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Help!!! New grad military spouse

Nurses   (721 Views 25 Comments)

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So my husband is in the army and he just got a list of duty stations that he could choose from to get stationed in next year. From the list is seems like we will most likely be getting stationed in Germany (I forget the name of the base but I think it has like 35,000 soldiers on it). I just recently passed my NCLEX in MD and I’m finishing up my bachelors degree and will graduate in June. My husband will most likely be going to Germany in October of 2020 and it will be for 3 years. I have so many questions when it comes to starting and maintaining my career as a nurse. What are the chances I’m able to get a job as a new grad in Germany? If I decided to follow my husband and wasn’t able to find a RN job for those 3 years what would happen to my license and how would it be trying to start my career when we return to the states? Should I just stay in the states and gain experience while continuing to look for jobs in Germany in hopes of being able to eventually reunite with my husband? I’m just so confused on what I even possibly want to do since I don’t even know my options and I don’t even know who to go to on base to get answers other than this forum so I can make an educated decision. I don’t want to separate from my husband (especially for 3 years!) but it’s starting to feel like that’s my only option if I want to get my career as a nurse started. Any advice would be great!

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by pat New Nurse

pat specializes in retired.

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check with the military hospitals in Germany and with the state you are getting your license from

 

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

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16 minutes ago, pat said:

check with the military hospitals in Germany and with the state you are getting your license from

 

I'm definitely not an expert on the topic, but I think I remember reading a few years back on AN that many overseas military installations no longer staff their own healthcare facilities and instead of subcontract with local hospitals because it's way cheaper (in which case I guess you could look at getting your license endorsed in Germany to work in a local hospital, but getting all of your coursework endorsed is a steep bureaucratic hill to climb, plus you have to speak fluent medical German). Again, please take my feedback with a grain of salt since I'm definitely not an expert...

OP, there was a similar post a few months ago by a nurse in a similar situation at the end of the deployment (moved overseas with her military husband as a new-ish grad, asking for advice about getting into the hospital a few years later when she came back). Not exactly your situation, but perhaps it can be helpful? You could even reach out and send that OP a private message if you have specific questions.

If you haven't done this already, you may find some helpful prior forums by using the search bar to search for "military spouse" or "military deployment overseas."

I sincerely wish you and your spouse the best of luck! Your family's service is greatly appreciated.

Edited by adventure_rn

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Katie82 has 25 years experience and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM.

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Unless it has changed recently, jobs for American nurses are almost non-existent. The German government has a "treaty" with the American military that makes it impossible to get a job as a nurse. My husband is retired Air Force and we purposely avoided a transfer to Germany. I have friends who were RNs while their husbands were stationed in Germany. I believe there is a way around the licensing issue, but cannot remember what it was. Contact your state BON or the Army, they should be able to tell you.

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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There is a huge lineup of people wanting to get a job on base as a US Citizen in Germany. As a new grad with no connections and no experience, your chances are pretty much zero.

You may need to live with your parents or some other living situation while your husband is overseas if you want to work as a nurse.

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llg has 42 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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If things don't work out as you hope ... you might consider a compromise.   You graduate in June.   You get a US job in the summer and keep it for a year or two while your husband goes to Germany.  After you've gotten 12 - 18 months of nursing experience (December 2021?) ... join the husband for the last half of his Germany assignment.

Being separated is difficult, but if you time things well and join each other on vacations, it is do-able.   And that RN experience you get between July 2020 and December 2021 will help you get a job when you return to the states.

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Update **There are other places on his list that are possibilities for us to stay in the states (NY, Alaska, Kansas) that have shorter stays such as just a year. Should we suck it up and go to a duty station we possibly won’t like so I can gain experience and we not separate and then just try for Germany the next go around?

Thank you all for the advice so far! It’s been really helpful!

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

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4 minutes ago, Valley_girl1021 said:

Update **There are other places on his list that are possibilities for us to stay in the states (NY, Alaska, Kansas) that have shorter stays such as just a year. Should we suck it up and go to a duty station we possibly won’t like so I can gain experience and we not separate and then just try for Germany the next go around?

Thank you all for the advice so far! It’s been really helpful!

If you have the opportunity, that's totally what I'd do in your shoes. Yes, in a perfect world you could both go to Germany, but Germany probably isn't going to be a lot of fun for either of you if you're doing an international, multi-year long-distance marriage arrangement.

In addition, if you can hold off on Germany, I personally think the ideal way to do it would be for you to get a few years of experience then have him go once you're eligible to be a travel nurse. That way you could alternate between taking a 3 month contract, spending a few months with him, takeing another 3 month contract, etc. That way you can keep your skills current and still carve out long stretches of time to be together.

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2 minutes ago, adventure_rn said:

If you have the opportunity, that's totally what I'd do in your shoes. Yes, in a perfect world you could both go to Germany, but Germany probably isn't going to be a lot of fun for either of you if you're doing an international, multi-year long-distance marriage arrangement.

In addition, if you can hold off on Germany, I personally think the ideal way to do it would be for you to get a few years of experience then have him go once you're eligible to be a travel nurse. That way you could alternate between taking a 3 month contract, spending a few months with him, takeing another 3 month contract, etc. That way you can keep your skills current and still carve out long stretches of time to be together.

That’s what I think we’ll do. Even though we both have been wanting this duty station for a long time I just do y think it’s the right time. I’m optimistic the opportunity will present itself again. Thanks for the advice! 

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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Yep, that is what you should do. But even once you have experience you will be unlikely to find work in Germany as a nurse. Just kind of something to be aware of as you plan your future. There isn't a demand for civilian nurses. Those are highly coveted jobs and have next to no turnover, with very few positions to begin with.

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18 minutes ago, Nurse SMS said:

Yep, that is what you should do. But even once you have experience you will be unlikely to find work in Germany as a nurse. Just kind of something to be aware of as you plan your future. There isn't a demand for civilian nurses. Those are highly coveted jobs and have next to no turnover, with very few positions to begin with.

At that point I’d hope to get a travel nursing contract so I could work out there 

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Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,000 Posts; 47,492 Profile Views

7 minutes ago, Valley_girl1021 said:

At that point I’d hope to get a travel nursing contract so I could work out there 

There really isn't such a thing for Germany. Now and then you can find it for England I believe, but I have researched both Germany and Italy heavily. Its a unicorn.

What adventure_rn was suggesting is that you take three month travel contracts stateside and stagger those with going to Germany to be with your husband in between.

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