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Need some advice

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by Usafrn2015 Usafrn2015 (New) New

Hello everyone,

I'm new here and I come seeking input on a problem.

I have no prior military experience and 7 years of civilian nursing.

I signed my commissioning contract last week and said my oath. I commissioned as a captain, which is what I'd been told all along. Today, my recruiter called and stated that was an error. He wants me to sign all new paperwork with the new rank of O-2, which takes my pay and BAH down significantly. He told me I can advance to captain in a year, but I'm guarded to believe anything he tells me now. It's not so much that the rank changes, but I don't appreciate the deception. This is an error I feel should have been caught long before now.

So my question is what occurs if I respectfully decline to demote myself due to error on their part? Also, in reviewing the papers on a closer level, they all say "reserves", even though I have been speaking with an AD health recruiter. Does that change once I complete COT or is that another "error"?

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

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

I don't think you have a choice about the rank. I believe it is 48 months to captain, so you would need 8 years of civilian nursing experience for that rank. I experienced something similar - signed everything as a 1LT, but orders were 2LT. I was promoted after about 4 months of active duty.

I have no idea about the Reserves thing. Hopefully your recruiter can answer that for you soon!

Hi Pixie,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I actually had a typo in my original question in that I have 8 years of experience. Not 7. So I don't understand how I don't qualify for captain at this time, much less why it would take another 12 months to become one.

You said the same thing happened to you...how can you sign on for one rank and they just change it? Isn't that a breach from what you signed and agreed to? What happens if I don't sign these new terms?

I don't feel comfortable asking my recruiter anything at this point since it's clear he's been dishonest with me (maybe out of ignorance and not malicious but regardless of intent - I've not been given accurate info). I'd rather him tell me "I don't know" than to invent an answer.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

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

Part of being a leader in the military includes holding others accountable for their actions. Whether or not you want to, you need to straighten this out with your recruiter. If he doesn't answer to your satisfaction, speak with his superior.

What was your exact NCLEX day/year? Did you ever in those years work less than full time or have a gap in employment?

Part of being a leader in the military includes holding others accountable for their actions. Whether or not you want to, you need to straighten this out with your recruiter. If he doesn't answer to your satisfaction, speak with his superior.

What was your exact NCLEX day/year? Did you ever in those years work less than full time or have a gap in employment?

Pixie, you make a great point in stating that I need to hold him accountable. I have left a message and e-mail for him and am awaiting response, but I'm also very guarded to believe anything that he tells me at this point.

I obtained a BSN in May 2007, took and passed NCLEX in June 2007, and began work as RN that same month. I've always worked full time and never had any gaps in employment.

So he just responded to my e-mail questioning the calculations. He said that last fiscal year, I would have been appointed captain but the AF policy has changed since then. They now cap off at 3 years no matter how much experience you actually have...you only get credit for 3. He said he argued it with his manager and lost because it's a matter of policy. I just find it terribly shady that this all comes to fruition a week AFTER I sign all my documents.

To answer your question about your paperwork stating reserve, you are considered a reservist until your EAD date which is the first day of COT.

Thanks dreaming, I figured the reason revolved around the training date somehow but wanted to ask and be sure.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

You need to ask for a copy of the policy in writing before you sign anything if you think that you've been wronged. However, 7 years should equate to 1st Lt with 1.5 years of time in grade. In other words, they do give you a 'fractional' grade (1LT +). That means you'll promote to Captain 6 months after commissioning.

COT slots are limited and they do determine when you transition from inactive ready reserve (where you get no money) to active duty (when you do get paid).

Thanks jf,

I'm definitely going to ask for a copy of the policy.

My initial post had a typo. I've been an RN for 8 years but he told me it would take another year for me to promote to captain. So I'm basically repeating senior year even though I've got all the credits to graduate now.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

Is it 8 years plus 1 day from the day you started your first job (not the day you graduated)? Was all of it full time? Those are some questions that would change your rank.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN

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

Already asked and answered:

I obtained a BSN in May 2007, took and passed NCLEX in June 2007, and began work as RN that same month. I've always worked full time and never had any gaps in employment.

