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Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

Sorry, new to the forums and was not able to find where this should go.

I currently hold an associates in nursing and have worked as RN, mostly in critical care/cath lab for 9 years. I recently became interested in joining the military and am overwhelmed with all of the information that can be absorbed and am lost as to what route I should take. Ultimately I would like to be either ARNP, PA, or CRNA. My ASN grades will make it very difficult to be CRNA, so I have almost resigned myself to ARNP or PA. I work with a PA who said that the way I think would make me a very good PA, that I don't think like a nurse. So that brings us to PA. I have read a ton of information about the IPAP program, have even talked to an AMEDD recruiter about it. But I am confused/torn about which way to go.

Get my BSN, commission, work as a nurse for the 3 year requirement and then apply for IPAP.

Go in as a medic, face the risks involved with that, work for 3 years (possibly try for flight medic after a year) and apply to IPAP.

I am about 1.5 years away from completeing my BSN as a side note.

Military is a terrible way to go right now. All branches especially the Army are very full and cuts are coming from everywhere. It doesn't matter if you or ICU or ED, they just don't need as many bodies.

Maybe in 2008 I would encourage you but not now.

IPAP is no joke and very competitive, if your ADN grads suck I wouldn't even bother applying for IPAP. Most people who get in are either experienced medics or 4.0 studs. PA school is extremely compeititve anywhere you go not just IPAP, do some more research because right now you are waaaaay off the mark.

Edited by Dranger

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Moved to military/government nursingnursing

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

Thanks for that info.

What at about finishing BSN, and using time both to get military experience and to increase GPA and then trying for USAGPAN? I know you recommend against military, but benefits and pay are horrid as a civilian too, and even going in as an E-3 nets me +$257/month after accounting for BAS/BAH compared to icu nurse with 10 years exp.

Thanks for that info.

What at about finishing BSN, and using time both to get military experience and to increase GPA and then trying for USAGPAN? I know you recommend against military, but benefits and pay are horrid as a civilian too, and even going in as an E-3 nets me +$257/month after accounting for BAS/BAH compared to icu nurse with 10 years exp.

I mean where there is a will there is a way but I think you will hate life as an E-3 medic. Working below your skill level and with a majority 18-22 year olds in a authoritarian evvironment is not fun.

If you are dead set, go get your BSN and pump your GPA then try again in a better recruiting climate.

Man where do you work, with a few years exp and night diff I net 70K+ a year without OT....

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

I mean where there is a will there is a way but I think you will hate life as an E-3 medic. Working below your skill level and with a majority 18-22 year olds in a authoritarian evvironment is not fun.

If you are dead set, go get your BSN and pump your GPA then try again in a better recruiting climate.

Man where do you work, with a few years exp and night diff I net 70K+ a year without OT....

I am in Pensacola, Florida, all of last year I did 4 12's per week, evey week, and pulled in around 50k, my hourly rate right now is 26.95, and I am paying ~500/month for health insurance for my family.

I learned of a program this morning from a friend called something like "AMEDD enlisted to commissioned officer program" that pays 9k or less for a BSN, then requires a 3 year svc requirement. Would doing something like this and working on my GPA while workingout my three years and then applying for the GPAN program be an option? Or is the military going to balk at also paying for CRNA if they paid for my BSN as well?

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

I am in Pensacola, Florida, all of last year I did 4 12's per week, evey week, and pulled in around 50k, my hourly rate right now is 26.95, and I am paying ~500/month for health insurance for my family.

I learned of a program this morning from a friend called something like "AMEDD enlisted to commissioned officer program" that pays 9k or less for a BSN, then requires a 3 year svc requirement. Would doing something like this and working on my GPA while workingout my three years and then applying for the GPAN program be an option? Or is the military going to balk at also paying for CRNA if they paid for my BSN as well?

AECP (Army enlisted commissioning program) is also very competitive and requires a high GPA. GPA is serious business to the military. What is your GPA? Maybe it's not as bad as you think. But you have to have some time in the Army as an enlisted soldier before you could even apply for AECP. But the bigger issue: the Army just announced early separation boards for active duty captains from certain year groups. They are actively downsizing now. Your best bet is to get your BSN and see where the recruiting climate is at that time. Right now the Army does not need nurses. They will even potentially be cutting critical care and ER nurses with these upcoming boards.

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

Currently my cuGPA is 2.63 with a science GPA of 2.48. The last couple classes I have taken (being all grown up now) I have received an A, so getting all A's in my BSN would get me a cuGPA OF 3.0, and then like 4 more sciences would get me a science of 3.0. So was planning on using my service and recommendations with my civ RN experience for either USAGPAN or IPAP.

Not sure how it works in Florida, but in California, students who earned a low grade in classes can retake them (with limitations) to raise their GPA, you might want to redo some of the science classes you have low grades in, also all the ADN to BSN transfer programs here require no less than a 3.0 in all science curriculum to apply for consideration, some schools won't even let students with lower than a 3.2 overall GPA apply ( once again not sure how Florida works).

Side note, I noticed most nurses on this forum who are currently applying for commission have at least a 3.5 GPA. Assess your options, if you believe you can handle the changes needed it's not impossible.

