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Military Nurses - Army Nurse Corps Reserve vs. Navy

Hello. I'm a new member to this site but I have read quite a few helpful threads. I am currently a nursing student and will complete my ASN by the end of August of this year. I plan to take a few months off and then start an online BSN program and hope to complete that by early 2014. I am a 31 year old male, with a 3 year old son, and wife. In the past couple years, my heart has really been tugged by the military. I would love for the opportunity to serve my country and help out my family name. I have many friends that joined the military right after high school but I just went to college. My friends never really pressured me to join but I really feel a calling now. I'm considering going into either the Navy Nurse Corps Reserves or the Army Nurse Corps Reserves. With all that being said, does anyone have any opinions or experiences in either branch? Any advice? The pros and cons for either branch? Also, the benefits of joining the military reserves? My wife isn't so keen, at the moment, of the idea and I've been told if I ever get deployed it will be hard for me to leave home but it will be hardest for my family who I leave behind. So everyone needs to be on board. Thank you very much in advance for any help!

ckh23, BSN, RN

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in ER/ICU/STICU.

I think you really need to sit down and a long talk with your wife. Deployments are hard, but they can be harder on the family. It takes a very strong family support system to help make it through and you don't want to have constant distractions while deployed.

The reserves are nice because you can still serve in the military, but enjoy civilian life as well. The reserves can also be a stepping stone if you really like it you can go active duty. Just remember the military is like any other job. If you don't like it you can't just quit. You also may have someone much younger ordering you around and you can't do squat about it.

Well I am glad your are looking at the reserves over active duty. I say that for a few reasons, first you will not become as burnt out and you time spent doing your job with generally involve treating military members. Unless you are assigned outside of a hospital the biggest expense and time spent within the Tricare system is treatment of dependents and not the service members while on active duty. Your average service member will not be visiting the hospital, most units have a unit medic and medical officer that they will see for illness. This usually entails the "take a Motrin and drink some water" response. They will only come visit the hospital if it is something extremely serious or they are in some part of the limited duty or medical discharge process.

With that said, I do believe military service is a great life experience that everyone can benefit from regardless of the crappy parts, and the educational opportunities are superb. Be prepared to be forced to work many more hours then a typical 32/40 hour work week, mandated physical fitness tests and activities, and multiple death by power point meetings. Be prepared to work in less then sanitary conditions and provide medical care while bombs go off in the back ground. Be prepared to provide nursing care while wearing body armor and a helmet. be prepared to provide nursing care in 139 degree weather while wearing said items. Lastly be prepared to have a sore right arm from having to salute every Tom, Dick, and Harry you come across. There was a saying while I was in, "as an enlisted you only salute only half of the population, as an officer you salute everyone."

I hope this does scare you away from the desire to serve, I just wanted to be very blunt about the realities because I see too many people getting caught up in the fantasy of service.

riggy3, MSN, RN

Has 30 years experience. Specializes in Surgical ICU, PACU, Educator.

Serving in the Army Nurse Corp was an excellent experience for me. I am now retired after 20 in the Army Reserve. Training and education opportunities were very good. Would I do it all over again today? Absolutely! I made many life long friends in the military.

Thank you for the very quick replies! They have been very helpful and thank you all for your service in our military!

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