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How will a "General Discharge" from the military affect my chances of employment?

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by NationalGuardNurse NationalGuardNurse (New Member) New Member

524 Visitors; 3 Posts

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To those of you with quick answer to my dilemma, I will ask my question first and provide details afterwards.

My question is:

If I receive a General Discharge (Less-Than-Honorable Discharge) from the National Guard due to not meeting the Height/Weight Requirements (being overweight) and nothing else, how negatively will that discharge hurt my chances of finding employment as an RN once I graduate in one month and pass my NCLEX?

The situation:

I am a member of my state's National Guard, assigned to a unit (which I will not disclose for security reasons), and am also a graduating Senior under my college's BSN program, and will have my BSN by May, and plan to take and pass the NCLEX within one month of my graduation. Unfortunately, due to my poor judgment and planning, I have failed to meet the Army's standards for Height and Weight, by being too overweight, for a period of time that has required punitive action against me, should I fail to meet standards again in the coming week's monthly Drill. At worst, I am facing a General Discharge (one step below Honorable Discharge), and owing a certain amount of money to the government, as my contract dictates. The latter punishment is inconsequential to the question at hand.

My contacts in the military state that under no circumstance do I want this. They behave as if this will render me completely incapable of finding a job, which, obviously, has me terrified.

My contacts in nursing state that they don't think it will hurt my chances very much, if at all, and this has me confused. Granted, these contacts have no say in hiring, and are generally from staff at my practicum and my instructors, so while I value their opinion, I doubt the legitimacy regarding this matter.

BACKGROUND:

  • I am male.
  • I have been in the National Guard for 11 years.
  • My rank is Sergeant, pay-grade E-5.
  • I have served one deployment to Iraq, and received an Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) as a result of my service there.
  • I have no other disciplinary actions against me regarding my military service, and have otherwise had a successful and favorable career in the National Guard.
  • I expect to graduate my College's BSN program in May, with a GPA of 3.0.
  • I have been on the Dean's List 3 times, and I expect to make the Dean's List this semester.
  • As mentioned, I expect to take the NCLEX within a month of graduation and pass it on the first try.

POINTS I FEEL I SHOULD MAKE:

  • Above all else, the most beneficial course of action, which I am currently undertaking, is to meet, maintain, and hopefully surpass the Army's Standard. My question concerns the unfortunate possibility that I do not meet Standards by the end of this week.
  • I am, under no circumstances, questioning the legitimacy of the Army's Standards. My situation is a result of the actions, and inactions, I have taken over the course of the last 12 months, and I take full responsibility for the position I find myself in my military career.
  • Criticisms and derision of my failure to meet the Army standards, though I may deserve them, do not answer my question. Similarly, praise for my service and reassurance of my situation, though they are greatly appreciated, again do not answer my question. The most important thing to me, at this moment, is INFORMATION.
  • I am aware that my situation is HEAVILY dependent upon individual HR staff at hiring policies spread across thousands of hospitals across my state alone. With this in mind, I do not expect to find one answer that will satisfy my curiosity, instead, I wish to take the experiences, information, and advice from nurses and those who are in charge of hiring and training them, and consolidating them to a general understanding of the situation I may find myself in.
  • This question is asked under the assumption that, all things considered, upon a background check of my military history while reviewing my resume, the General Discharge is discovered.
  • If my resume awards an interview, the question also works under the assumption that the interviewer feels it noteworthy to ask why I received a General Discharge, and not an Honorable Discharge.

I realize that this is a lot of information to process, but regardless of your replies, I greatly thank and appreciate any and all information you are able to provide me.

Thank you so much for your time!

Edited by NationalGuardNurse

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Ruas61 has 35 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Nurse.

31,280 Visitors; 1,366 Posts

I don't think it is going to matter in the real world.

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sharpeimom has 20 years experience and works as a inactive.

1 Follower; 39,554 Visitors; 2,452 Posts

Welcome to Allnurses, NationalGuardNurse! I'm so glad you found us. I'm not really able to give you any helpful advice or information, but wanted to share a story with you anyway.

When my dad was discharged from the Army Air Corps after his plane was shot down and he sustained injuries that meant he was classified as being 100% disabled due to a back and neck injury. He had graduated from college the month he enlisted. He was like

Jim Bob Walton. If he couldn't fly, he wanted no part of the war!

After a year in an Army hospital gambling for Oreos, he began to apply to veterinary medicine school. It was only then that he discovered his papers said he was permanently disabled for mental reasons. He followed up and they were corrected to indicate that he was discharged early due to lumbar and cervical spine issues and not a mental problem. Despite everything, he was admitted to vet school. only to be told that he'd wouldn't have the stamina to become large animal vet.

