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Reentering Nursing Following Military


Hey all,

I'm a senior BSN student looking forward to my graduation this August. I plan to take the NCLEX after graduation, but from there I haven't quite decided what I want to do. One job that I have always felt called to do is Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) in the Air Force. It's got leadership and emergency medicine in a helicopter, and it's a job I get excited just thinking about. My hope is that after my time in the Air Force, a hospital will look favorably on my leadership experience as an officer and on my emergency medicine experience and hire me.

I do have a couple of fears pursuing this job however, and so I have some questions I'm hoping you guys can help me answer. First of all, am I right in thinking that I would still be a reasonably attractive hire with the aforementioned experience but no nursing experience outside of clinicals? Following that question, CRO is not a guaranteed job even if I do become an officer. I could land in a second-, third-, or even fourth-choice job like pilot or navigator. If I had officer leadership experience and no emergency medicine experience or nursing experience, would I still be hireable (jumping through whatever hoops necessary like a refresher course)? Also, if I am unable to maintain my RN licensure during my time in the Air Force, how effective are re-entry/refresher courses in getting jobs for returning nurses? In a perfect world I would come out of the air force and take a job on any hospital unit I could get a job in, work there for however long is necessary, and then apply for an internal transfer to the ED and gain however much experience I need there for short-range flight nursing. The timeline may not be realistic but that is the general plan, and I think CRO would help with the flight nurse part.

Like I said, this is a job that I feel called into, but I'm nervous I could be throwing my prospects of post-military nursing away by pursuing it. I look forward to what everyone has to say. i have a meeting with an officer recruiter on Wednesday and hopefully I can find out whether or not I would be able to do continuing education to maintain licensure while in the military.