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SoldierMurse BSN

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  1. It depends on the specialty you plan on pursuing in the nurse corps. I know in the Army they have recently increased the retention bonus for both ICU nurses and CRNA's. At the same time from what I am hearing from leadership and briefings, there are talks of eliminating nurse specialties that are not needed or useful in a deployed setting. L&D and Family nurse practitioners are both specialties that I have heard that may be completely converted to civilian positions garrison, as they are not utilized downrange. If you want to be an ICU nurse I don't see it being an issue, NICU though is not a specialty that would be relevant in a deployed setting and not useful for the military. I am in the Army so I can't comment on the other services plans, but with DHA taking over I am sure they are similar. I do think direct commissioning as a Med/Surge nurse will become very competitive, even more so than it is now. If you have critical care experience and are able to direct commission as a Critical care nurse, I think it would be much easier.
  2. SoldierMurse

    New grad in the military

    It might have changed since I first commisioned but you were guaranteed to go to one of four specialties courses(OB, Critical Care, OR, Public health) in the Army within your first four years of commisioning. The ER course is not gaurenteed though for some reason but I never met anyone that was not able to get into the ER course if thats what they wanted. I was able to attend the ICU course after I spent two years as a Med/Surge Nurse right out of school. From what I have seen at the MEDCENs new Med/Surge nurses will be able to attend a specialty course of thier choosing within 2-3 years of working the floor.
  3. SoldierMurse

    USAGPAN 2019

    There were likely just less applicants. They generally have 40 slots each year between military and civilian/reservists. Funding can change this but I know it has been 40 for the last three years. I applied two years ago for the program. When the results are released each year they contain all Army nurse Corps officers selected for all programs including Anesthesia. Since I am a critical care nurse I usually check the results each year to see which of my previous coworkers were selected for Anesthesia and Critical Care CNS. The results last summer there were approximately 6-8 active duty selected for Anesthesia to attend next summer. This potentially leaves 32 or so slots for civilian/reservists. I know on the active duty side besides meeting the minimum requirements (GRE, ICU time, prerequisite classes), the biggest gatekeeper to getting into the program is receiving the Phase II director's recommendation. Not sure if its the same for civilian applicants. Good luck in your application.
  4. SoldierMurse

    USAGPAN 2019

    There were only I believe 8 active duty selected for the program to start next year, compared to 19 from the previous year. That leaves a lot more civilian/reservist spots available. Good luck to all that are applying.
  5. SoldierMurse

    ActiveDuty RNs, tell us about your week.

    I was also prior service medic and LVN, and I can confirm it is much better on the officer side. You are for the most part treated as a professional and I see that the enlisted within the hospital have to put up with much more BS than the officers do. In my career I've only had one really bad supervisor that made me dread having to come into work. Luckily I only had a 6 month overlap with them before I PCS'd. For the most part nursing leadership is very supportive of your goals and aspirations and will work to support them as long as they can allow it with the overall mission of the hospital and unit. As prior enlisted you should have a pretty good idea what you may be getting yourself into with the loss of control over location, job and total hours of work. Definitely don't do this for the money because as you said when you break it down hourly, its about the same as the civilian side. For me I truly enjoy being in the military and the population we serve. Also I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get paid to go to school for three years. Good luck on whichever path you choose.
  6. SoldierMurse

    ActiveDuty RNs, tell us about your week.

