Military nursing?

Specialties Government


Hi everyone!

I am about to finish my BSN in a few weeks and take my NCLEX by mid September.

At this time I am considering all my options and one that I am really considering is military nursing. I don't have a military background but I love the idea of helping those in the military and veterans. I wanted to get some more insight on this.

I previously considered psych nursing, ER and ICU care.

With this I wanted to know from those that have the knowledge about this or are currently in any military branches for more information.

I love the idea of traveling and have no preference as far as where.

What are some things you guys can tell me about military nursing as far as how it works? How often do you get to travel? Do I need experience before I join? What are the differences between the branches? Also any other information, advice you would like to share is appreciated! Thanks (:

Each branch is represented here, so you'll get some good and current information. Broadly speaking, it's going to take at least a year from the time you contact a recruiter to the time you swear your oath, but if you're serious about pursuing the military, this is a GOOD thing. Use this time to get a civilian nursing job in the speciality you want in the military. Also use your first year or two to get a board certification (CEN, CCRN, CNOR).

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

Moved to the Government/Military discussion forum

Specializes in Adult Critical Care.

Military nursing is largely similar to civilian nursing when not deployed. The key difference is that you are on a deployment cycle where you go someplace potentially dangerous and far away (often in the middle east) every few years for 6-9 months at a time. My Air Force deployment cycle as an ICU nurse is 6 months on and 18 months off.

For travel, there are deployments to not fun places on a cycle that everyone does. Then, there are TDYs with more leisure time potentially available; some are for training (often to Texas), others are for medical conferences (I went to Malaysia once for one), and others are for military exercises or humanitarian missions (some people went to Puerto Rico for a few months at a time).

I think the Navy gives you more opportunities to try a little bit of everything (ICU, ER, etc). The AF requires applications and long (often 1 year long), formal courses to change nursing specialties; that would benefit you if you knew you really like one area of nursing and want to stay there.

Each branch differs on special duties. The AF offers the most flight nursing opportunities. The Navy has 2 hospital ships that do medical humanitarian missions. The Army has opportunities to embed in a tactical unit (brigade nurse).

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