Is there a maximum rank one can reach as a military ( air force ) nurse?

Posted
by secondopinion secondopinion (New) New

Specializes in TBA.

The title says it all. I heard from one individual in the armed forces that there is a maximum rank that a nurse in the military can reach. This maximum rank was not disclosed but it was evident that the individual meant something less than 0-10. The rationale was something along the lines of "you reach this maximum rank because any rank higher is for reserved for officers engaged in combat strategy for the military". Of course nurses are nurses and don't plan tactical combat missions so ok. Is this true or is it a myth? I'm looking into the air force but any correct response that applies to another military branch is welcomed as well. Thanks in advance.

luvbug080688

luvbug080688

Specializes in Med/Surg, APU/PACU, Peds, Flight. Has 5 years experience. 201 Posts

I think this would be better placed in the Specialty -> Nursing Specialties -> Government category...but to answer your question I had an interview with the Chief of Nursing at Scott AFB and she had the rank of a Colonel.

SummerGarden

SummerGarden, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 14 years experience. 3,360 Posts

i do not know if the army or the air force does this to nurses (at least i hope not... i am in the process of joining the army). however, i hear that the navy is this way... i think the term is "bottle-neck", where there are too many qualified individuals for a particular rank like major and so many will get passed over for promotion twice and find that their military career is over. i am going to ask that the powers that be move this to the correct forum... ok? :D this way, people who can enlighten us all can start posting.

traumaRUs

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience. 164 Articles; 21,143 Posts

Moved to the military and gov't nursing forum for more responses.

hopeful_army_NP

hopeful_army_NP

Specializes in Advanced Practice, Home Care, Med-Surg,. Has 13 years experience. 253 Posts

Very interesting question! I am going in as CPT with no previous military experince and I hope to make a 20 year career so how far will I be able to go in rank realistically? I hope some responses will come.

wtbcrna, MSN, DNP, CRNA

Specializes in Anesthesia. 5,078 Posts

The highest rank that a nurse can reach in the military is an O-8 or two star general/admiral. This has only been the case in the last few years before that time it was only possible for a nurse to become a one star general/admiral.

Realistically, most nurses that are not prior enlisted and that do 20yrs of active-duty time will probably retire as an O-5 (LTC/CDR).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_Medical_Service

http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=7854

docbkh

docbkh

47 Posts

I was told my one of the nurses that I worked under years ago while I was active in the Navy that USNR (Reserve) nurses who are on active duty are only eligible for a limited rank (O-3 maybe?), while USN nurses are able to progress higher. I don't if it was true or accurate, and if it was, if it's still the case (been 10 years now).

Something to ask about/research I guess.

carolinapooh, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience. 3,577 Posts

And let me tell you, folks, when you go to a military retirement benefits website, and you let it compute your retirement pay at twenty years active service, THE RETIREMENT AT BOTH O4 AND O5 IS SEXY....VERY VERY SEXY....and nothing to sneeze at, considering you're likely to only be in your mid forties to mid fifties when you retire, and completely eligible to work somewhere else!

No one else on this board will get retirement like that without a fat IRA, I can assure you - and with Tricare/Tricare for Life as well. Tricare Prime at retirement is something like $150/month (it'll be more by then, I'm sure) - you can't get insurance like that on the outside for that kind of premium ANYWHERE, I promise. Even if it were $300 a month, it's still a bargain.

I plan to take a realistic look at the eighteen year mark (which for me is only 12 years from now) if I'm not an O5 by then and figure my chances at making O5. If it's realistic, I'll plan for greater than 20 years if I think I'll get a line for O5 by twenty years. If not, I'll retire at 20 years. Either way I make out, but my High Three retirement would obviously be better with three years as an O5. I could do far worse than to retire at O4.

Of course, I'm shooting for full bird...

lifeafter40

lifeafter40

244 Posts

I was told my one of the nurses that I worked under years ago while I was active in the Navy that USNR (Reserve) nurses who are on active duty are only eligible for a limited rank (O-3 maybe?), while USN nurses are able to progress higher. I don't if it was true or accurate, and if it was, if it's still the case (been 10 years now).

Something to ask about/research I guess.

I do not know about the Navy but as a Army Reserve Nurse with an ADN, you are not able to be promoted past Captain (O-3) until you gain your BSN. Perhaps this is what you are in reference to?

docbkh

docbkh

47 Posts

I do not know about the Navy but as a Army Reserve Nurse with an ADN, you are not able to be promoted past Captain (O-3) until you gain your BSN. Perhaps this is what you are in reference to?

Could be... I don't remember anything about ADN, but the O-3 sounds familiar.

Hmmm... *wheels start turning*

This has gone from sounding familiar to sounding inviting. Time to do some research. Anyone know of any branches that will still commission an ADN? The last I read, everyone requires a BSN... even the reserves. I can't say I'm ready to go back to school (just finished... still a GN)!

lifeafter40

lifeafter40

244 Posts

Last I checked, the Army Reserves still commissions ADNs under the conditions stated previously. Although I hear that they only fill a small portion of their allotted RNs with ADNs, and those slots fill up fast... talk to your recruiter for most current info though.

Skeletor

Skeletor

601 Posts

Could be... I don't remember anything about ADN, but the O-3 sounds familiar.

Hmmm... *wheels start turning*

This has gone from sounding familiar to sounding inviting. Time to do some research. Anyone know of any branches that will still commission an ADN? The last I read, everyone requires a BSN... even the reserves. I can't say I'm ready to go back to school (just finished... still a GN)!

The Army Reserves Nurse Corps offers a Direct Commission for those R.N. graduates with their Associate's of Science in Nursing degree.

This is the route I am undertaking at the moment.

If you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them for you.

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