    Honestly there is not that much difference from being a civilian RN to a military RN for the first few years. I've been active duty Army RN for 9 years now. Worked Med/Surge, ED, PACU and ICU but am a ICU nurse per my AOC. Also have done some non shift work, Hospital education coordinator, bed coordinator, and LVN instructor. Currently I am a student while on Active duty working towards my DNP. (One of the biggest benefits to being in the Army/Military) 1.) When assigned as a staff nurse I worked between 80-84 hours scheduled 12 hour shifts in a two week period. (80 Hour work weeks would include one 8 hour shift). I would rotate every 4 months of days to two months of nights. I would be on call typically one shift in a two week period getting called in probably 4-6 times a year. There is no overtime in the military so while they try to give you that day back it is not a guarantee. 2.) Until recently you would give your wish-list to your branch manager which typically consisted of your top three big Medical Centers and top Force Command positions (Combat Support hospitals). Out of thee assignments I have gotten my second choice once, the other two assignments were at locations I did not ask for. Now though, there is a marketplace where you apply for assignments and are somewhat determined by your skill sets so I am told. It's new and it wasn't in place for my last move so I am not sure how well it works. As for deployments you do not have really much say if you deploy. If you are assigned to a combat support hospital or Forward Surgical team that is deploying then you will deploy. (Unless you have extenuating circumstances.) If you are working at a military hospital and you are not assigned to a Combat support Hospital you can still be pulled through the PROFIS system to be deployed with a deploying medical unit. You often have a few months at least notice that this is happening but it is not a guarantee. My last deployment I had just over 3 weeks notice that I was deploying. 3.) Additionally duties are going to vary while assigned as a staff nurse and are similar to additional duties that are often seen in a civilian side. In the military though you can not refuse additional duties and you may be assigned two or three depending on your OIC (boss). Sometimes you are given admin days to complete these but often you are doing these duties on your days off. I for one many times would come in 1 - 3 times a week for several hours on my days off to complete additional duties. As well as attend mandatory training that I could not attend while working the floor. Bottom line while civilian and military shift work is similar you definitely have less control when it comes to where you are going to work and how much you are going to work in the military. You also have to be willing and ready to deploy with little notice and be gone for 6-12 months, or even longer. On the flip-side I feel you have more opportunity for leadership positions, unique positions that are specific to military nursing, better educational opportunities, pay is on par or better then most civilian areas, and fulfillment of serving your county and providing care to active duty service members, their family and veterans.
  7. SoldierMurse

    Army Reserve Initial Obligation & Incentives

    Yes, my entire loan was paid off at once directly to the loan holder. Again this was in 2006 but I believe it's still the same. Yes I'm still in. I went on active duty in 2008 after I graduated.
  8. SoldierMurse

    Army Reserve Initial Obligation & Incentives

    When I used it as enlisted back in 2006, they would only pay off certain qualified student loans and they paid the money directly to the loan. You did not get a lump sum yourself to pay off the loan. I was in the reserves at the time and had a $10,000 loan repayment. I only had $3,000 in student loans at that time, so I was advised by my command to apply for an additional student loan amount of $7000 to equal $10,000 before I applied for the student loan repayment program. I believe it is a one time use and it is UP to the amount, does not mean you will receive additional money if your student loans are less then what your loan repayment bonus is worth. This again was back in 2006 so it may be different now.
  9. SoldierMurse

    USUHS online biochemistry class options

    I am not an USUHS alumni but I am a current USAGPAN student and applied to both USUHS and USAGPAN. I took the University of New England Online Medical Biochemistry class. There is no lab required and it is what was recommended to me by the local Chief CRNA responsible for writing my recommendation. It mentions that it requires a semester of organic chemistry as a prerequisite but it didn't ask me to supply any proof that I had taken o chem previously. I would stay away from Berkeley's class. A peer of mine took it and he said it was very difficult and most of the exams were short essay. UNE"s was medical biochemistry so you did not have to learn any of the plant pathways as well, the class was very doable and has helped prepare me for some of the didactic classes I have taken now that I am in school. Only issue possibly is you have to take two proctored exams using a webcam through their service. Not sure how good your internet service will be downrange, but I know when I was downrange it was somewhat variable and would be shutdown from time to time. Good luck in your application and stay safe downrange.
  10. SoldierMurse

