Navy Nurse Questions

  1. I'm sure this question has been asked more than once, so please bear with me. I've been sifting through all the information I can find, but I still don't quite understand...

    I've just started toying with the idea of Navy Nursing. I graduate from a BSN program in December. But have very little knowledge about the military in general, less about the Navy specifically, and even less about Navy Nursing.

    Specifically, I'm wondering about the following:

    1.What are the requirements for being accepted?
    2.What is the minimum length for which you can sign up?
    3.After being accepted, what happens as far as training? (What kind, where do you go, how long etc)
    4.After training, then what? What kind of setting do you start off in, how long will you be there, and do you get any real choice at this point in where you'll be?
    5.What about deployments? How often and how long? Do deployments differ for nurses and if they do, how so?
    6.What other things do I need to know but I don't know enough to know that I need to know them?

    Thank you so much for any insight. I'm planning on speaking with a recruiter soon, but I want to be a little more informed first. You know... wouldn't want to have “sucker” written on my forehead.
    Last edit by belabelisa on Mar 13, '07
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    About belabelisa

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 79; Likes: 6
    Clinical Trials Nurse
    Specialty: Oncology

    142 Comments

  3. by   DanznRN
    Do yourself a favor and do a search on this forum under "Navy" and you will find LOTS of posts on this topic, but I'll give you a brief run down on your questions.

    1.What are the requirements for being accepted?
    Get your BSN, pass the physical, be under 44 years of age (ages over 40 require a waiver I believe), be a US citizen.

    2.What is the minimum length for which you can sign up?
    This changes from time to time, but I think 3 years active and 5 years inactive reserve is the shortest and you get a $25,000 signing bonus right now, I think.

    3.After being accepted, what happens as far as training? (What kind, where do you go, how long etc)
    First stop would be OIS. This is a 5 week crash course on how to be a naval officer. It's great, get up at 0400 for PT work your butt off. learn some basics of the NAvy and get in the best shape of your life....ever!

    4.After training, then what? What kind of setting do you start off in, how long will you be there, and do you get any real choice at this point in where you'll be?
    After OIS, you go to your first duty station, generally a large hospial. You will be presented with a "dream sheet" when you sign up as to where you want to go. Most people end up in Portsmouth, VA, Bethesda, MD or San Diego, CA, that is where the largest naval hospitals are. All except for a few duty stations assignments are for 3 years. The setting you start out in will be determined by the needs of the hospital when you get there, I'm a firm believer in having excperience in the area you want to be in before you get there. Others on here will attest that this doesn't always matter.

    5.What about deployments? How often and how long? Do deployments differ for nurses and if they do, how so?
    Most naval deployments are 6 months to 1 year. How often you get deployed depends on your platform on where you are located some what, but there are no guarantees here. Not sure what you mean by deployments differing for nurses, being away from home is being away from home. If you're looking for specifics, let me know.

    6.What other things do I need to know but I don't know enough to know that I need to know them?
    There are TONS of things, start with what you have above, speak to a Nurse/ Officer recruiter and go from there.

    This should keep the "sucker" factor down, good luck.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  4. by   ASUNursingStudent
    LCDR Dan -

    You seem to be a great source of information, so if you don't mind I have lots of questions!

    What will officer training be like? The recruiters tell the sugared down version but I want to know the real deal. I am not in the best shape but I am not overweight. Is it like the movie version pt?

    When I am in the Navy, what kind of duty/work will be required of me? Is it like a normal job where I pick my own hours (40 hours a week) or is it 7 days a week, 16 hours each day? What other special requirements/responsiblities being an offier will be expected?

    What kind of living environment is it? Will I be given money for living arrangments, base housing? How does that all work? I would like to be at the San Diego hospital but the living costs are much higher than other places, does the money adjust to the living costs of the area or is it one set rate given?

    My main interest is Trama. I am currently a nursing assistant/ed tech and also have experience in med/surg and tele. I am also an EMT so I have a passion for the trama aspect. Will I be able to specialize in this right off or will I have to work up to it? With all my background in Trama is it possible that I have a higher priority to become an ER nurse?

