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Introduction - I Want to Join the Military and Nobody Understands


Let's see.

Hi, I'm Cate.

A short introduction. I'm seventeen years old and a sophomore at a small liberal arts college. I'm graduating in May with an AA in Liberal Arts and (hopefully) transferring to UCONN for my BSN. I'll be twenty years old when I graduate. (I dropped out of high school after 10th grade to start college early and received my GED last week). I've also just completed an EMT-B course and am awaiting certification from the state. I currently do weekly ride-alongs with the local ambulance squad, and hopefully, getting credit by working in the Emergency Department. As you can probably see, my interest in nursing is within the emergency department/trauma.

I want to join the military. I've entertained the idea of joining the military (either Army/Navy) for a while but never really considered it because I knew people around me wouldn't support it. However, my mother surprised me and thought it to be a great idea and said I should pursue it (making sure I research it fully before I commit to anything). I want to serve my country.

I've heard that you can't enlist in the Nurse until you are twenty-one. Also, is there any benefit to joining ROTC besides the money?

I have a lot of questions about the military. Some are trivial (do I have to cut my hair, how long do I have to shower) and some or more important. But I didn't post to just ask questions. That is what the recruiter is for right? No, I just wanted to introduce myself here to have a chance to talk to people who would understand. Because right now, all I am getting as a reaction to my interest in joining is laughter.


muffie, RN

Specializes in cardiac med-surg. Has 25 years experience.

good luck with your plans

Having served in the military my advice would be to go into the Airforce. Not sure what the reg is on hair length but as long as you have your BSN you can join. You dont need ROTC if you are going into the medical field. Medical officer are not completely the same as other officers. Don't get me wrong you will still have all the privliges as other officers you just don't have to go through all the BS as other officers that and you get paid more. As for training I believe all you have to do is go through a 6 week officer training course. Nothing like boot camp. I say go for it I would be an Airforce nurse if I could talk my wife into letting me go back in.

May I ask why the airforce? At this point, I am open to any advice and experiences people want to share with me. I am not committed to anything at the moment. I just know I really enjoy the ER.

Gennaver, MSN

Specializes in Ortho, Med surg and L&D. Has 13 years experience.

Hello Cate,

1-you do NOT have to cut your hair! It merely needs to be in regulation...I've read at several women's forums that those who had "longer" hair actually have it easier because all they had to do was put it in a low and tight bun and it was no worries, those with short had to fuss...for what it is worth this silly myth was the *deciding* factor in my passing up a military career in my younger days! YUP, dumb huh? Read-->Women's Military Hair issues Women

2-I've had about a 50/50 reaction of support/attempt to sway me against joining from people. I realize that this is a highly personal choice and not every needs to understand or appreciate my choice, however, if they are friends they will respect my choice as I respect their differing opinion. Once someone mentions against it I respect them. Recently a new associate said, "OH my! No..." I told her that as a Nurse it is a little different, that I am going to serve our military and family.

3-since you are going to your junior and senior year at a University you may be eligible for student status Army /Air Force/ Navy stipends and what not, check into it, especially if your University has an ROTC program.

4-the age, from what I understand you CAN join before age 21.

Good luck,


p.s. edit to add: if your school offers NROTC, (nursing ROTC) I highly suggest meeting with them, you will be better prepared for the Officer Basic Training which is actually more like 10 weeks...let me post some links for you to check out, (this is all Army though because that is my first interest):

Helpdesk Template

Army Nurse Corps

-->read for women's issues/feminine needs and training information, although, Officer basic training is not the same as enlisted basic training I think it will be helpful to read: Military Woman Issues

finally a neat site with video and information for Army Nurses:

Army Nurse Corps

If you are interested to find out about Air Force nursing I suggest a google search of Navy Nurse Trainingship program, what I've heard is that currently the training slots are filled and they will not take any new Nurses until September 2007, (since you are a junior it shouldn't affect you)

Thanks for the links. I am all about research and the internet. Goarmy.com only has so much information. These new website will keep me busy for awhile!


Im new to the forum but i think i can be the most help. I did something along the same lines as you are. i got my EMT then medic and then nursing school and am doing Navy rotc.

Im partial to the navy, but most of the stuff is across the board. Im not exactly sure what the AF guy was talking about but thats not the full picture. Pay... its the same for all branches of the services, now there could be some specialty pay, but nothing that would make u pick a certian branch (i know guys from the army, navy, and AF and they dont get anything more than I do). You can do rotc before 21, the age for enlistment is 18, there was never a 21 year old age limit. Hair, as long as its in regs, which is easy, u can have whatever. so as long as u can put it in a bun or keep it off ur neck, you can have whatever. There are girls at my unit who have long hair and they just tie it up when in uniform.

anyway... let me back up. Im in Navy rotc, im a senior, and will be graduating in may and will be commissioned as an ensign, O1, in the US Navy Nurse Corps. I have done rotc all 4 years and go to a college that has an army, navy/MC, AF units attached to it. You can ask me all the questions about it, but i wouldnt trade the decision to do the program for anything. it has its ups and downs, but in the end its worthwhile, u learn alot and have a good time.

Feel free to email me and I can try to answer ur questions navydavey07@yahoo.com. I would reccommend doing any rotc program, they all have thier good and bad things and differant service missions and goals, so that would be the deciding factor between the 3 and what uniform you want to wear.

If I want to join the Navy but there is only AF/Army ROTC at the college I am transferring, does it behoove me to sign up ROTC, or am I committed to whatever branch it is, even if I don't take any scholarship money?


