I was commissioned right out of college in the early 90's. Did the Med/Surg NTP. Got deployed to Cuba (Guantanamo Bay) to take care of Haitian and Cuban migrants in 1994. Great experience working w/ a Joint Task Force. Also got to experience a field hospital in action.
After that, went to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Loved it! In addition to getting tax free and hazardous duty pay, we had a lot of four day weekends to travel. Got to go all over the beautiful country of Turkey and took 3 trips to Europe as well. Clinically, it was great because it was a true multi-service unit. Took care of all age groups and even did some labor and delivery and post-partum. Got tons of education: ABLS (Advanced Burn Life Support), TNCC, PALS, NRC and ACLS training while there. Had a few M*A*S*H type situations where we had trauma pts. that had to be stabalized but we had no ICU, no blood bank. We all pitched in and did a great job for those two patients. Had to get O neg. volunteers to donate blood and gave the patients whole blood transfusions.
Next assignment was ICU at Andrews AFB. Pretty quiet ICU but got good experience transporting patients to Bethesda and Walter Reed on a regular basis (mostly via ground but one or two by helicopter). Did some staffing relief at Walter Reed. A much more intense ICU experience. Was on the medical team that had to be on standby when Air Force One landed. Once we had to hang out w/ all of our mobility gear in the Aerovac staging area b/c there was a terrorist threat on the president during one of his State of the Union addresses.
While at Incirlik, I met my A.D. husband and we got married while I was at Andrews and he was at Bolling AFB. I later separated b/c we wished to have a family and the A.F. was not cooperating w/ giving us a joint assignment.
I've been lucky to work in the past as a civilian contract nurse at Wliford Hall. Like being in the Air Force w/o all the mandatory stuff.
I say those were my "glory days" b/c compared to civilian life, it was when I learned the most (all my assignments except Incirlik were teaching hospitals), had the most opportunities, had the most challenging patients and worked with the best damn group of people I ever have worked with since. Not to mention the world travel, ha, ha!
There certainly are annoyances that come w/ being property of the U.S. Government. I won't deny that. Also, I know things have changed since I separated in 1997. However, the quality of the people you come into contact with (co-workers,
patients, neighbors) does not come close to what I've experienced in the civilian sector. Perhaps I've just had bad luck w/ the civilian hospitals I've worked at though.
Sorry for the thread-jack.