Nurse Corps Options

  1. Hello. I've recently applied for the Air Force Nurse Corps Critical Care, however, I was not selected this cycle. This was most likely due to a personal incident I had involving an apartment fire I went through and having to relocate and start my life over again I missed the first board cycle and was put into the second cycle. According to my recruiter, I was most likely not selected due to there not being any open critical care slots for the second cycle. Bummer. My recruiter said I had one of the strongest packages he's had. My recruiter suggested to reapply and I'm sure to get impending available critical care slots. I currently work as a trauma ICU nurse in a Level 1 trauma center and have an EMT background. I'm am 10 years prior service enlisted Air Force and am looking to get back in.

    My question is (or rather what I'm seeking is guidance) in addition to reapplying to the Air Force Nurse Corps should I also apply for the Navy Nurse Corps as a second option? Has anyone applied to two services at once? My reasoning is this. When I applied for RN jobs I didn't limit myself to applying to one hospital, but I applied to every hospital within my area to increase my chances of employment. My first choice would obviously be the Air Force (due to my familiarity), but I would consider the Navy as second. I suppose I'm asking this as I'm being conscientious as to the work that goes into it by the recruiter and having to decline one for the other if I'm accepted into both. Thank you.
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    About RnRnurse

    Joined: Aug '15; Posts: 3; Likes: 20

    8 Comments

  3. by   ArmyMedicRN
    Don't automatically disregard Army, they have the largest force and the most posts of any service, so if you're trying to play the odds, you have the greatest chance in the Army. With that being said, Active Duty critical care nurses are not in high demand in all services, with the Army only allocating 1 or 2 spots every cycle, last I heard (could be way wrong). Good luck brother, get that packet in early!
  4. by   RnRnurse
    Hmmm. Curious as to why crit care nurses are not in high demand. Would it be because of a lower critical care patient population so the need isn't as high? I never really thought of that. If that's the case I may expand a wider net and consider the army. Though, being prior enlisted Air Force training alongside the army at an army post, my opinion of the army isn't too great. Perhaps I could get over that. Thanks for your input.
  5. by   jfratian
    From my vantage point, nobody in the AF nurse corps seems in very high demand right now. It seems like some specialties (OR and flight) are somewhat low manned....they say 70% manned or so. The deployment tempo is way down. I stand by my opinion that the slots were never intended to be 100% filled in the first place; commanders seem to accept 80% manned for stateside/CONUS bases.

    The AF definitely has the highest needs for ICU, OR, ER, and flight nurses; Med-Surg, outpatient, NICU, OB, and inpatient psych aren't as needed. I would just say needs for RNs are low across the board, mostly related to funding issues; 80% manned is the new 100%.

    I think you can totally apply for all 3 branches at once and take the best deal; you don't have to sign anything until after you are accepted. It's just a lot of work, because you'll be doing 3 separate applications. I just wouldn't tell your recruiters that you're doing that. They'll write you off if they find out.

    Make sure you have your CCRN before you apply again and get any other certification you can get your hands on. Try to get on your hospital's rapid response, code blue, or trauma response teams. Try to become a charge nurse. Those are all ways to set yourself apart.
    Last edit by jfratian on Feb 23
  6. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from RnRnurse
    Hmmm. Curious as to why crit care nurses are not in high demand. Would it be because of a lower critical care patient population so the need isn't as high? I never really thought of that. If that's the case I may expand a wider net and consider the army. Though, being prior enlisted Air Force training alongside the army at an army post, my opinion of the army isn't too great. Perhaps I could get over that. Thanks for your input.
    There is a world of difference between officer and enlisted, your experience as an officer would be markedly different in the Army than what you might have seen with the enlisted. Good luck!
  7. by   Tzetzes
    If you want to go into the armed forces your options are Army, Navy, Air Force. Remember that the number one thing is service to country. Secondly, your goal should be to get in rather than the kind of nurse you want to be. Your life changes completely when you go in. Your worldview changes. Once you go into a hospital, there are many nurses already working in all areas and waiting to get into specific areas such as PACU, ICU, L&D, etc.

    As a new nurse or very junior officer, your assignment will depend on rank first and experience. Many new nurses in the service like you have no experience as a nurse, so that is your competitive advantage. Nevertheless in terms of rank, you are at the lower rank of the totem pole. You will move up quickly but you are not walking in as an Ensign, 2nd Lieutenant, etc. into a place where you will also be required to show your stuff as a military officer. That's not happening on day one and I sincerely hope your recruiter is leveling with you about this.

    You will have to go to officer indoctrination training first for a few weeks. Then you will be assigned to a hospital that you hopefully selected. Let's say you go to Washington DC. You may be asked to work in step down telemetry or some other unit until a spot becomes available. This is when you start showing your stuff that you brought in from civilian nursing. "Hey, I was an ICU nurse for x years and I can do this with my eyes closed." You would be ahead of many nurses being considered for the spot. Nurses rotate every 3 or 4 years, so once a nurse leaves, you try to get that spot. How do you know and network? Make friends with the ICU nurses. "Hey I'm rotating out in 9 months" boom!!! Talk to your supervisors.

    Your second assignment may be overseas where critical care nurses are needed. See where Army, Navy and Air Force nurses serve overseas and those will be your opportunities. Your background will be critical as you will also have to look out for floor nurses not too familiar in emergency care, etc. and it's the middle of the night. This is when you step up. You will have to be very fluid with your goals. As a senior military nurse you will not be doing staff nursing anymore, you will be advance into administrative clinical roles, etc. Such as being in charge of a unit over many other nurses. As you grow in this environment, you will welcome the challenges.

    So please consider "I want to work in the ICU once accepted, it doesn't work that way. You will learn from your new fellow officer trainees once you get with them. Good Luck.
    Last edit by Tzetzes on Feb 24
  8. by   jfratian
    Your description of military nursing seems Navy-esq...or just really old-school. From the Navy nurses I've talked to, it sounds like everyone can move around from ER to ICU to PACU with local, homegrown, on-the-job training and the blessing of their leadership. The Army and AF don't like homegrown training.

    "Starting in the ICU on day 1" actually is how the Air Force and Army work, assuming you come in with the requisite civilian ICU experience (often 1 year). It's actually listed on your contract.

    As a currently active duty AF nurse, I can tell you that the AF is very protective and rigid about their AFSCs (specialty codes). If you come in with an ICU code, then you will 100% be working in an ICU for your first assignment. Our codes are coveted and difficult to get, and you can't just float down to the ER one day, work with a preceptor for a few weeks and become an ER nurse.

    The AF sends nurses that want to specialize beyond outpatient clinics or med-surg, but don't have any experience, to formal schools. These can be anywhere from 6 weeks long (inpatient psych) to 1 year/ long (ER and ICU).
  9. by   lmurd45482
    Join the US Public Health service. Best kept secret. You retire with full military retirement, use the ranks of the Navy, wear Navy and Coast Guard uniforms. I did 12.5 years in the Navy then transferred to PHS. Just retired with 22.5 years at O-5. Hated the Navy. It was the best choice I made.
  10. by   tanac
    Imurd45482, I just got hip to the US Public Service. Can you share some info on what a nursing career with them looks like? What kind of job did you have?
    Thanks!

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