Quote from Capsaicin`
Pixie, your deployment thread was eye-opening! Thank you so much for posting that.
I am thinking of joining. Strong military tradition in my family. I sought service with healthcare, as an EMT then ICU RN, and am thinking more and more of military nursing. I am currently a travel RN, and really enjoy it, so Reserves may be the best fit for me. Did you transition to Reserves from AD?
No, I was a direct commission into the active duty component. When I left active duty, I considered Reserves, but the closest unit that needed a nurse was about 5.5 hours from me and I had too much going on. In light of a subsequent pregnancy and then pregnancy-related heart failure, I am glad I opted to not join a Reserve unit. I still get emails from recruiters, and I politely reply that they wouldn't want me with my current cardiac issues.
I commissioned as an ED/Trauma nurse, and my daily life usually consisted of working 12-hour shifts in the ED. As military officers we also had other "collateral duties," extra assignments that we had to complete. I was a SANE nurse and helped to fill the call schedule, that was probably my biggest collateral duty. But I also had to ensure that I met Army height/weight requirements, did PT (we did not have to do it with our unit, as officers we were expected to PT on our own, and I did!), and maintain military qualifications with weapons. But the day-to-day was not a lot different from any ER.
One thing I will say: unless you are assigned to a larger hospital, patient acuity is typically lower in the Army than the civilian world. When I came home from Afghanistan, I picked up a PRN position at a local trauma center just to make sure I kept my trauma skills up. Our ED saw a high volume per day, but a lot of those visits were really because patients either couldn't or didn't make appointments with their assigned primary care providers in the family medicine or peds clinics. Our ICU ended up being converted to a step-down because we did not have the acuity for a true ICU.
I have zero regrets where the Army is concerned. Great experience, with excellent benefits on the flip side too. I am taking full advantage of my GI Bill, as is my husband who is a med student. I also get VA care as a combat/disabled veteran, which has been pretty good so far.