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RN Considering Air Force or Army

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by COMtnRN COMtnRN (New Member) New Member Nurse

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I have a few questions regarding joining the military as an RN. I want to join to be able to serve my country, as well as, serve the troops who have served our country. I have already talked to a recruiter, but I wanted to see if I there was someone on here that is currently an RN in the Air Force or Army and could offer some advice. 

Background on me: My first bachelor's degree is in Biochemistry and then I went back to school for my BSN. Both degrees I have very high GPAs, one of which, I graduated top of my class. I worked on a Medical Surgical Oncology unit for my 1st year out of school and I just recently transitioned to the ICU. By the time I would be going into the military, I would have about a year of experience in the ICU. 

 

1. Would you recommend going into the Army or the Air Force as an RN? Why? My end goal is to become a CRNA so is it easier to get into CRNA school in the Army or the Air Force?

2. What is the likelihood that I would get an ICU position in the Air Force? Even if I apply to the ICU position could I be placed on a med surg floor?

3. How long does the application process usually take?

4. How likely is it to be accepted into the Army or the Air Force as a nurse? Do most people have to apply multiple times before getting in?

5. Wound I be ranked as a Second Lieutenant to start? I'm not from a military background, so what would this entail?

6. Can critical care nurses possibly go to any Army or Air Force base or are there only certain bases for critical care nurses?

7. Can your first assignment be over seas? What are the chances?

8. Would I be able to get my CCRN in the military?

9. Are there only 2 schools for active duty Army or Air Force nurses to attend CRNA school? (USUHS and USGPAN) Is it more likely for Army or Air Force nurses to be accepted?

10. Are the CRNA schools for military very difficult to get into? Do you know the statistics?

11. Is there a difference in pay between med surg and critical care nurses? Pay is not the reason I am joining the military, I already know that they are usually paid less than civilian nurses.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

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Silverdragon102 has 31 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

6 Followers; 1 Article; 38,819 Posts; 142,721 Profile Views

Moved to the Government/Military forum 

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

1,323 Posts; 11,833 Profile Views

On 8/1/2019 at 12:31 PM, COMtnRN said:

1. Would you recommend going into the Army or the Air Force as an RN? Why? My end goal is to become a CRNA so is it easier to get into CRNA school in the Army or the Air Force?  

Both USUHS (where AF student CRNAs go) and Baylor (where most Army student CRNAs go) are both top 10 CRNA schools.  I'm not really sure you can definitively say whether one is harder than the other.  It varies widely from year to year depending on who is applying.

2. What is the likelihood that I would get an ICU position in the Air Force? Even if I apply to the ICU position could I be placed on a med surg floor?

If you have 1 year of full time ICU experience when you commission, then you'll be guaranteed to do ICU in the Air Force.

3. How long does the application process usually take?

It takes 6 months to apply.  It's about 1 year from start to showing up at officer basic.

4. How likely is it to be accepted into the Army or the Air Force as a nurse? Do most people have to apply multiple times before getting in?

Assuming your 'high' GPA is 3.7+, then you have a decent shot.  Most ICU applicants have 2-4 years of experience and a CCRN...you're weak there.

5. Wound I be ranked as a Second Lieutenant to start? I'm not from a military background, so what would this entail?

Yes, you'll start as an O-1/second lieutenant.  You can google the pay.  

6. Can critical care nurses possibly go to any Army or Air Force base or are there only certain bases for critical care nurses?

Yes, for the AF you are limited to about 8 bases: Travis, Wright Patterson, Langley, Eglin, Landstuhl, Elmendorf, Nellis, and Keesler.  

7. Can your first assignment be over seas? What are the chances? 

Elemendorf (Anchorage) is your only decent shot at overseas.  

8. Would I be able to get my CCRN in the military?

Definitely get the CCRN before you apply.

9. Are there only 2 schools for active duty Army or Air Force nurses to attend CRNA school? (USUHS and USGPAN) Is it more likely for Army or Air Force nurses to be accepted?

Yes, it's just those two schools.  My understanding is that the Army gets more slots, but it also has more applicants.  No one can say for sure, and it varies year to year.

10. Are the CRNA schools for military very difficult to get into? Do you know the statistics?

Both are top 10 programs.  The stats are hard to come by, since your military chain of command prevents you from even applying if you don't meet the minimum standards.  Lots of civilian schools can pad their stats with rejecting unqualified applicants.

11. Is there a difference in pay between med surg and critical care nurses? Pay is not the reason I am joining the military, I already know that they are usually paid less than civilian nurses.

No difference in pay between med-surg and ICU.  However, the ICU retention bonus is higher (once your initial contract is done).  Last I checked med-surg nurses can only do the $80K 4 year deal.  The ICU nurses can do the $210K 6 year deal.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

 

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Thank you jfratian so much for answering my questions! Should I apply once I reach my 6 months mark since it takes about 6 months for the application process? Or would you recommend to start the application process once I reach 1 year ICU? 

 

Why would you reccomend for me to get the CCRN before I apply?

 

Are you currently a nurse in the military?

Edited by COMtnRN

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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Yes I'm an AF ICU nurse.  I would apply at the 6 month mark.  Getting the CCRN before you apply makes you a much stronger applicant.

 

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Sounds like you have your stuff together, you should be fine. Do get your CCRN though. I applied to both Army and AF since they were only each taking about 12 ICU nurses that year. I got accepted by other and went AF. Benefit to AF: shorter deployments, but more frequent. Army has more inpatient hospitals and ICUs than AF. That being said, you'll get about 8 hospitals you can go to as AF ICU nurse. Army also has higher ICU bonus pay than AF (35K vs 20K). For the application though, Army had a heck of a lot more paperwork than the AF.

Edited by St.BaptistRN

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jfratian has 7 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

1,323 Posts; 11,833 Profile Views

If you're referring to the CSP (consolidated special pay), which is a type of retention bonus, the AF also offers the $35K per year for people who sign 6 year deals.

Also, from my perspective, almost every stateside military hospital is a small community hospital with very little going on in terms of patient complexity (trauma 1, CT surgery, transplants).... Except for SAMMC which both AF and Army nurses can work at anyway.  Having 16 (Army) vs. 8 (AF) "100-bed" community hospitals isn't really a draw for most people.  Deployment is the real acuity draw, and a greater percentage of AF nurses deploy (OJN, 2018).

 

Open Journal of Nursing, 2018, 8, 93-101

From: http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojn ISSN Online: 2162-5344 ISSN Print: 2162-5336

Edited by jfratian

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