Pros of being a military nurse vs civilian nurse?


Looking for insight and the positive points of military nursing! I know that military nurses have extra duties and at a certain rank you kind of move away from nursing.

I'm considering doing ROTC for nursing, but I'm not quite sure if I want that commission. I eventually want to go into pediatric nursing or become a nurse midwife.

Lunah, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 14 years experience. 33 Articles; 13,681 Posts

If you are considering it for any other reason than a desire to serve, I would advise you to think twice. It is a very heavy commitment in which you hand control of your life over to your superiors, and they do not always have your best interest in mind.

I served for four years, no regrets. I loved taking care of soldiers and I am still doing that in my same ER, just as a civilian RN.


jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 10 years experience. 1,473 Posts

The military isn't really ideal for pediatric nursing. To my knowledge there are only 3 bases that have any sort of pediatric inpatient units for all three branches combined. There is no pediatric specialty identifier that locks you into pediatric nursing. As a result, you may not always get to work with kids during your military career. There is a NICU identifier if you'd be happy with that.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 Posts

Benefits of military nursing include the possiblility of travel to exotic places like Kandahar and Biloxi. You get to be in the middle of the excitement if there's a war going on, and you get to drive INTO the hurricane when everyone else is driving away from it. (Well, OK, the hurricane business applied to my friend in the USAF reserves, not active duty USAF.) Sometimes housing is provided in the form of a tent with many of your friends, A/C not provided. You are assured of one hour of sleep and one meal a day -- something that civilian nurses have to seek on their own. Meals can be delicious and nutritious MREs. You get 30 days paid vacation a year -- but there is no guaruntee of a day off every week. The military promises they'll "try" to station husbands and wives together, but no guarantees.

If you're not going into it because you want to serve your country, you'll probably not be thrilled about what you get out of it.


jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 10 years experience. 1,473 Posts

I guess that didn't really answer your question. The pro's include higher pay over the course of a career, better benefits/retirement, better training (with opportunities to recieve funding for graduate degrees later in your career), and excellent travel opportunities.

The con's include higher than typical weekly work hours (closer to 48 per week), time required for additional duties outside of work, lower average patient acuity when stateside, and required (depending on current events) deployments far from home.