If you want to do navy, then i would look to see a school with it. But if you have no strong ties to the navy, then go with whatever you want. If you join rotc and dont get a scholarship, they wont pay for ur school or give u a stipend or anything. At a certian point, they will give you some money as a stipend, but no scholarship. At the end of your time there, they will commission you as long as you have meet the reqs. Its very rare to see someone to the rotc program and not get commissioned. its the point of it. But whatever branch of rotc u sign up for, thats the branch you are committeed to atleast for the short run. you could always transfer

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

Air Force still has the nicest looking uniforms for women! :D

*ahem* ... just my :twocents: from an old AF vet medic. ;)

I say go for it. If this is what YOU want, do it. Don't let others decide what is right for YOU. You only live once.

The experience is worth a lot.. both good and bad.

Wish you the best!

Yea the af has nice uniforms if you like the color blue! and Green for the Army, but the navy has many color uniforms!

But do what ever you want to do and what makes you happy, hindsight is 20/20!


Has 26 years experience.

GO AF blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ten year vet here....and had long hair the whole time...

Good luck w/your decision.

athena55, BSN, RN

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns. Has 38 years experience.

Go Green! (smile) I am partial as I am in the Army Nurse Corps. "ARMY STRONG"

Best decision I ever made. Of course, many in my family didn't understand my decision, still don't.....

You seem to be a very motivated, self-directed individual. Keep on the path you are, finish up your schooling. It seems one major decision you need to make is, which service? Either way (Army, Air Force, Navy) I will say thank you, in advance, for your future service.

Stay Safe.



traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

I am a USN vet and want to thank you for wanting to serve. It is indeed an honor, no matter what branch.

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement! It has meant a lot. I had lunch with my mother today and she had told my father about my future plans. He was, surprisingly, very impressed and proud that I was even considering joining. I was not expecting that at all! So it was nice. He isn't very well-informed (like, he didn't think it would be possible for me to join as an officer) but still very encouraging.

I'm awaiting a reply from the ROTC officer at my transfer school to ask more questions and see if ROTC is right for me. If it is, then I would be Army, but I still don't know what branch for sure.

I was curious, does anybody have any information or experience in combat nursing? How does one get "as close as to the fight as possible"? I hate the way that sounds, but as I said before, I am interested in emergency medicine/trauma, and it seems logical (to me at least) that one would find that in areas of combat. I was just curious how a nurse gets there. I apologize if that sounds wrong. I just didn't know how to phrase it. I am not a war-junkie, just interested in serving my country in the best way I can.

Gennaver, MSN

Specializes in Ortho, Med surg and L&D. Has 13 years experience.


I was curious, does anybody have any information or experience in combat nursing? How does one get "as close as to the fight as possible"? I hate the way that sounds, but as I said before, I am interested in emergency medicine/trauma, and it seems logical (to me at least) that one would find that in areas of combat. I was just curious how a nurse gets there. I apologize if that sounds wrong. I just didn't know how to phrase it. I am not a war-junkie, just interested in serving my country in the best way I can.


From what I have read you may be referring to "Combat Station Hospitals" although the Army medical centers and also many of the Army community hospitals also do have ERs.


Hi, Raskolnikov, I'm a nursing major (sort of...) who is very very interested in joining the Navy Nurse Corps! My parents were surprised when I said I wanted to join the Navy and nurse there. They weren't happy with the idea but then they grew to see it's what I want and I intend to persue that goal to the fullest. My mom also thought for a while I wanted to be a Navy nurse because I fell into the romance of Pearl Harbor, which isn't true, although I know I'd like to marry into the military! I really want to help the soldiers who are protecting my country- they're dying for us and I can't help but feel sad when I hear about another soldier dead while I'm living in a very comfortable environment! I'm related to a patriot from the Revolutionary War (from my home state!) and I think if he were here today he'd ask what the heck is going on. So not only do I feel it's my patriotic duty, but also like I inherited the military bloodline with it. I don't just plan on doing medical duties- I even want to start my own relief fund for soldiers (I have the ideas down I would just like some recognition for the idea to be set in motion). It must be a great honor to be a nurse or Hospital Corpsman in the military because sacrificing what someone has in order to serve someone else is not only bold but also makes that person a wonderful role model. For me, someone in the military, especially in the medical field, is a good role model.

If you're interested in both the Navy and Army, you can make military nursing your life by doing one branch first. I'm thinking of Navy then Army, and possibly Air Force after that. It's great you want to join! The soldiers will really appreciate one more nurse. That way, one more soldier might be saved and come home in good shape as possible.

My suggestions to you are to listen very carefully to your ROTC advisor and any other officers you talk to. If you have any family members or friends currently enlisted or officers in the Navy (not necessarily nurses, either), talk to them because you can gain important information. You may hear many different things, but it's important for your understanding.

As for seeing if the ROTC is right for you, if you find that it isn't, I plan to do this (maybe it'll help): first I'm getting my BSN (actually, first my RN then an RN-BSN program). After I get my BSN I'll take the nursing liscence exam. Finally going to the OIS (Officer Indoctrination School--> Navy), and then it's onto the Navy! However, the good side to an ROTC option is you'll get the indepth training you'll need. It won't just be physical training, but other important military aspects such as ethics and labs. I know of one school that has its nursing school "incorperated" with its (N)ROTC program. That way, nurses get their important sciences (anatomy and physiology, chemistry, pathology, etc) in as well as focus on the military part.

Good luck in your quest to join the military nurses!


Well, I'm only 20, and I'm currently enlisted in the US Navy. I'm not a nurse, I'm a Hospital Corpsman. I work directly with the Marine Corps, on providing frontline patient care. I am currently working on becoming a nurse in my off time though. If you have any questions about the medical department of the navy and marine corps, please feel free to PM me.

If I could become a nurse in the Navy I would consider staying in for 20 yrs, easy!

Thank you for your want and desire to serve!


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