I'll throw in just a few things here to keep in mind. For the Air Force, to even apply to be a nurse they require a 3.5 GPA minimum and a Bachelor's degree. They are not taking very many nurses as it is, and we won't know what the future will look like. The Army isn't even taking new nurses, only experienced and not many at that. What I mean by experienced is nurses WITH their bachelor's AND working experience as an RN. I'm honestly not sure if they would count your RN experience with an associates. I assume they would be able to use it as long as you're an RN, not an LPN. In which case your GPA isn't "as" big a deal but it is still a factor they will use to compare you

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

Thanks for the info.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

It sounds to me like money is the only thing driving this change. That's not an ideal reason to join the military, especially when military budgets are strained. Why not move to an area with a higher pay rate for RNs? There are all kinds of websites that compare those sorts of things with cost of living adjustments. If you don't like moving, you're really going to hate life in the military. There are places were new grad RNs make $40+ per hour.

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

I am not against moving. Yes money is the driving force. I also don't know that I could swing the type of debt that is incrued going CRNA as a civillian. Also, all of the other benefits that the military offers are incentives for me. As I said above, even an E3 is a step up in pay per month for me after allowances and health insurance cost reduction. So for that kind of advantage, on top of getting through school with no money debt, and a willingness to be open to retiring from the military...basically I have more reasons to join than not to join.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

I am not against moving. Yes money is the driving force. I also don't know that I could swing the type of debt that is incrued going CRNA as a civillian. Also, all of the other benefits that the military offers are incentives for me. As I said above, even an E3 is a step up in pay per month for me after allowances and health insurance cost reduction. So for that kind of advantage, on top of getting through school with no money debt, and a willingness to be open to retiring from the military...basically I have more reasons to join than not to join.

My husband was an Army medic. I would seriously caution you against going the enlisted route. You will NOT work as a nurse in the Army if you go that way, and there is no guarantee you'd be in a medical MOS (as the Army is FULL of medics). You are not competitive with a 3.0 GPA for any of the programs in the Army that lead to advanced degrees. You might meet the bare minimum for USAGPAN at 3.0, but you are not competitive, and they generally want to see a 3.5 to consider you for commissioning, which you'd be applying for at the same time as USAGPAN.

To be blunt, people who join the military for the money usually end up miserable. Not always the case, but the majority of the time. I don't think you're reading the pay tables correctly, but my husband was an E-4 and didn't make much each month at all. A brand-new E-3 makes $1823/month before taxes. Throw in another $1200 or so (not taxed, location dependent) for housing and $368 (subsistence), and you're looking at an extra $1600/month, split in two between your mid-month and your end-of-month check. So a paycheck would be $900 untaxed plus $911 (that's before taxes) per month. If you do the math, those are not great wages. And that is assuming you come in as an E-3. You need a Bachelors degree to guarantee an E-4, but your 60 hours of college credit to come in as an E-3 must be related to your MOS. You might come in as an E-1 or E-2 if it is determined your credits don't match your MOS.

I can tell you that going into the military as an older person is not an easy thing, and I am not even talking about PT standards (but if you fall below in that area, they will chapter you out with a quickness - nothing is forgiven in today's Army climate). Just be prepared to give up all personal freedom and the ability to do what you want with your work time or time off. Also be prepared to spend weeks away from your family out in the field, and be prepared to deploy to hostile environments.

But the biggest drawback to this plan is that you will have a large gap in your nursing career. Don't assume that you'd be able to moonlight in your time off - you won't really have time off, and those kinds of activities are permitted only at the discretion of your command. So yes, you could enlist and serve three or four years and come out the other side with a GI Bill, but you will also have lost all that time in your nursing career. Big gamble.

I truly don't mean to be a naysayer, I don't - but the many people I know who have joined with money vs. service as the driving force are miserable. If you want to serve, then go for it.

Another idea is to look into employment with the government or the VA. Both have education benefits and pay well. Positions are posted on usajobs.gov and sometimes you can negotiate a relocation benefit.

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

Thank you for that information! Good stuff to think about.

So so even if I get my BSN and apply for commissions and get in, there's a hence I won't work as a nurse? And same for as enlisted: if I score for a 68 series job, I still may not work as something healthcare?

(1200+$368)/2 = 784 + 900 = 1684 each paycheck. I currently bring in about 1100. At least that's the math I used for comparison.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

If you get a BSN and are selected for commission (and again, you would need to bump the GPA up to even be considered), you would work as a nurse. If you are selected for the 68 series, you will be assigned the MOS but your daily job might bear no resemblance to anything medical. Many of the medics that I deployed with spent their time in garrison working in the motor pool.

Don't assume that being an RN makes you an automatic selection for medic, unless you are already an EMT. As an RN, you do not meet the training requirements for 68W (medic). You would still have to attend and pass basic training (ie, boot camp) and the do your advanced training (MOS-specific) after you graduate from basic. Again, MOS availability depends on the needs of the Army, and the Army is actively downsizing now. Have you spoken with a recruiter?

lselvio

Specializes in Cardiac, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

I have, there is a local healthcare recruiter that gave me a few options. He hasn't relayed much of what you guys have said as far as downsizing/not needing nurses. He mentioned the 68 series "healthcare specialist" as a route for going through the IPAP. He also mentioned the AMEDD enlisted commissioning program, as well as USAGPAN. He mentioned it all being competitive but didn't have the "no chance" undertone that I sense here because of my GPA(I don't mean that derogatorily).

I would be extremely cautious with your recruiter because they tend to tell you what you want to hear. However, if he is a healthcare recruiter (NOT a general recruiter) ask what the GPA requirement is to commission as a nurse. Be straightforward and ask for a minimum. If he doesn't give you one, he's either incompetent or is playing you. I don't mean to come off so rude but I applied for the Air Force NTP last year AND again this year. Yes Army/Navy may be "slightly" different but not by much. Last year the GPA requirement was 3.4, and this year it is a 3.5 minimum. I even talked to my recruiter about it a few weeks ago, he said he had to turn away a couple applicants because their GPA was not high enough...