Nursing in the Military...branch comparisons, etc.

  1. I still have a year and a half before graduating with my BSN in nursing and I'm considering joining the military after graduation/passing the NCLEX. I have many reasons I would like to join and even though I've had family members who have served (none being nurses), I do not HAVE to be in one branch versus another. So my main question is what are the big differences between branches as a nurse officer? If you are a nurse officer can you tell me more about your experience? I am very interested in pediatrics...is it harder to get into that? I'm sure you need to work a year or two before entering right? When would I start the application process? Any tips/advice for me? Thank you!
    Last edit by golf3617 on Jun 18
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    About golf3617

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 2
    from NC , US

    2 Comments

  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Moved to the Government/Military forum
  4. by   jfratian
    I have to tell you that the military isn't a very good place to do pediatric nursing, especially inpatient peds. You can't really lock yourself into doing just kids. It's really weird, since so many patients in the deployed setting are local kids. I know the Air Force doesn't even have a pediatric nursing specialty code; I don't think the other branches do either. You can be a pediatric NP, working an outpatient peds clinic or a nurse serving as a glorified office manager for an outpatient peds clinc. All 3 branches have NICU specialties. That's about all there is.

    I'm pretty sure only two bases (San Antonio and Walter Reed) have a PICU or a dedicated inpatient pediatrics floor. Typically, when kids need to be admitted to the hospital, they are generally shipped off base. Or, they are cohorted with adults in multi-service units (which are basically med-surg floors).

    Obviously the uniforms, customs, and the general structure of the branches are different. They day-to-day nursing job for the vast majority of nurses is really pretty similar. Most nurses work in brick and mortar inpatient settings just like anywhere else.

    If you have no knowledge/experience with any of that stuff, than you probably wouldn't care about those differences. A lot of the special jobs that 1/100 or so nurses get to do differ by branch. Ship nursing is all Navy. Flight nursing is nearly all Air Force. The Army has a brigade nurse role that embeds nurses with combat units (i.e. you get parachute training or arctic training or whatever else your unit is doing); they also have the very unique cultural support team role...google it... (which nurses can volunteer for).
    Last edit by jfratian on Jun 19

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