Medical waiver in AF

Specialties Government


Hi all-

I can honestly say I've looked through dozens of threads looking for answers and gaining insight about military nursing- primarily for the AF. As for myself, I will be enrolling in a nursing program in 2010 and,have the desire to commission into the AF Nurse Corps upon graduation.

I am aware of the many medical DQs and I have one of them- spinal fusion. However, I read in one post that with medicine, they want you and need you for your brain. Are nurse officers granted more waivers that those enlisting??? Is there a greater chance of getting a medical waiver if I'm applying as a Nurse??

I would hate to be denied a commission due to a medical DQ, and if it's unavoidable I will work as a civilian nurse for the AF. However, I would rather be AD. Any advice/comments are appreciated :)

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

You need to speak with a recrutier to find out what is and what is not waiverable. When I went to MEPS awhile back the doctor did say that the Navy did look at what your job would be for some medical waivers but not all.

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns.

Well, not sure how the AF works, but within the Army you can request a medical waiver....Not sure if you would be granted one, but hey it would be worth the try, no?

I was granted: age waiver, hearing waiver (severe to profound hearing loss) and an ortho waiver (had a bone graft done to my left wrist in 1995) I like to joke that the Army will take anyone with a pulse, ha ha ha.....

Seriously, you will never know until you try. Your Health Care Recruiter would be someone you could ask. If you seem like an especially strong applicant your Recruiter will work her/his tail off to see that your application packet goes up the line.

Good Luck, Keep us posted!



8 Posts

I'm hesitant to go to a Healthcare Recruiter just yet; I have another year before I even begin the process of putting my application together. Besides, I think we all know how informative, rather, hazy recruiters can be. I would prefer to get information from those who have served and experienced the process themselves.

I know it all depends on the doctor whether an applicant will even be granted a waiver; I'm just curious as to whether a lot of weight is put on the medical aspect of applying. From the sound of it, many are granted waivers for minor conditions such as hearing, asthma and the like. Spinal fusion, I'm not so confident. Therefore, if I have no chance whatsoever, I will move on to plan B.

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns.


I understand you have about 12+ months before considering approaching a Health Care Recruiter. But think of it this way: You will have 12+ months in addition to the time since your spinal fusion to prove and show "them" how you can function, move, live without restrictions.....

I initially had a NO GO r/t my hearing loss. But I told the physician that I was (at that time) a civilian EMT-B/Officer of my crew. That I worked 25+ years in an intensive care unit and that I considered my hearing loss a "non-issue". My Health Care Recruiter worked with me, and I had to write a letter explaining how my "hearing loss" was indeed a non-issue and he (my Recruiter) backed me up 100%. My hearing waiver was approved.

What is my point? My point is: you have a goal, a dream. Work towards it. Don't give up on yourself.

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"



8 Posts

Athena- THANK YOU for your encouragement!! I suppose talking to a healthcare recruiter just to show my face and interest this soon in the process will do me good. As my father always told me: " Persistence is the key, and that key will open any door." I like your approach of starting a "record" to show them what I'm capable of and if I keep up with the recruiter all the way to signing on the line, perhaps he/she will work with me.

Question though: Do you think they would even look twice at me if I'm this far away from commitment?

In the meantime, I'm going to beef up my resume as best I can by being an exceptional nursing student and work with the Civil Air Patrol as a Medical Officer for community involvement. I was a PA officer a year ago; I'll put my newfound knowledge to good use :)

Gosh, I'm so inspired- Thank you!

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns.


"Question though: Do you think they would even look twice at me if I'm this far away from commitment?"

What I gather from your post is that you are about one year from finishing up your degree, taking your Nursing Boards. Ya know, I would start the process NOW, the "process" being: your interest in the Air Force. Now you are just gathering up information, you are in the "discovery phase".

I agree with continuing doing what you are doing, or in the vernacular of my youth "Keep on Truckin'" {yeah, I was a teenager in the 70's, ha ha} I don't mean to sound harsh, but do your best in your nursing program and work with the Civil Air Patrol: you can hopefully use your contacts within the CAP and get some letters of reference to submit with your application packet....And as my lawyer friend told me, "Never Volunteer any information". No one needs to know anything about your medical backround....yet.

