Let me try to give this a shot. I have been an Air Force nurse for about 4yrs now.
1. The way they calculate your time towards rank is for the first 6 years as an RN is 1/2 credit and then 1 for 1 after that. It looks like that would put you coming in as Cpt with 3yrs. Basically you will be a Cpt for 6-8yrs before being eligible promote for Major.
2. The base pay table is at http://www.dod.mil/dfas/money/milpay...e2005-rev1.doc
. Currently your base pay should be 3125 a month + BAS + BAH. You should go to www.military.com
for a better explanation of military pay.
3. Benefits are excellent in the military. We get 30 days vacation every year, free medical, free dental for you and low cost dental for your family, chance to go to school full time while on active duty, tdy for ceu's every other year on a competitive basis, the list goes on but those are some of the big ones.
4. For most places that you will work as a Capt you will be a regular staff nurse w/ minimal responsibilities, but still a lot more than your civilian counterparts.
5. LTC is fairly common rank if you're willing to do all the things they want you to do to get it. It will take about 7-8 yrs after becoming a Maj to be eligible to promote to LTC. Col is very competitive in the Air Force right now for nurses.
6. Promotions are based on your yearly performance reports and awards etc. Officers do not test for promotions.
7. Sign on bonus is 15,000 for 4yrs. right now.
8. I would stick w/ the OR nursing. OR nurses are in demand in the Air Force right now. Case Managers are not used as much in the Air Force. All the Case Managers we have where I'm stationed are civilian social workers. There isn't as much call for nurse managers in the military, because everyone we see is covered by insurance and has the same insurance.
9. Don't sweat Commissioned officer training or the PT. Just start working on jogging 1.5 miles and doing pushups/situps. Everything will come together as long as you exercise consistently 3-5x a wk.
10. You will be deployed at some point. Right now most of us in the Air Force are on an 15mo cycle. Which means you have the potential to deploy once every 15 months. The deployments are usually 4 months. Now saying all that I have been in almost 4yrs and yet to be deployed, but some of my friends seem to get popped every 12 months or so for deployment.
11. TDYs and Remotes: Your first TDY is COT. Most of the TDYs for nurses are volunteer and those are usually fairly short 1-2 wks. Remotes for nurses are usually only volunterer including Korea.
12. Tour of duty: You will spend approximately 3yrs at each duty station, and 2 yrs if it is an overseas assignment.
13. Civilian Husbands: I wouldn't know since I'm male, but my wife has seemed to adjust rather well. It mostly depends on how well their job will transfer. Alot of spouses are nurses, teachers or something that is easy to find a job from duty station to duty station.
14. Mostly female dominated.......Not in the military.......We are about 40% male and 60% female. We're taking over......lol. Most of the higher ranking nurses though are female, but that is slowly changing to a more equal mix.
15. Retirement: I don't know your age, but if you want to retire you need to be no older than 41-42 by the time of your first day on active duty otherwise you won't make the mandatory age of 62 for retirement.
As far as day to day stuff as a nurse: Well in general you are treated with more respect, the nurse pt ratios are better than most civilian hospitals, and you have more help d/t medical technicians or surgical techs if you are going to OR. The trade off is the extra military duties and the politics/bureauocracy.
It is always a lot of fun when you are the same rank as the docs or higher rank. It really puts a damper on docs with large egos. You will have different kind of relationship than you'reprobably used to with doctors. The doctors will, especially the younger ones, will treat you as colleagues for the most part. I definetively would recommend the military nursing atleast one time in almost every nurses career. It is not all chocolate and roses, and I definetively have my bad days where I have second thoughts about joining the military.
Quote from bkg98
I have 10 years civilian nursing experience (everything from med-surg, home care, OR, even case management). I am very interested in Air Force nursing mostly because of retirement benefits and advancement opportunities, team work, respectful treatment of peers and management (I would think it's better in the military). I spoke to a recruiter and he said that I would be able to go in as a Capt because of the experience. How is the pay rate? How are the benefits? What does a Capt's rank entail as far as nursing responsibilities? What about promoting to Lt. Col and Col? Is it difficult? Do you have to test each time you want a promotion? Sign on bonus?
I would probably enter in my main specialty, OR nursing (is that in demand in the AF?). I am currently a Case Manager and would rather do that or discharge planning. The recruiter didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
I would appreciate any information...I need the good, the bad and the ugly. I'm just afraid the recruiter might paint a prettier picture just to get me to sign up. I would love to ask him to set me up with an RN so that I can talk to them, but I'm afraid he will set me up with someone who won't be completely honest either.
What is the Commissioned Officer's Training like...what is their PT like? What's the likelihood to get deployed to a combat zone or a danger zone? How long are deployments? What about TDY and "Remotes"? I have two very young children and would hate to be away from them for a very long time.
How is the housing for Capts? What about civilian husbands? Are there many since nursing is more of a female dominant job? How long are the typical tour of duties? What's the liklihood of getting the place that you want to go? What's the liklihood of retiring in 20 years as a Col or above?
Any information will be GREATLY appreciated!!! Thanks!