Navy Nursing???

Nurses General Nursing


Hello. I'm a new grad, have been working in the hospital for 6 months, and have kind of been thinking about joining the Navy for the pension and the travel and the bennies (30 days paid vaca/yr!), and b/c civilian nsg is so discouraging. I was wondering if anyone out there has any insight into being a nurse in the Navy. I also want to be a CRNA and they have a program for that. Does anyone know about pay or any specifics like that? Thank you in advance for any informative replies.

Specializes in NICU, Informatics.

I can't help you with Navy nursing, but I can help you with military nursing since I am Active Duty Air Force.

Anyways, there are definite advantages to military nursing, money for school, traveling, 30 days a year of vacation, decent pay, etc. But it's not all glamor. The biggest thing that civilians don't realize is the military owns you when you are active duty. For instance I'm not suppose to go more than 200 miles from base on my days off in case of a recall, meaning if a disaster strikes, we go to war, etc I have only so long to be at base in my uniform any time of the day. We are in a shortage also, you might get 30 days of leave a year, but you very well might be able to use it if you are short staffed.

Also, because of budget cuts (Thanks MR Clinton) themilitary has done away with most inpatient facilities. YOu migh be lucky like I was and wind up in one, but often you will work in a clinic doing telephone triage.

Now that I've battered the military let me tell you why I did it.

I'm proud to put on the uniform. You get such respect when someone sees you in it, it makes up for the response of "Oh you're a nurse" like I need pity or have the plague. I get respect from the docs for the most part. Because as a BSN you are an officer, the docs are officers, there is a certain amount of respect there that I have never found in the civilian world. The docs really do use your skills. It's how it's suppose to be.

And as for CRNA school, the AF also offers a program. Do realize any schooling you go to full time you will have to pay back to the military.

From what I can gather from other nurses, the Air Force treats its nurses better. The Army is suppose to be horrible. I don't know about any of that, but I would really research all of your options before you decide. Talk to other military nurses. It's a committment you can't easily leave. Once you sign up for 4 years it's very difficult to get out. That might not seem like much until your family wants to move, you want to move, you don't want to do this kind of nursing, etc.

Weigh all of your options. I might sound pessimistic, but no one explained this stuff to me before. I wish they had, the transition would have been easier.

Any questions, feel free to email me

Hi e-nurse, I can help you!

I'm actually a freshman in college trying to earn my BSN before I enter the Navy. I have many reasons for wanting to become a Navy nurse and I think it makes a great opportunity to see the world and more. I have done extensive research on Navy nursing. After September 11th and having dated three guys from the Army, I knew the military was the place I wanted to be, especially in a hospital setting.

What I have learned from Navy nurse officers is this: getting your BSN FIRST is the smartest thing to do. That way you avoid a lot of hassle. Plus apparently a nurse with a college or university degree gets paid more as an officer than someone who goes through the NROTC first. Either way, that person will be an officer once he or she enters the Navy.

As far as housing, there are major hospitals across the US which are Navy bases. The major bases are in: Portsmouth, VA; Bethesda, MD; and San Diego, CA. As a Navy nurse officer you will be able to live in the US. The best Naval hospital I have heard is in Bethesda. It's a very large hospital.

Also, I truely believe there is more to the money and travel. Navy nurses are there to tend to the men and women of the Marines and Navy, people who are risking their lives for the safety of the United States. Just as nurses work in regular hospitals receive the satisfaction of helping patients, Navy nurses will feel the satisfatition of helping the service personnel. Either way, we're all here on this forum for the passion for nursing, so nursing possibilities are endless! Check out the web on search engines. The best places to answer more of your questions are the Navy's website, especially to the nurses themselves, NOT recruits. I'm not sure if I can post websites up here, but if I am, please tell me so I can give you quicker assistants trying to find the answers. Also, check out the rest of this website. There's a section on military nursing and the Navy is under there! Good luck!

Specializes in ER/Tele, Med-Surg, Faculty, Urgent Care.

Well I was a civilian RN for 10 years before I joined the Navy. It was a good experience for me even though it was during the Gulf War. The experience I gained was 10 fold what I had as a civilian. Having being deployed brought out strengths I did not know I possessed. In order to be selected to get your Master's degree (CRNA or any advance practice role), Well it is extremely competitive. It is highly unusual to be selected after one 3 or 4 year tour. I was stationed at Bethesda & the people that were delected for DUINS (duty under instruction, which is where your job is to go to school for Masters/Doctorate degree), the people selected were Lt Commanders or above, people who had been in 10-12 years. There was one person that was a LT but she was into her second 4 year term. & yes you will have to pay back the time & it may be you owe the Navy 2 years for every one year they paid for your school. I was commisioned for 3 years, what was not made clear was the 4 years that the Navy still could call me back after I completed my 3 years Active Duty. I was called a "3 by 4". Ok but I got my GI Bill which was over $12,000 dollars & I did not use it all up getting my Masters/FNP degree so that was a good thing. yes the military "owns" you, they can dictate where you live, they dictate who you can socialize with & you may not have too much to say about where you get stationed though they make you think that you can "request" it may not happen. At Bethesda, we worked 12 hour shifts, sometimes 4 12's in one week, we were rotated from nights to days every 3-4 weeks, (just when you were getting used to sleeping during the day it was time to go work during the day-we all had messed up biorhythyms). Being deployed is a major stressor. My recruiter forgot to tell me that the Navy has 2 hospital ships (each is 1000 pt beds) & that the Comfort was based out of Bethesda so along came Desert Shield/Storm & off we went. Also-At Bethesda they assign you where ever they want, It did not matter if you were a L&D nurse, if they needed you on Tele or Neuro that's where you went. They also did not want to put junior officers in the ICU's even if they were already CCRN's.

Not too many Veteran's Benefits either for me except being able to buy a home without downpayment but I don't qualify for VA medical care unless I become penniless/homeless/indigent.

I had a good time at Bethesda. The Nations capitol, many of the best universities, medical schools etc, wonderful sight seeing, Beautiful area.

The perks of the Navy can be good. Also, being a new grad (with BSN), the Navy has a sign on bonus of $15,000. When I came on active duty, it was $5,000, with a commitment of 4 years (without bonus it is 3 yrs). The CRNA program is good, and you get annual incentive bonuses if you have this certification. It is, as the previous poster stated, very competitive. I worked ICU, and I was the only nurse NOT trying to get into the CRNA program. At that time, the Navy wouldn't even consider candidates who didn't have an ICU background. So, nurses had to get into an ICU, and that is not always easy as the Navy will put you where they need you first. I never was put in my first choice upon arriving at a new duty station (I did ten years active duty), but usually after a year or two, was able to request and be transferred to the area I was interested in. (I once did psych for a year, sent to L&D for a year, then back to pscyh for a year...the Navy made sure I was a well-rounded nurse :) ) Despite all the hardships, it has it's shares of excitements. There are alot of trainings outside of the hospital, which is a nice break. There is alot of respect and admiration for anyone serving their country these days. And I met alot of great people who worked in all areas of the Navy. The only reason I got out was it was too difficult being a single parent, and being available at a moment's notice to go anywhere. If I didn't have family to worry about, I would still be in.

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