"It ain't over til a certain Lady sings"

Keep us posted and Welcome to All Nurses Government and Military Forum!



8 Posts

I'm not as far along as you think; I'm a year from STARTING nursing school. I've plans to apply starting the summer of 2010 year... with my former BA, I'll enter the 2 year BSN program and most likely finish 2012. So you see, I have quite a few years before I would ever sign.

You and I think alike :yeah: I had hoped to gain some great references with CAP while serving and showing the recruiter my involvement with the "military" prior to even joining. I'm already familiar with the customs and courtesies (husband is AF and I was in CAP once before).

I'm slightly taken aback by the comment about volunteering information. I've heard to disclose EVERYTHING because later on down the road it will catch up to you. Besides, i don't think I can hide spinal fusion. The scar isn't visible, but it surely is on Xray! But you're saying not to volunteer it up front. What if I'm asked upfront if I have anything that might be disqualifying such as any surgeries??

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns.

"i'm slighly taken aback by the comment about volunteering information. i've heard to disclose everything because later on down the road it will catch up to you. besides, i don't think i can hide spinal fusion.....but you're daying not to volunteer it up front. what if i'm asked upfront if i have anything that might be disqualifying such as any surgeries??"

hello afhopefull:

i never said to hide anything or not fully disclose. i just wrote not to volunteer anything - no one needs to know any of your medical information - yet.

once you have your packet submitted and you do go through meps, you will fill out a dd form 2807-1, which will ask you if you "have ever had or do you now have: recurrent back pain or any back problem.....plate(s), screw(s), rod(s) or pin(s) in any bone....." and then you will be given an oppportunity to explain.

i never told you or hinted that you should hide the truth or be dishonest. that goes against the army values, among them: integrity: do what's right, legally, and morally.

army regulation 40-501 -- standards of medical fitness

---->the causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction (without an [color=#3366cc]approved waiver) are an authenticated history of:

current or history of ankylosing spondylitis or other inflammatory spondylopathies (720) is disqualifying.

current or history of any condition, including, but not limited to the spine or sacroiliac joints, with or without objective signs that:

(1) prevents the individual from successfully following a physically active vocation in civilian life (724) or that is associated with local or referred pain to the extremities, muscular spasm, postural deformities or limitation of motion is disqualifying.

(2) requires external support is disqualifying.

(3) requires limitation of physical activity or frequent treatment is disqualifying.

current deviation or curvature of spine (737) from normal alignment, structure, or function is disqualifying if:

(1) it prevents the individual from following a physically active vocation in civilian life.

(2) it interferes with the proper wearing of a uniform or military equipment.

(3) it is symptomatic.

(4) there is lumbar scoliosis greater than 20 degrees, thoracic scoliosis greater than 30 degrees, or kyphosis and lordosis greater than 55 degrees when measured by the cobb method. d. history of congenital fusion (756.15), involving more than two vertebral bodies is disqualifying. any surgical fusion of spinal vertebrae (p81.0) is disqualifying.

current or history of fractures or dislocation of the vertebrae (805) is disqualifying. a compression fracture, involving less than 25 percent of a single vertebra is not disqualifying if the injury occurred more than 1 year before examination and the applicant is asymptomatic. a history of fractures of the transverse or spinous processes is not disqualifying if the applicant is asymptomatic.

history of juvenile epiphysitis (732.6) with any degree of residual change indicated by x-ray or kyphosis is disqualifying.

current herniated nucleus pulposus (722) or history of surgery to correct this condition is disqualifying.

current or history of spina bifida (741) when symptomatic, if there is more than one vertebra level involved or with dimpling of the overlying skin is disqualifying. history of surgical repair of spina bifida is disqualifying.

the department of defense (dod) sets the
[color=#3366cc]overall medical standards
for people wishing to join the u.s. military. these standards are the same for all the military branches, including the coast guard. (the department of homeland security has agreed to use the same standards to make meps processing easier. the only notable difference is that shell fish allergies is a non-waiverable condition for the coast guard)

+ Add a Comment

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X