Military Nursing

by Sunshine92 Sunshine92 (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Er and ortho/neuro. Has 8 years experience.

Hi guys I am looking to join the Navy or Air Force as a nurse. I have been a nurse for six years and my speciality is er nursing. My questions are:

What is it like working as nurse in either branch?

What bases do nurses usually get sent to? (It would be ideal to avoid being stationed overseas)

If you are specialized does that limit what bases you can be stationed at?

Is military nursing much different than civilian nursing?

How hard is it to get stationed at a base that you desire?

How are sign on bonuses different for active duty nurses vs reserve. (Not sure if I want to do active duty or reserve)

If you are in the reserve is it easy to volunteer or sign up for deployments?


jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 10 years experience. 1,475 Posts

Air force nursing is somewhat similar to civilian, but there are some key differences. Low patient acuity and a high volume of non patient care activities are a common theme. I've generally heard that's true of all 3 branches.

Generally speaking, military hospitals have a significantly lower acuity than civilian hospitals...former/current military members have fewer comorbidities than the general population. Deployed locations can have a decent acuity...they aren't optional and are overseas (commonly middle east).

ER will limit you to about 12ish bases in the Air Force. Most of them are little more than urgent cares. You have opportunities to do air evac (TCCET or CCATT) or teach or go back to school after a few years at your first bases that are pretty good deals.