Staying competitive for Navy Nurse Corps recruitment.

  1. Hello, I have been wrestling with the idea of Navy nursing since I graduated last June (2011); I used the following summer months to study and sit for NCLEX. Unknown to me I dropped the ball with the application process because, around here atleast, applications are submitted early fall and spots are awarded shortly after and are quickly exhausted. By the time I inquired about it in late September, I was already too late. I stayed busy in order to build my resume up for the coming year. I have a great medical recruiter helping me and I am gearing up to send my application package out in August/September for the 2013 fiscal year selections.

    About myself:
    -Latino Male (Spanish Speaking), 26 yrs old.
    -BSN. GPA- 3.60
    -8 Month (non-paid, non-permanent) RN Residency in ICU which I am currently doing, Residency ends in August [Just in time for package submission]
    -3 Month Pre-grad Prececeptorship in ICU
    -6 Months working experience in a clinic (I know the military doesn't honor non-traditional hospital experience)
    -Current Volunteer at local Palo Alto VA Hospital and Red Cross
    -Certs: PHN, BLS, ACLS, PALS, TNCC, ENPC, NRP, 12LeadECG (I know the military doesn't blink unless it is a nationally recognized cert like CEN,CCRN; I am scheduled to sit for CEN in time to submit my application hoping it helps my package.)
    -I am athletically built.

    My question is, what ELSE can I do to be picked up by the Navy? I am putting all my eggs in this basket. You see, I was offered 3 jobs. 2 in Texas (Ed, Medsurg) and one in Southern CA (Corrections). The Texas Jobs start early July should I take them and the Corrections Job has no official start date as of yet but I predict late July/early August. The Texas jobs require a 2.5 year contract signing that if broken I must pay 4,000 dollars. Some people have been telling me that the *Safest* thing to do is to abandon my non-paid/non-permanent ICU Residency early and take a Texas acute care job and just pay the 4,000 repayment for breaking contract. Not only is that financially backwards but it is also a shady way to do business; I'd hate to do that to a hospital.

    What other things can I do to make myself more attractive to the Navy Nurse Corps? I want to put all my eggs in this basket but also do it in a safe way. I can't do anything about my low GPA, obviously, and I can't think of other things I can do with what little free time I have other than volunteer at the VA. My recruiter tells me that my package will be strong, and the only thing against me is the year time that I have been out of school; he did however say that my 8-month ICU residency that *I PAID OUT OF POCKET FOR* will overshadow that.

    Any tips for a fellow nurse who wants to serve?
    Last edit by 240zRN on Jun 2, '12
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    About 240zRN

    Joined: Apr '12; Posts: 100; Likes: 66


  3. by   jeckrn
    If you take the Texas job and then get accepted by the Navy you do not resign your position there but take Military Leave. This holds your spot as if you are working there for up to 5 years. By taking military leave you should not have to pay the 4K; look up the soldier/sailor relief act and it should have info about this subject.
  4. by   240zRN
    My plan for the Navy results in longer than a 5 year commitment. I also read the fine print with both the Soldier/Sailor relief act and the military reemployment act and I am not guaranteed a job back due to an inability to give enough notice related to the possibility of not passing probation in time prior to being commissioned. If I give the appropriate amount of notice time, It will only be about 2 months into employment, and I am not sure how the employer would feel about me leaving once the residency program ended (which would be right around October).

    Ugh. Such a sticky situation.
  5. by   jeckrn
    that is not what i took from it when i went on military leave. probation can be extended once you come back from military leave, but can not be used againist you. if you are applying to the board for fy13 it might be 6-8 months from now before you leave for ods. i looked up the regs that apply to you and they are listed below. if you see under 1002.41 reemployment rights are extended to service members who are on probation when they leave. as far as advance notice the dod encourges 30 days notice if possible. if you are going on military leave you are not breaking your contract with the hospital. also, because of the downsizing of the military or other circumstances going on military leave covers you incase you are not able or wanting to do more then your initial tour.

    38 u.s.c. 4311(a) a person who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform[color=#ffff00], or has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed service shall not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of that membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation. (b) an employer may not discriminate in employment against or take any adverse employment action against any person because such person (1) has taken an action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter,
    (2) has testified or otherwise made a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter,
    (3) has assisted or otherwise participated in an investigation under this chapter, or
    (4) has exercised a right provided for in this chapter. the prohibition in this subsection shall apply with respect to a person regardless of whether that person has performed service in the uniformed services.

    (c) an employer shall be considered to have engaged in actions prohibited— (1) under subsection (a), if the person’s membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services is a motivating factor in the employer’s action, unless the employer can prove that the action would have been taken in the absence of such membership, application for membership, service, application for service, or obligation for service; or
    (2) under subsection (b), if the person’s (a) action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter,
    (b) testimony or making of a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter,
    (c) assistance or other participation in an investigation under this chapter, or
    (d) exercise of a right provided for in this chapter, is a motivating factor in the employer’s action, unless the employer can prove that the action would have been taken in the absence of such person’s enforcement action, testimony, statement, assistance, participation, or exercise of a right.

    (d) the prohibitions in subsections (a) and (b) shall apply to any position of employment, including a position that is described in section 4312 (d)(1)(c) of this title.

    1002.41 userra rights are not diminished because an employee holds a temporary, part-time, probationary, or seasonal employment position. however, an employer is not required to reemploy an employee if the employment he or she left to serve in the uniformed services was for a brief, nonrecurrent period and there is no reasonable expectation that the employment would have continued indefinitely or for a significant period. the employer bears the burden of proving this affirmative defense.
    1002.85 (d) although userra does not specify how far in advance notice must be given to the employer, an employee should provide notice as far in advance as is reasonable under the circumstances
  6. by   240zRN
    Thank you for highlighting that for me. It makes better sense to me now. With that said, do you recommend that being the best route to go?

