Army Nurses - DCC/BOLC

  1. Hey all, there are a TON of threads for all things military nursing, however, I feel like most of it is for prospective applicants who are interested in joining. Pixie RN also has several amazing articles on this forum but other than that, not many RECENT articles are about being a military nurse - specifically Army.

    I was selected to commission as an ICU RN (66S) in January. I commissioned in March and received my orders last Friday (April 27). My timeline is as follows:

    June - DCC
    July - September - BOLC
    End of September - Tripler Medical Center in Hawaii

    Super exciting stuff.

    That being said, I was hoping to get advice on being a nurse in the Army. From questions like, should I buy my uniforms now or wait to DCC, to what to expect in both DCC and BOLC, to what I should expect living in Hawaii (if anyone has been stationed there) to what it is like to be a nurse in the Army.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    I was definitely taken by surprise when I was told I will be leaving in June. Definitely a little stressed. This happened much faster than expected but I am very excited to get started.

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Visit Texasbronco1210 profile page

    About Texasbronco1210, BSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '16; Posts: 24; Likes: 9
    from TX , US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in ICU


  3. by   Pixie.RN
    My recruiter took me shopping before BOLC. It was definitely a relief to leave for the Army with all the "stuff" I needed, and I wasn't competing with a ton of newbies for whatever was in stock at Clothing Sales. If you are close to a post with Clothing Sales, I would not wait. Good luck!!
  4. by   broughden
    1. Here is your DCC AMEDD packing list:

    2. They will take you shopping at Clothing and Sales your first week at DCC to prepare you for BOLC. If you have an actual Clothing and Sales or base near you then you can start acquiring some of these items ahead of time. But do NOT just buy random items off Amazon or other online retailers thinking they maybe the same or equivalent to what is approved for sale, as part of the authorized uniform in accordance with AR 670-1 (Army Regulation governing wear and appearance of the uniform).

    3. Website for BOLC:

    4. Keys to successful military career:
    a. Take care of the soldiers and NCO's that work for you. You oversee, supervise and care for them. YOU are their advocate. The harder you work at that role, the harder they will work for you. There are some things you cant protect them from, the Army has its way of doing things, that are often ass backwards and do not make sense. But otherwise you are mama bear for those who work for you.
    b. You will meet some of the smartest people you have ever met in your life and some of the dumbest people you have ever met in your life. Very often the smart ones can end up working for you, and you can end up working for the idiots with two brain cells. Encourage the talented subordinates and keep your lips zipped about the idiots you work for. They might be idiots, but in the Army chain of command is everything.
    c. Volunteer for EVERY school you can get into. Airborne, Air Assault, whatever. If there is a slot and they are looking for bodies to send, volunteer. Period. The right schools can lead to amazing new assignment possibilities (like being assigned to Special Forces or the 82nd if you get airborne school as a RN) and will increase the likelihood of promotion.
    d. Be an active manager in your own career. Dont just bob along from assignment to assignment. Find a mentor. Someone who is smart, not cynical, is senior and knows what they are doing. Someone outside your immediate chain of command is preferable so they can act as an actual mentor. After getting a mentor about a year or so into your first assignment start talking to your branch manager, see what spots are open and available. Advocate for yourself. Dont just wait for whatever comes down the pipe.
    For example most people dont know the Army runs a Special Forces cantonment area at Soto Cano Air Force Base in Honduras. Talk about a CUSH plum assignment. Wake up every morning to banana trees growing outside my front door, and spent the day playing water polo or sand volleyball.
    But if you are going to stay in the Army and make a career out of it, than means playing the career politics game. That means being at the premier medical bases to get noticed (ie Fort Sam Houston or Walter Reed on the medical, or Fort Bragg if going tactical side of the house).

    Have fun and good luck!
  5. by   Texasbronco1210
    Thank you so much for the info both of you. That really helps a lot. I am very excited to start a new chapter in my nursing career with the Army. It sounds like it is going to be an amazing experience.
  6. by   Ftr66T2018
    Hi! I commissioned April 6th as a 66T and am just waiting on my orders now. Did your PCS for Tripler come with your orders or did you get that later? I'm getting conflicting stories on what to expect.
  7. by   Texasbronco1210
    I received an email with unofficial orders. In it, you receive your DCC and BOLC dates and your PCS. Once you confirm your information, your recruiter will receive and give you your official orders.
  8. by   scrubsnsand
    First of all, congrats on your commissioning and the start of your career as an Army nurse! I have a few questions for you if you don't mind answering. I know for sure that I want to go the Army nurse corps route, but I'm wondering the exact path I should take to get there. I was super glad to find your post and see that 1) it was recent, because pretty much everything else i've been finding has been from 2013 haha and 2) you're 66S Active Duty, which is exactly what I hope to be! I was wondering your timeline post graduation from your BSN... if you got any civilian experience before commissioning, took the CCRN exam, etc. I have read other posts that say if you have <6 months experience you'll likely get 66H when you commission, so if you want to specialize you need to work i the area you wish to get prior to submitting your packet. I was wondering if a 3.94 GPA, 2+ years as a ICU CNA & various clinical experiences plus my capstone in a ICU setting would be enough to get me 66S as a new grad? If not, how much time will I need to work before commissioning in order to have the best shot at getting it? Thanks in advance and good luck at DCC in June!!
  9. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from scrubsnsand
    I was wondering if a 3.94 GPA, 2+ years as a ICU CNA & various clinical experiences plus my capstone in a ICU setting would be enough to get me 66S as a new grad? If not, how much time will I need to work before commissioning in order to have the best shot at getting it?
    You would need a couple of years of experience as an ICU RN. You cannot commission as a 66S as a new grad without experience. I commissioned as a 66T (ED/Trauma, when it was called 66HM5, same difference though) and I had to demonstrate very specific skills via a competency assessment as well as meeting a minimum number of hours in ED/Trauma in the previous two years. CNA experience doesn't count.

    Two avenues: get civilian experience and ideally your CCRN, then seek to commission as an experienced nurse, or try to commission as a new grad (rare) and hope that you can go to the critical care course after a few years at your first duty station.