    USAGPAN 2017

    I can answers some of your questions. I am not in USAGPAN currently but am looking to start in 2018 and have been on active duty as an officer for 7 years. What is the typical sequence of events after acceptance into USAGPAN during the July/August/Sept Board Selection process? Particularly the sequence and timeline of actual Commissioning and signing of contract and the timeline/flexibility of BOLC attendance. I can't answer this as I entered into active duty as a new Med/Surge Nurse and am not familiar with this process. You will need to start and finish BOLC prior to starting USAGPAN though. If I come to San Antonio and have to leave my wife in my hometown because she is in the middle of nursing program, will I still receive "With Dependent" pay? Is it possible to claim "Family Separation" pay during this time or is that typically just Deployment type pay or short-term PCS type pay? You would receive dependent pay with BAH based out of Fort Sam Houston. During Phase II you would receive BAH at the dependent rate for the location of your phase II site. You can not claim Family separation as the military provided you with the opportunity to move your family and you declined. Family separation is only available when the government does not allow you to bring your family with your. ( Short assignments, certain oversees assignments, or deployments) Upon arrival for USAGPAN & BOLC will I have to live on base or do I have the choice of living off base and receiving BAH? You would live off base recieving BAH. You would find a place to live prior to starting BOLC. I am assuming that I will be scheduled for BOLC from March-April-May so that I can immediately start as an SRNA in June/July. Is that a safe assumption? From friends that are in the course, you would attend the BOLC class I believe Feb/Mar time period to start the course in May I am looking at small rentals on the SouthEast side of Fort Sam, so that I could potentially ride my bike to SAMMC/BAMC or at least I would have a very short drive to lecture/work/clinical. Is this area of town a desirable location? My standards aren't high. I have spent 4 years in San Antonio and am fairly familiar with the area. Locations right around around Fort Sam Houston are questionably safe and I would feel very uncomfortable riding my bike to Fort Sam, especially in the morning when it will likely still be dark. Alamo Heights is within biking distance to Fort Sam, but it is very expensive and you would be likely utilizing your entire BAH and possible more to live there. Your best bet would be to venture a little farther out from Fort Sam, but biking would be difficult. What is the typical spiel about re-enlistment after your Service Obligation is over? Is it pretty common to see bonus offers or other type of incentives? If it isn't out of line to ask, what would the average incentive range be? It may have gone up but I believe the current retention bonus for CRNA's once their initial service obligation is over is $50,000/yr for a 4 year commitment, $35,000/yr for 3 year commitment, $25,000/yr for 2 year commitment, and $20,000 for a one year commitment. These are all incentives that are currently avaialbe and there is no guarantee that these will still be available when you are eligible to re-enlist or that they will be the same amounts. I saw something that said First time Officers could potentially be given a one-time $600 Uniform allowance? Is this a common occurrence? You will receive a one time uniform allowance as on officer when you enter active duty. I can't remember how much I received but $600 sounds about right. Unfortunately this is no where enough to cover all uniform expenses, especially when you have to buy your Dress uniform. I've also heard that if you are having trouble selling your home during your transition into the military or maybe even during a PCS, the government has resources to help you sell the home or even pay closing costs. Is this familiar to anyone? They government does have programs to help service members sell their houses and provide aid in this department, but I am not familiar with these programs. I hope this answers some questions. I am sure some that are more familiar with the process of entering into active duty for USAGPAN can clarify some of your questions. Good luck.
  11. SoldierMurse

    USAGPAN spouse here!

    Thanks for the info and painting a realistic picture. It is what I I was expecting from speaking to other SRNA's. I'm glad to hear that while your husband is stressed you and your kids are doing ok. Good luck to you and your family through the rest of the course.
  12. SoldierMurse

    USAGPAN spouse here!

    I would love to get some insight from a spouse's point of view. I am looking to apply to the program next year to start in 2018. I am currently already on active duty and understand all the hardships that come with being in the military. More insight into the academic side of the course is what I would like to know about. I have spoken to peers in the program and other SRNA's and they have all said that the program is challenging, difficult but manageable. I would like to know from a spouse's point of view and experience how much family time do you actually have with your spouse in both phase I and phase II on weekdays and during the weekend typically. I have two young girls and I missed 10 months of my oldest life due to a deployment which was very difficult. I worry about how much more I will miss over three years where I may be "there" but not truly present in there lives due to the challenges and expectations of the course. Thanks for any input you can provide.
  13. SoldierMurse

    Army recruiter says I should join as LPN with BSN

    If you want to be a nurse in the Army you NEED to be speaking to a healthcare recruiter. It sounds like you are speaking to a regular recruiter that is trying to get you to enlist to meet numbers. Look up the number to the closest healthcare recruiter for your region. With a BSN and experience in critical care you may have a shot at commissioning but the Army is pretty competitive even for critical care. Unless you are deadset on the Army I would also contact both the Navy and Air Force healthcare recruiters and speak with them. This way you will know all of your options. Don't let the Army recruiter pressure you into filling out that paperwork tomorrow
  14. SoldierMurse

    Should I go the ROTC route?

    That is a bit of a bind. I wouldn't pass up getting accepted to nursing school. If you really want to be an army nurse you could look at delaying graduation by a semester or two so you can finish all the ROTC requirements. You could also try to direct commission later but currently that is a very competitive option that requires civilian experience. Or you could look at options for some of the other branches, not sure if your school as Air Force or Navy ROTC programs there. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Good luck in your decision.
  15. SoldierMurse

    Should I go the ROTC route?

    I'm curious why they are saying you have to attend basic training. This was not a requirement when I did ROTC. How many years do you have left until you graduate? At the most you would need to go to the ROTC basic camp at Fort Knox which I believe is 5 weeks. This can be done just prior to your junior year. Have you spoken to a ROTC brigade nurse counselor yet. Several of my peers are in this position currently and they may be able to give you additional guidance.