I've been working as a peri-operative RN for the past 2.5 years with the majority of my time spent in Vascular Surgery and General. Since I've graduated school, this is the only experience I have as a RN. I LOVE my job and the people I work with, but joining the military has been on my mind since I was in college. I always envisioned myself joining the Navy; I grew up on Lake Erie, swam competitively for 15 years and just love anything to do with the water. I've been trying to find information as to what the current atmosphere is for OR RN's in the Navy, but am not having any luck through any of their websites...
My mentor is currently an Army Reservist and on a Forward Surgical Team. She recently told me that even the Army is restructuring their FST's and are removing the RN position. She currently is my only insight as to nursing in the Military, and I'm hoping you all can open my eyes a little more.
I'm still not sure whether I will go Active Duty or join as a Reservist, but my mentor has told me that if I'm going for it, I might as well go Active.
If I go active, I want to make sure that I make the right choice, (it is a major life decision) and choose the branch that has the best opportunities for us Peri-operative RN's, and that I get to continue providing care to those who need it, all while in my preferred specialty.
So that brings me to my many questions... Sorry I have so many!
1. Which Branch should I consider; Navy, Air Force or Army?
2. Why should I consider that branch? What opportunities did/does this branch provide for OR Nursing? (Locations, deployments, Unit types)
3. What are the lengths of commitment- Active duty vs Reservist ? (I've seen 3 for AD and 6 for Reserves, is this true?)
4. Do you see a future for OR nurses within the military? (Like I said, my mentor told me they (The Army) were going to be phasing out her position soon)
5. Should I get my CNOR before I sign up, or wait until after I join?
Thank you all ahead of time for your time in reading this and the time you give responding. I greatly appreciate any and all insight as to what the different branches offer and provide for a career in the Operating Room for Nurses!