He regrouped and applied to med school instead. He graduated and passed the exams and applied for internships. He was told by VA orthopedists that he was too frail to complete internship and to do it in a year or two. Instead, he went to law school, where he was editor of the law review. He ended up doing the internship and eventually practicing law. That was in the forties, post WWII.

Moral of the story? It will work out.

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PulselessNine has 3 years experience and works as a Army Combat Medic.

4,109 Visitors; 76 Posts

I can tell you with 100% certainty that it matters not.

I too am currently in the guard. I understand the challenge that some face meeting the height weight standards. I also spent 10 years working as a military transition recruiter. I have seen highly qualified people with dishonorable discharges get jobs based upon their integrity in the interview. Your post exudes that integrity and maturity. Maintain a positive attitude there is nothing wrong here. There is nothing dishonorable about your weight. Your discharge is admin under honorable conditions if I'm not mistaken. If you are having issues with clarification. Talk to a JAG to be sure you aren't being mistreated.

Send me a PM I'll send you my contact info and we can talk first hand about how to answer the interview questions.

Edited by PulselessNine

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience and works as a case manager.

4 Followers; 68,682 Visitors; 6,203 Posts

First of all, I want to thank you for your service. You will bring a unique and valuable skill set to nursing.

I feel you are overthinking/compensating for the less than honorable discharge.

In the real world your experiences are unique to nursing.

I wish i could tell you how Human Resources would exactly view your discharge, but I cannot.

Hopefully, they will take you service as what is was. Something very few nurses bring to the table.

Your writing/presentation skills alone are superior.( very valuable in nursing)

Good luck, keep us posted.

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SoldierNurse22 is a BSN and works as a L&D Nurse.

13 Articles; 61,945 Visitors; 2,058 Posts

I'd like to echo what you've been hearing on this forum. Currently in the process of ACAPing, I have also been told that a General Discharge is a far cry from the end of the world and should have little to no impact on your future job search/civilian life.

There are many people in your situation right now (especially on active duty) as the drawdown starts to gear up. People who are out of regs and might have slipped through the cracks not too many years ago are going to be the first ones slotted for involuntary separation, many of those to be classified as general discharges.

It is, in my opinion, quite unfair as the rules were loosened not too long ago to retain troops that were needed for the war effort. Folks got used to a certain amount of loosey goosey in the regs, right or wrong. In the meantime, many of those folks (yourself included, it would seem) contributed greatly to their country and some lost a great deal in the process, only to get booted when the regulations once again served the needs of a rapidly downsizing military. But no one in the DOD asked my opinion on this one, so here we are. :sarcastic:

Thank you for your service and integrity. Do keep us updated!

Edited by SoldierNurse22

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a RN.

1 Follower; 41,793 Visitors; 4,848 Posts

Wouldn't you just put your dates of service on a resume, like the start/end dates of any other employment? And applications generally ask you to put your reason for leaving; in this case it would be failure to meet the weight standards...not for any ethical/legal/moral misconduct.

And thank you for your service! :yes:

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524 Visitors; 3 Posts

sharpeimom- Thank you very much about your father's story, it is definitely an inspiration to hear the dedication he had to himself and his family, despite the efforts of others. While you may not have directly answered my question, it does have a correlation to my issue.

[COLOR=#003366]PulselessNine- Thank you for your kind words, and I am hoping that, should it come to it, that it will be GUH or even HON, but I am prepared to talk to JAG if need be. I have attempted to PM you, but with no avail, will be back shortly.

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1,679 Visitors; 164 Posts

It does matter if not honorable. Why can't you ask for a medical separation from service? Air force and army have been using PT fails for five years to downsize. Some get the less than honorable discharge and some get early separation. If you can, talk to command about the early separation

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PulselessNine has 3 years experience and works as a Army Combat Medic.

4,109 Visitors; 76 Posts

[COLOR=#003366]PulselessNine- Thank you for your kind words, and I am hoping that, should it come to it, that it will be GUH or even HON, but I am prepared to talk to JAG if need be. I have attempted to PM you, but with no avail, will be back shortly.

I'll try to send you a message.

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24,729 Visitors; 1,336 Posts

I have nothing much to add since I am not familiar with the military.I just wanted to wish you success, and echo what others have stated regarding your apparent intelligence (in written communication and organizing your thoughts). This will serve you very well as an R.N., and is a highly desirable trait. My very best to you in sorting out the details of this transition in the meantime.

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24,729 Visitors; 1,336 Posts

And to further add, I do hope that a General Discharge, should it come to that, does not diminish your veteran's benefits.You've served our country, and vets, especially those who have put themselves in harm's way for our nation, deserve the best upon discharge.

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