    Thats all I think of now but Im sure I will have more later, Thanks for your time!
  5. by   navynurse06
    I'm not LCDR Dan but I'll answers some of your questions.
    What will officer training be like?
    Have you looked at the website for OIS? It helps give a pretty good outline of what OIS is like now. I graduated a year ago from OIS so I have the most current experiences r/t OIS. Its 5 Wks (but they were thinking of lower it to 4 wks) in Newport, RI training command. From what the prior enlisted that were in my class said it was pretty similiar to thier bootcamp. You will get yelled at; you have a marine DI as part of your training team. You will get up at the butt crack of down to pt and that's pretty much everyday. You will do everything the way you are told to, when you are told to, and how you are told to. Get the picture? It's no longer fork and knife school or a walk in the park.

    When I am in the Navy, what kind of duty/work will be required of me? Is it like a normal job where I pick my own hours (40 hours a week) or is it 7 days a week, 16 hours each day? What other special requirements/responsiblities being an offier will be expected?
    So when you get to your command you will work 12 hrs shifts. I'm on permanent nights now (due to my own request). So I usually work 3 on 3 off or something similiar. There are some wks I will have to work 4 days a wk but those are rare and the days are spaced out to where it doesn't really feel like I've work more days. You don't pick your own hours; there is a scheduling officer for each ward that makes out the schedule. Of course, you can request days off, request leave, etc. Also, most floors do rotating shifts 2 months days 2 months nights. (all this is based on the hospital I work at NMCSD). On my floor after you have been here for 6 months you can request permanent nights, which I did. I hate day shift and gettting up early. You will in a leadership postion b/c you are an officer. So you will team lead, and eventually be trained for charge nurse (i'm still waiting on that one but my floors a little slow on training people for charge esp. on nights).

    What kind of living environment is it? Will I be given money for living arrangments, base housing? How does that all work? I would like to be at the San Diego hospital but the living costs are much higher than other places, does the money adjust to the living costs of the area or is it one set rate given?
    The living environment vaires based on where you are stationed and what type of housing you live in. I'm in San Diego, married and don't live in base housing. I chose to live near the beach so I pay more for my housing (but there are plenty of areas I could've lived in that were cheaper). Your BAH is adjusted to the area you are stationed in. So depending on what you are looking for it could vary well cover all of your housing. Like I said before I'm married and we had certain things we were looking for in a condo so we pay more and BAH doesn't cover it all. My BAH is (i'm O1) $1677, but that's with a dependant. So it will be less if you are single. And it is increased as you make rank.

    My main interest is Trama. I am currently a nursing assistant/ed tech and also have experience in med/surg and tele. I am also an EMT so I have a passion for the trama aspect. Will I be able to specialize in this right off or will I have to work up to it? With all my background in Trama is it possible that I have a higher priority to become an ER nurse?
    I have the same interest as you. I had 2 yrs of ICU experience as a Tech when I came in. But as I have posted several times before. My tech experience wasn't taken into consideration, so I couldn't go to the ER right off (i'm still trying to get there). AT NMCSD the DNS now wants everyone to work on the floors for 1 yr before they can work in the critical care areas. So even though you have the tech experience you aren't going to get higher priority; you will have to work up to the ER. This used to be different; like when LCDR Dan 1st joined nurses could go straight to the ER (he did) but its not like that now.

    Hope I covered everything. Let me know if I missed anything or if there are holes in my answers.
    ENS PM
  6. by   ASUNursingStudent
    WOW you might not be LT Dan but you seem to have the same great information! All of those answers really helped. I appreciate your prespective since you have recently gone through all of this. A little more background on me, I have been thinking about the Navy for a little over a year now and ready to get serious about it since my acceptance letter into the nursing program should come soon. I have lots of questions and the more I hear the more I think its for me but I always seem to think of more questions each day!

    What kind of duties would be expected of me as an officer not just a nurse?

    Since you have experience in the whole NCP thing, do they chose everyone who qualifies for the NCP or is very competitive?

    My dad was in the Navy and that is one reason I started looking into it but he warned me about the sexism that sometimes happens. Im prepared to deal with the "men are better" ego, but what is it really like?


    My family vacations in San Diego usually in August and (from another thread) if you would take some time out of your busy schedule to give me a tour around the hospital, it would really mean a lot to me!

    Thanks again!

    Brenna
  7. by   navynurse06
    No problem....I love helping out new nurses...new prospective navy nurse.
    So keep the questions coming. When I came in I didn't have anyone to ask question. I found this board after joining the navy! So I came in with a lot of unknowns.

