i am a third year bsn student. i have taken my physical, completed the app packet, and am commissioning soon. i graduate in december so i have some time to ask questions...
can anyone help answer some lingering questions?
1. i have a full sleeve tattoo and others. i passed the physical and was told it is ok with the current army policy. any feedback?
from what i understand yes, as long as it is not visible while in uniform with a long sleeve shirt. i would advise you not to get anymore at this time things are always subject to change at any time. you made it under the standard today, but if you get another tat and the requlation changes before you go active you would be subject to the new standard.
2. my understanding is that with regular pay (which is a little low compared to private), housing allowance, cola, and other incentives... that the army nurse takes home a very nice compensation package. true?
the base pay rate for a new nurse a 2lt is $2655.30 month
house is based on zip code but the basic housing for a o1 is with out dependents. 615.30 month/ tax free and most are larger
food or bas is 223.04
cola depends on location, must do not get it
which is $20.15 an hour if you a 40 hour work week, but if you figure a 25% tax rate with not paying taxes on housing or food your equivalent pay would be $3773/month, $45277/year, or $21.76/hour.
remember you will get a yearly raise and "step raises" along with promotions. promotions increase your wages along with your housing allowance & cola. bas only increases yearly and is the same for all ranks.
remember you will also not have to pay for insurance which can run you a couple of hundred a month depending on where you work and dependent status.
link to dfas pay tables. http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/militarypaytables.html
bah link where you can plug in zip code of the duty location and your pay grade
3. i understand i should get everything in writing... where im going, compensation, incentives, etc. feedback?
yes, if it is not in writing it was not done just like in nursing. compensation would only be your rank and that depends on prior experience as a nurse. defiantly make sure that incentives are in the contract other wise you are out of luck once you join. where you are going might be something that they can or can not
4. should i expect to participate in the new army nurse residency program? has anyone done this or know someone who has?
yes, all new nurse who have less then 1 year experince have to go thru this.
5. i desperately want to be an icu nurse. how long should i expect to wait before i get my critical care course guarantee?
you have to have one year experience in order to attend the class, it can be military or civilian nursing experience. if the coarse is not in your contract there is no guarantee that you will get the class. when you go will depend on when your command can send you. from what i know from talking to other army nurses is that the army tries real hard to make sure you get the class you want. they want to keep you around past your initial adso.
6. my wishlist right now is hawaii, germany, korea. any thoughts? i am not well-travelled and could really use some advice here. i am a surfer/beach bum and prefer to stay near the water.
i would try to do your first assignment stateside because of the learning curve of learning the military along with learn a foreign culture.
7. are army nurses "always" on duty? stories i hear make it seem like there is very little off-time?
yes, you are always on duty. no you will get your time off, most floors work 12 hour shifts so expect to work 15 shifts per month along with other duties which vary by location, floor etc. if you end up working in a clinic its mon-fri. with holidays & weekends off.
8. is the tuition reimbursement incentive a smooth process?
yes, there is tuition reimbursement, have not used it so can not tell you how smooth it is. if you stay in, you can apply to get your masters on the army's dime. your job at that time would be to go to school. where else are you able to go to school, not work and get your full wages.
thanks so much for your help, id really appreciate any feedback!!!