United States Air Force Nursing

  1. Hi,

    I am a new graduate nursing student waiting to take my boards next week. I have strongly considered joining the Air Force Nurse Corps and have begun my application process (processed through Meps) and am medically qualified. Anyways I am still struggling with whether this is the right career choice for me and could use any and all advice on this matter. I feel that I would find nursing most fulfilling if I were caring for those in the armed forces, what I consider our nation's heroes, though this may sound cliche.

    Can anyone tell me what the nurse transition program is like? What happens if you don't pass? What is COT like and again, what happens if you don't pass? What is nursing like in the Air Force? What is military life like and would anyone consider this a great opportunity?

    Additionally what are deployments like and what is it like to leave your loved ones behind?

    I have so many questions and would greatly appreciate any feedback. Thank you for taking the time to read my post .
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    About USAFhopeful

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 75; Likes: 5

    4 Comments

  3. by   adammRN
    I want to bump this thread because I am in the same position and would like to know too!
  4. by   jcgrund
    I am in the same place! I can't believe you posted this yesterday! I just last week started thinking that I want to finish school and go into the AF. A little about me: I was in the Navy, in the intelligence field, for 6 years right out of High School. I left because I didn't like my job and didn't see a way to get out of the field at the time.

    Since I got out, I have followed my husband, who joined the AF when I got out, and had a baby, then started nursing school, then dropped out when my husband became seriously ill, and started again, in an LPN program. So, I am almost finished with my LPN program, I graduate Sept. 9. And I'm going straight on to my ADN, then BSN, as quickly as I can. I'm 29 now, and the age limit for nurses entering the AF is 48. So, even though I still have time, I don't want to wait at all.

    I am fairly certain that this is what I want to do. I have been on AF bases for the past 11 years, either as an enlisted military member or as a dependent, and all I can say is I love it. I love the benefits and security. I love the people. I love the structure. I love feeling like I'm part of something important!

    Like everything else in life, it is what you make of it. It can be great, if you approach it with a positive attitude. Or it can feel like prison, if that's how you look at it.
    It is difficult sometimes. I found it hard when I really wasn't happy in my job and I couldn't just not go to work. I felt trapped then. But I am a different person now, and I understand how wrong I was then. Instead of trying to change my situation, and make the best of things, I just complained. (I was also clinically depressed and didn't realize it!)

    I don't know what we would have done if my husband weren't in the AF when he got sick. He had Cushing's disease, and subsequently had osteoporosis, broken ribs and vertebra, hypertension, and other hormone imbalances, and was flat on his back for 6 months. All through that time, the AF continued to pay him, and all his medical bills. His First Sergeant did everything he could to help us coordinate the medical care and his AF responsibilities. The folks at the legal office even came to our house, to make sure our wills and medical power of attorney documents were done before we went to UAB for my husband's surgery to remove a micro-tumor from his pituitary gland.

    My husband was blessed to recover completely. His tumor was removed, leaving the rest of his pit gland in tact. He had physical rehab for the fractures, and went back to work. He did have a medical review board. Since he had such a great record, and he was fully recovered, he was able to stay in.

    I know much negative has been said about the military, but my experience has been that they have taken care of us. The good has definitely outweighed the bad.

    Oh, and there's a signing bonus! If I had my BSN now, I would be talking to a recruiter right now.

    I don't know much about deployment, since I never deployed. My husband does, but usually not for more than a few weeks. I think military life is fantastic. I think there are so many opportunities that you can't get anywhere else.
    I have been stationed in Denver, CO, and Misawa Japan, with time spent in Pensacola FL, and Texas for training. My husband is stationed in Panama City, FL. We've been here 4 years.

    So now, I'm just working on school, and thinking about the quickest way to a commission!
    Last edit by jcgrund on Jun 26, '09 : Reason: misspelling
  5. by   NursePamela
    If you are looking to go quicker - skip the ADN and go straight for BSN. It will save you money in the LONG run.
  6. by   cupcake75
    Hi everyone. Being a veteran of both the Navy and the Army and now being the wife of an Army soldier, I might be able to give you some information you didn't already have. First, I think that if your heart is telling you that where you want to be when you graduate is serving in the Armed Forces helping our men and women who fight for our freedom, then you should absolutely follow your hearts. Being in the military can be very rewarding and God knows our men and women serving deserve to have people who WANT to be there, helping them. What I know about the Air Force is that of all the branches of the military, they treat their people and families the best, they have better military bases and housing and their deployments are the shortest. Even when their deployments happen to span longer than 6 months at a time, they have better facilities and quarters where they stay. The one thing I should say about military nurses however, and this may not be the case in the Air Force, they tend to be moved through "the ranks" fairly quickly, meaning that there is hardly any time that is spent actually doing patient care, but rather they are moved up the chain of command into what some people call "clipboard nurse" positions, or management positions. If your interest is to do patient care, this may be a potential problem. I hope this helped a little. Good Luck in school and I'm sure you will figure out which path is right for you upon graduation.

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