    What kind of duties would be expected of me as an officer not just a nurse?
    You will find out that in the Navy you are an Officer 1st and a nurse 2nd. I'm not saying that's my view but its the navy's. Also, you'll have collateral duties. For example, mine are: ward infection control nurse, assistant MWR Representive for ward, and JR Nurse Corp rep. for the ward. Last yr I arranged and provided child care for the corpsman's ball and worked at the air show in mirmar. I hope that gives you some sort of idea what we do beyond nursings duties. Also, you can be a sponsor for new nurses who come to the command.

    Since you have experience in the whole NCP thing, do they chose everyone who qualifies for the NCP or is very competitive?
    I'm not sure about this one. I think that they have a certain number they can accept each year to the program. The paper work just took a really long time; I didn't feel like is was very competitive. It just took really long to process.

    My dad was in the Navy and that is one reason I started looking into it but he warned me about the sexism that sometimes happens. Im prepared to deal with the "men are better" ego, but what is it really like?
    I haven't experienced any sort of sexism in the navy. I don't put up with that crap either. From what I've seen is that sexism isn't so much an issue in the medical community. But I could be wrong; I have only been in for a little while and this is my 1st command. LCDR Dan can give you more view point on this one.

    I would love to show you around the hospital; however, I am being deployed for 100 days on 6 June. So I don't think I will be here when you are. But if I am I would love to show you around.
    Keep the questions coming.
    ENS PM
  8. by   DanznRN
    Well, it appears as though ENS PM has beat me to the punch. I agree with all the info, she realyed. I really don't have much else to add. However, on the sexism thing, you have to take into account when your father was in the Navy. Even if it was a few years ago, LOTS has changed. There is no "men are better" attitude in the Navy. I've worked with some of the toughest people around and they weren't men. I personally think that there is more equality in the Navy, mainly because people of the same rank treat each other (with a rare exception here and there) the same. I saw a ststistic the other day where the Nurse corps is about 50-50 men to women, that changes everyday as people get out and others come in though. this is not something that should be of concern as the Navy doesn't put up with it now anyway.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  9. by   ASUNursingStudent
    Alright You guys are a such a great source of information. Im still trying to convince my mom of the idea (although she doesnt care about my brother going into the airforce but does about me joining the navy).

    navynurse06 if you can go into more depth about the application process for the NCP, that would really help. Like what kind of things I have to do.

    I have been reading on other posts and you guys have talked about the DUINS program. What is it exactly?

    My mom is a little worried about the pay scale. She keeps trying to convince me that civilian nurses make more money (and she uses that arguement for why should I not go into the Navy). I saw the website on the Navy.com but I don't quite understand it. Can you guys elaborate on that?

    What are some of the things that you guys hate about the military? The things I would never know to ask about.

    Thank you guys for spending time answering my questions, one of these days I promise I will run out of questions! I talked to the medical officer recruiter today and have an appointment to start the paperwork for NCP next week.
  10. by   navynurse06
    Well its been like 2yrs since all that stuff for NCP...so I'll tell you the best I can recall. I had to to the backgroud check, write an essay, go to MEPS, and sign a bunch of papers. I think that is about it. The wait seems like forever to see if you got approved from the board.

    LCDR Dan is in DUINS right now so he can give you more details on it. But bascilly it is a program that the navy provides to pay for your master's degree. If you get accepted you will go to school and thats all you do. Your orders are for school; you're still active duty. You still get active duty pay and benefit, but your job at that time is to go to school. There are several different areas of study you can apply to. There is a list of schools that you have to select from for each area. You will apply to your 1st choice (like my 1st choices when I apply is going to be FNP) then as a back up you apply for another area as well (in case you dont get selected for your 1st area.) My 2nd choice is either going to be CNS in ER/Trauma or PNP; I don't know yet. Each year a list comes out of how many people they are accpetting for each area.
    LCDR dan can fill in the holes better and give more details.

    Well depending on where you live some civilian nurses do make more money starting out than what you might make in the navy when you 1st come in. But you have to factor in all the other benefits that come with being in the navy besides the pay. We don't have to pay for healthcare for ourselves or our familys. You get to travel around the world on someone else's dime. All of the leadership opportinities (sp) and the educational opportuinties (sp). Furthermore, I would hope that money/pay wouldn't be the soul reasoning for taking a nursing job. In the end, you shouldn't have to convince anyone but yourself as to if you want to join the navy. Your are an adult and its your choice! I get really angry when I hear of family members trying to talk someone out of joining for petty reasons such as this!