They cap you off at 3 years now so it doesn't matter how long you've actually been a nurse once you reach a certain point.

I requested a copy of the policy but he has still neglected to send it to me. I also asked him how it's been in effect for so long and his only response was an apology for not knowing about it when he should have.

My options now are to accept the position and wait 12 mos for the promotion or walk away.

I'm disgusted that all this is happening at the 12th hour and find the policy insulting.

It does seem unfair, and the recruiter should have known and informed you of it. I had a similar issue arise just yesterday. I was just selected for the NTP program, but apparently the NTP selects no longer get a sign on bonus. We can get loan repayment, but I have no loans so I'm not getting anything extra. My recruiter informed me of this yesterday after I asked about my LOA having loan repayment on it but no mention of a sign on bonus...that's something he should have informed me of as soon as he found out. Granted, I'm still just thankful for being selected so I personally do not care about the money. But it's still a shock to expect a bonus and then be told, as I'm signing my LOA, sorry no bonuses...

Edited by Camo-angel
misstype

Hey camo,

my sign on bonus that i was told about also became ineligible but I had been warned not to rely on that because recruiters are usually FOS when they mention those (I was actually warned that recruiters are just FOS period). So I wasn't too disappointed about it since my monthly income would be what was indicated as an o-3. Of course that has decreased now too. I don't have loans either.

What aggravates me is the policy and how ridiculous it is. How can you clump seasoned nurses that may have 10+ years in with someone who may only have 5 or 6 and think that's totally acceptable?

Congrats on your selection. I'm still deciding if I'm going to move forward with it.

Thanks, and you have every right to be frustrated with this process. I think it's odd to cap experience at 3 years credit, when as you said there are people with 10 years and more! One theory is they don't want to bring in nurses who are automatically higher rank, because that rank means something in the military that they want us to figure out and learn before just being given the rank. Even though a nurse with 10+ years experience will likely be very competent at their job, the leadership portion and other officer qualities may not necessarily be there, since civilian nurses mainly stick to nursing. Military nurses eventually move away from the bedside to fill more administrative and supervisory roles. Just a theory of course, what do I know!!

Hey camo,

I totally understand what you mean about respecting a rank before it's awarded and building leadership qualities. With that said, they're going to diminish the average experience of nurses that they hire since more seasoned nurses may not find this offer as appealing. I'm not at all dogging newer nurses, but it just seems silly to group everyone into one tidy category. If they want to start everyone off as an O-2, then they need to change the timeline for advancement. I haven't read the policy (I'm going to nag him again today to send it to me), but I wonder what they do for those that have advanced education. I'd be really angry if I had say 10 years as a BSN nurse, completed an advanced degree, and then had a few years of advanced practice under my belt. At least I only have a few years that won't be counted and not several.

Also, I feel the interview process is so lengthy and the questions so specific, that we have the chance to provide examples of ways we've demonstrated leadership. The skills may not be developed to the point where they want them to be, but we still have to show the capability.

If I had known about this prior to swearing in and signing my paperwork, I probably wouldn't be as frustrated. I'd still think the policy was nonsense, but I wouldn't feel as deceived by my recruiter. I understand he claims it was incompetence and unintentional, but it's still annoying.

This wasn't the only option for me, so I'm going to take the weekend to evaluate whether it's still the shiniest option. I'm going out of town so maybe a little distance and a lot of booze will help me have a fresh and more appreciative perspective on the situation.

Do you know yet when you leave for COT and where you'll be going after that? Where in TN are you from -- is that too personal or a violation of T&C?

NiteQwill

Specializes in Emergency Room.

Being an officer means being a leader. A freshly minted O-3 is not any more "SEASONED" than a O-2 with 4 years under their belt. Remember, you are a military officer FIRST and a nurse SECOND. And to think that your nursing experience somehow puts you above the military experience of those who have been in longer will lead you to a very broad eye opener when joining the ranks. Remember, a salute is an acknowledgement of a higher rank, not respect for one.

Back to the topic at hand: Get the policy in writing, don't sign anything unless you're happy with it.