Navy Nurse Candidate Program Too Little Too Late?

Specialties Government


Specializes in CCU, MICU.

Hi everyone,

I've never posted anything before but am in a bit of a predicament and was wondering if anyone would have any advice. I'll keep it as short as I can. A little background for context: I'm in my last year of nursing school (graduate May 2019) and I have a previous bachelor's degree. So, I'm extremely burnt out on school but the end is in sight.

I talked with a recruiter about the Navy Nurse Candidate Program (NCP) and apparently I'm applying too late in accordance to my grad date (May 2019) and the FY. BUT I was told that I can still apply for the NCP if and only if I push my grad date back to December 2019. It sucks to push my grad date back a whole 7 months but I really want to do this so it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. However, after speaking with my advisor I was told that if I push my grad date back in order to apply for the program then I would NOT be able to change it back even if I don't get in the NCP. Also, in order to push my grad date back a whole semester, I have to take 4 more classes to maintain full-time status and they'll be classes completely unrelated to my degree just classes to fill hours.

The recruiter also said that I can apply for the Navy Nurse Corps after graduating but I'll have to gain at least one year of experience and most likely in an area such as ER or ICU.

So my questions are:

(1) How difficult is it to get into the Navy NCP?

[i have a 3.85 nursing GPA and a 3.67 overall GPA including my last degree. I've worked EMS for 3 years and have up to date PALS and ACLS. I also have good references, never been arrested, good credit etc. I really don't know exactly what they look for.]

(2) Would it be more difficult to try to gain 1 year of RN experience in an area like ER/ICU and then apply to the Navy as a nurse that way?

[i thought it's pretty difficult for new grads to get into those areas.]

(3) Ultimately, what would you do?

[being burnt out and risking taking 4 more classes and being in school for 7 more months in order to commission immediately upon graduation, January 2020. Or take the safe route and just graduate in May 2019 and trying to get a position in ER/ICU for a year and then applying that way, which would most likely mean possibly commissioning at a much much later date]

Thanks in advance for any and all advice! I'm actually extremely introverted and never ask anyone for advice but in this situation I'd love to hear if anyone has any experience with this or what you would do if faced with something like this.

Specializes in Adult Critical Care.

You should graduate as soon as you can and start getting experience. You have a decent likelyhood of getting accepted, but you should hedge your beds too. Graduating late means you lose out on 6 months of RN wages (could be $30K or more), so I wouldn't do that even if you could guarantee acceptance.

It's easier to get accepted with experience, and you can pick your specialty: once you attain a year of full time RN experience in a specialty area (ICU, ER, etc), you can start in that area.

The hardest part of getting in will be the medical exam. You pretty much can't be taking any meds or have any ongoing medical issue without applying for a waiver.

Specializes in CCU, MICU.

You're right, I'm probably much better off getting RN pay and full-time experience during all that time I would be "waiting". And in the area I live in, at least currently, getting a full-time position as an RN isn't difficult due to the demand and extremely limited supply of new-grad nurses willing to stay in the area. Thank you, it took that little push in the right direction but now I'm ready to finish ASAP and apply for the Nurse Corps as soon as I'm able to after gaining experience.

Just an aside, when I talked to the recruiter about applying as a practicing RN to the Nurse Corps he said to start the applying at the 6 months mark after getting a full-time position since the application process takes so long. But if they require at least 1 year experience would that even make sense on the application? I guess by the time it actually gets in front of the board I would've gained 6 more months experience but has anyone else had experience with this? I mean applying that early?

Specializes in Adult Critical Care.

Recruiters tend to fudge the numbers on experience a bit; it winds up helping you. Most will credit you with the experience that you would have when you start officer basic training.

I applied the first time starting at the 6 month mark after graduation, and I wouldn't have starting training until at least 6 months after that. I ended up getting in the second time (1 year mark), and made it to training 6 months after that (with 18 months of experience).

Since you're going to ask, I had a 3.67 GPA with nursing as my first degree; the Air Force corrected that to ~3.75 (I was on a 7 point scale and they corrected to a 10 point scale).

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