well, hope this helps, I wish you the best of luck!
  10. by   KristyEDrn
    I was so glad to read your post. I have been an ED nurse for 7 yrs and I am looking to sign up for AF and go through the CRNA program. I have worked ICU for 2 months and absolutely hated it! Knowing that there is a possibility to go in w/o doing more is a true blessing and relief! You have really made my day!
  11. by   bissy2u
    I think i need some help in that regard,
    I am trying to get in CRNA school through the airforce and the recruiter told me that once i can get accepted to any school ,the airforce will pay for my tuition plus 2000$ per month ,in return i will be in active duty for 5 five after i graduate .
    I wonder if anyone i doing that?
  12. by   just_cause
    if you are doing it for $... 24x2 is nothing compared to salary differences over a 5 year period.
  13. by   wtbcrna
    Floor nurses with their speciality certification make more than I do as AF CRNA during payback.
  14. by   CRF250Xpert
    Coming in from the civilian world with an AFIT slot guaranteed in a contract might be what your recruiter tells you - but having worked side by side with AD USAF CRNAs for many years - I can count on zero fingers how many coworkers became CRNAs through that method. That'd be none for the math challenged.

    As for the 2 year TOS part - read it carefully - then reread it. Many folks misinterpret the TOS guidance. I'm no expert - just a person that jumped through all of the hoops and landed one of those AFIT jobs. Good luck to all though - no matter the route. Anything is possible if you really want it - that's what really separates us from the civilian world. We don't have to wait for a unit director to die to get promoted and if you bust your butt and become competitive - the USAF will send you to school - just sans books, that expense is on you.