    There's nothing that I really hate about the military. I mean the uniforms aren't that flattering to the female figure, but that's not why I joined. I could really care less about that. I love the Navy and am glad everyday that I joined. I plan on being for life. Of course, there are every day things that are nerve racking but that's the same no matter where you work or what you do.
    No matter where you work there always going to be things you don't like about the job but hopefully the good out weighs the bad. And for me in the navy they do.
    ENS PM
  11. by   DanznRN
    ASU-

    DUINS is by far the best thing I have done, mind you it's a privelege and not everyone gets to do it. There is a pretty lenghty process for application, takes about 6-9 months to get it all done. It's mostly paperwork stuff and you can do it after your first duty station. So you can't come on active duty and go right to DUINS. You do owe the Navy time for them putting you through school, so it's not without its obligations. You owe 2 years for every year they put you through school. I'm in school for 18 months, so my committment is 42 months. Yes, I know that's more than what it is, but that was my deal. I'm a lifer so it doesn't matter to me. Just means I have a job until 2010. The Navy is all about perspective if you ask me. ENS PM hit the nail on the head when she said there is everyday stuff that bothers you in the military, her and I have discussed some of those instances. Nonetheless, you'll have that anywhere you go, the Navy just pays you better in the long run. I've been in 10+ years now, I even go out for 11 months because I thought civilian life would be better, WRONG!! I'm a much better Naval Officer/ Nurse than I am a civilian nurse and the Navy recognizes that too. You can't beat a pay raise every year (January) and an additional raise every 2 years that you're in. Yes, you get deployed and that stinks being away from family and friends, but my perspective is that I do it so that my kids can have the life I had as a kid. Sounds patriotic and all that, but it's the truth. I am in the Navy to ensure that my kids will never have to worry about some of the things other kids have to worry about in other countries. Heck and getting paid to live in Italy for 3 years wasn't a bad deal either. So as you are making your decision you need to know why you are doing it before you sign, not after. Many people sign up and then regret it because they weren't sure why they did it, know before you get in. That way when you have a "bad Navy day," you have something to fall back on to get you through it, works wonders for me. That plus the fact that I can retire in 10 years at the age of 45, not worry about medical bills, and get paid for sitting on my butt in retirement, that'll get you through anything. If have other specific questions, just let me know. Back to school work.

    LCDR(s) Dan
  12. by   ASUNursingStudent
    Sorry for taking so long to back to you guys but I have been really busy. Thanks again for the great information! After doing research and talking to you guys I defintely think that the Navy is in my future. My mom is starting to get use to the idea but its hard for her to imagine her little girl going off to war (possibly).
  13. by   Gennaver
    Quote from DanznRN
    Do yourself a favor and do a search on this forum under "Navy" and you will find LOTS of posts on this topic, but I'll give you a brief run down on your questions.

    1.What are the requirements for being accepted?
    [B]Get your BSN, pass the physical, be under 44 years of age (ages over 40 require a waiver I believe), be a US citizen.

    ...LCDR(s) Dan
    Hello LCDR Dan,

    The Army Nurse on sustainment Pre-NCLEX here...

    Since the Army has told me that I need to request to re-board if I want to push my date to ship back I am holding everything off right now until graduation.

    Meanwhile I have accepted a position in a local L&D department, (where I had my clinicals and I love it there-they have more clinical nurse midwives and family practice physicans than OB). I have also registered and am taking the family nurse practitioner courses alongside with my entry to nursing MS.

    The RN portion completes when I am 41, this June the FNP when I'm 42, next June. If I wait two years from now, at age 43,I w ould have two years in Maternity, (triage and L&D) as an RN. Thing I like about that is that I will not have used my first position as a job hopping launch pad. I do not want that bad karma on me, (my previous techi positions were all job hopping for schedule or location and I do not want to be like that as an RN).

    I am strongly, STRONGLY considering staying put until I have the full two years bedside nursing and then re-applying. Now, I am very glad to see that the Navy may indeed be an option, just under the cut for max age cutoff.

    Thanks,
    Gennaver
    Last edit by Gennaver on Apr 7, '07 : Reason: to add more stuff
  14. by   DanznRN
    Gen-

    Glad to here things are starting to fall into place. One thing though, the rules and regs change all the time, so what applys now may not apply 2 years from now. I personally think that things will stay this way at least until we get out of the Middleeast or downsize. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help, decisions like this are never easy, nor do they go the way you want either.

    LCDR(s) Dan

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