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Navy vs. Air Force

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by Ricee Ricee (New Member) New Member

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I am 31, and just passed boards. I am applying for RN to BSN school, and accepted a position at a magnet hospital.

I was in contact at the beginning of my nursing school with a Navy recruiter looking to hopefully join when I was done. During school there have been 3 different recruiters, and the last time I attempted to seek information (where to work to gain experience, if schools look better then others), I have not received a response. It has only been a week, and I'm not sure if they are not interested in me as a candidate, or if I'm still too far out for them to really talk to, but I figured I may want to explore other branches.

Background information: Starting nursing school I had around 70 credits. My GPA was not strong from when I first went to college out of high school. When I finished Nursing school my GPA was not strong, around 2-2.5 (our grading scale was 95-100=A, 87-94=B, 79-86=C, below 79 failing). I read a post stating the military takes into consideration unconventional grading scales (not sure if there is any truth?). My plan to make myself more valuable of a candidate was to work in a critical care unit, as I finished my RN to BSN. It looks like it'll take me 1-2 years since I will be working during this time.

My husband was in the service for almost 10 years (medical discharge on the enlisted side), so I am aware the information you get from recruiters and what actually happens may not match up, so I was hoping to hear from some of you about your experience, what to actually expect? Advice? Specialities? Or if I'm waisting my time since I haven't got a responses and it seems I'm only reaching out to recruiters instead of them reaching out to me.

Thank you in advance for reading my really long post, and any information/advice. I really appreciate your time.

 

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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The AF does correct your grades for a 10 point scale.  You're GPA is still probably around a 3.0 (since your course grades seem to be mid 80s) once corrected for a 10 point scale.  3.5+ is really what you need to be competitive.  

If you're serious about joining, you need to get an ICU nursing job in a major university level 1 trauma center and work there for 2 years.  Get the CCRN too.  I would direct you to ICUs that have won the AACN's beacon award (go to the AACN website to see them).  Beacon is much more prestigious to me than Magnet (which doesn't have anything to do with critical care).

You really have to be proactive with recruiters.  They don't need you and you have to come to them.  Make sure you are contact them through the AF website under the 'contact a recruiter' and 'healthcare student/professional' link.

 

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On 7/4/2019 at 12:23 AM, jfratian said:

The AF does correct your grades for a 10 point scale.  You're GPA is still probably around a 3.0 (since your course grades seem to be mid 80s) once corrected for a 10 point scale.  3.5+ is really what you need to be competitive.  

If you're serious about joining, you need to get an ICU nursing job in a major university level 1 trauma center and work there for 2 years.  Get the CCRN too.  I would direct you to ICUs that have won the AACN's beacon award (go to the AACN website to see them).  Beacon is much more prestigious to me than Magnet (which doesn't have anything to do with critical care).

You really have to be proactive with recruiters.  They don't need you and you have to come to them.  Make sure you are contact them through the AF website under the 'contact a recruiter' and 'healthcare student/professional' link.

 

Thanks for the input. Perhaps I'll switch to our Level 1 network hospital after being there a while. Yes my grades ranged from an 85%-95%. I did have a semester at an 80, which pulled me down by a LOT.

I'm happy to know it isn't me, and it seems everyone has to be proactive.

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anchorRN has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU, Military.

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How long until you get your BSN?  Because it is required for active (or reserve) military nursing.  I joined the Navy's Nurse Corps (Active Duty) when I was 34 and was in for 6 years.  I loved it.  I will say it is very competitive and I was a strong candidate (8 years as an RN and my CCRN prior to applying for a commission).  Its much much more difficult to get into the military as a brand new nurse, and when I applied (2011), they only consider your time as an RN from the time you got your BSN.  For instance, another RN that was going through the process with me had been an RN for 18 years, but as an ADN.  She only recently had gotten her BSN and the time as an ADN RN did not count towards her time-in-grade.  I had only been an RN (BSN) for 8 years and I went in as an O2 (LTJG) and she went in as an O1 (Ensign).  Big pay difference.

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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That's a Navy only thing.  Quite frankly...I think the Navy's policy on this is bad and costs them good applicants.  Both the AF and Army count all of your full-time RN experience towards your starting rank, regardless if you help a diploma or ADN/ASN when you earned it.  

If you will have at least 4 years of full time civilian RN experience when you would start officer basic, I would recommend you only consider the AF or Army.  4 years starts you as an O-2 instead of an O-1.

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anchorRN has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU, Military.

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Interesting!  I assumed it was like that across all branches. And like I said that was the policy in 2011 so it may have changed. But yes, 4 years will get you O2, I had 8 years and I only had to wear O2 six months before I put on O3 and got out an O4 after 6 years. I really do kindof miss it 😞  Just make sure you get everything in writing and  make sure you don’t agree to enlist with a “promise” that you’ll work as an RN. Also make sure you’re going to an officer recruiter (which I’m sure you know)

Edited by anchorRN

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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I think it's still their policy.  I still hear my new direct accessions talk about switching from the Navy because of this issue.

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If deploying to expeditionary environments is what you desire, then as an Army RN you might have a good chance to do so as there aren't many Navy RN's who deploy this way, many end up on ships or at large Naval Hospitals.  If you never want to see the field and simply work in a standard hospital and happen to be in the military then go AF.  Most likely you won't deploy in a traditional sense and if you do go to an expeditionary environment you will do so at the largest bases with the best amenities for the most part.  These are generalizations, but people in the AF generally have a far higher quality of life and you would for the most part be treated as an actual person.  For reference, I was a Navy Corpsman for 5 years and these generalizations are based upon my own experiences.

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anchorRN has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU, Military.

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Not necessarily true, I was a Navy nurse and deployed for 6 months to Kandahar, Afghanistan as an IA (individual augmentee) to the Role 3 NATO hospital there.  When i got out 2 summers ago they were still sending Navy nurses over to that facility (and others).

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As I said, I provided generalizations.  I have seen some high speed AF RN's in Afghanistan myself, and also seen Navy and Army RN's running around as well.  I just happened to see more Army RN's than anything, yet interestingly I saw more Corpsman accompanying them than medics.  I know some doctors, RN's, and other medical professionals from all branches who deploy all over the place, it's just I've seen more Army doing it than others.  I'll bet it's a numbers game as the Army is the largest branch and thus has the largest amount of healthcare providers and personnel. 

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

1,314 Posts; 11,780 Profile Views

I think it is worth noting, given the relative sizes of the nurse corps, a single nurse in the Air Force or Navy is more likely to be deployed than an Army Nurse.  For example, the Army nurse corps (~11,000) is more than double the size of the Navy (~4,000) and AF nurse corps.  Yet, according to one study, only 45.6% of deployed nurses are Army.  The Air Force actually represents 34.1% of deployed nurses despite its size (OJN, 2018).

You can possibly argue conditions...which is subjective...not numbers though.

Open Journal of Nursing, 2018, 8, 93-101

From: http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojn ISSN Online: 2162-5344 ISSN Print: 2162-5336

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