    Any other advice on how to strengthen my package as an applicant to the NNC?
  7. by   jeckrn
    That is a tough call with the length of time the process takes and not wanting to short change an employer. Working for a paycheck vs volunteering will look better in your package. Ask your recruiter when he thinks the earliest that you would be able to report to ODS if you are picked up for the Navy. If you start in July, the board meets in October, orders written 1-2 months after (by what other posters have stated), then 30-60 days before start of ODS it looks like you would be at the Texas hospital until Feb-March time frame.
  8. by   240zRN
    my package will be submitted in early august according to my recruiter. So the amount of time working for a paycheck in texas that will show on my package is one month.

    i should also emphasize that my ICU residency is not just volunteering. I am taking full patient assignments, working 3 12-hour shifts a week. The only difference is that I am not getting paid.

    jeckrn, you seem to be a wealth of knowledge regarding the procedure. Based on your experience and what you know, what could I do, besides the job situation, to increase my chances of succeeding in being selected?
  9. by   jeckrn
    Do sometime of volunteering in the community, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Fire Dept. Etc. The one month on the package wont make much of a difference.
  10. by   CynRN11
    I have only been a Navy Nurse for a short period of time, but I can offer my observations. Ultimately, especially if you come in as a junior officer (01-03), they are looking for nurses who can be strong leaders. Junior officers work in conjunction with the senior enlisted (Chiefs and Senior Chiefs) as the middle layer between the enlisted and the upper chain of command. This was one of the main things they tried to impress upon us at ODS. First and foremost, your job is taking care of the sailors that you will be leading eventually as a division leader. The hospital setting obviously is a little different than other places in the fleet, but you will be working with corpsmen and taking care of sailors and their families. Even if you come in with limited or no experience, you are already licensed and the Navy can train you and expand your clinical skills for whatever their needs are. But leaders are much more difficult to cultivate and train. I in no way want to diminish any civilian experience nurses may bring into the Navy, but I believe they consider many different elements, other than clinical skill, when looking at packages.

    Obviously it is difficult to say what the boards are looking at when reviewing packages, but I would review what activities I am involved with and see what would make me stand out as a leader, someone who shows initiative and can be trusted with the responsibility of caring for sailors. And someone who does not make excuses for anything that happens to them or anything that happens on their watch.

    Just my opinion, for what it may be worth.

  11. by   utamaverick
    Hello CynRN11,

    I will be entering the Navy as a Ensign and a new graduate nurse. I'm guessing you had entered the Navy with prior experience.

    As a junior officer, what is the scope of leadership for a new GN working with the senior enlisted? From what I have heard, the senior enlisted are highly experienced and operate on a much higher level than their civilian equivalents.

    How is delegation different when working with the Corpsman?

    Thank you for your time and any advice.
  12. by   CynRN11

    I actually am not prior enlisted. I also was a (relatively) new grad and came in as an Ensign. I am probably a little older than the average new nurse coming in, so this is my second career. I have extensive experience in management and had owned my own business before going back to to school for nursing, so I seemed to relate very well to the ideas the Navy lays out, in theory anyway, of how junior officers and senor enlisted work together.

    You will hear a lot of how the senior enlisted are the backbone of the Navy. They are the people who have worked their way up through the ranks and have usually a minimum of 10 or so years before they can be eligible to sit for the test to become a Chief, or E7 and 16 years for Senior Chief. They have a tremendous amount of knowledge in the area they are trained in and have taken on the additional responsibilities of leading the enlisted ranks under them. So they do function on a much higher level than a civilian counterpart in that respect, but as with anything, you can have good Chiefs and not so good Chiefs who are just wanting for their 20 years. Again, working in a hospital is quite different than working out in the fleet. There are probably prior enlisted on this site that can give more input as to how a successful working relationship is built between the Divo (division officer) and the Chief or Senior Chief. I can tell you, though, that as an officer you are always watched, not just by your chain of command, but also by the enlisted. I had a Seaman Recruit just yesterday comment on the fact that he was impressed seeing an officer who kept her boots shined to come in for a work day, not just for inspections. You are the standard that the enlisted see, and believe me, there are Chiefs who love to catch new Ensigns not squared away!

    So as a junior officer, you have several things you are working on. Once you get to your duty station, refining your clinical skills now becomes a priority. That is the basis for how you can steer your career as a nurse in the Navy. As you are placed in a section within the hospital, you will work a lot with corpsmen, and many times also medics from the Army, as the integration of the military gears up. Delegation works the same as civilian hospitals. They have a scope of practice they can work within, and it can range from some of them who work more administratively to corpsmen who function almost at a PA level. Your level of responsibility is what you make it, but always be aware you don't want to be that nurse who cant say no and ends up getting nothing done because they take on too much in their eagerness to make a good impression.

    These are just my observations and how I am choosing to have a working relationship with a wide range of people. I take my commitment to the Navy very seriously, from making sure my uniform and hair are squared away before I leave in the morning, to being within regs for weight and the passing the physical fitness tests. If the sailors and marines under me have to, there is no excuse for me not to. The scope of leadership you take on is dependent on your maturity level and what you feel you can realistically accomplish while getting your clinical experience, as well as what your chain of command sees in you. Again, I am sure there are those with more naval experience than myself who could give real and practical advice on leadership roles.