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ROTC or Direct Comission? Help please!

Robj103 Robj103 (New) New

Hello! I am a high school senior graduating now on May 2016. Im entering college in August I want to study nursing and also I have been accepted into two nursing schools and one gave me a full scholarship. I want to be a future military nurse if not active duty (which for now i want) or reserves! Im confused if joining the ROTC (Would be Army Rotc) its the one offered in both colleges I desire or if not joining now and wait untill 2020 that i graduate as a nurse and join the Army , Air Force or Navy as a direct comission officer. What would be my best choice if ai have to study hard and ROTC classes and PT would take time off that I will need and im not a contracted cadet untill the second year and because I have college paid already i'm not worrying about the money they can offer. My real question is if i choose to study normal and when I graduate try and join as direct comission what would be my chances of getting in? I know with ROTC im in for sure but if i dont join it will i be left out? Is Air Force or Navy nurses a better branch to join? Also does anyone know the best states nurses get paid well or the specializations that are desired these days? What would be a good masters degree specialty to choose besided the Anesthesia one? Thankss in advanced and sorry for the testament

have a great day! Im 17 years old by the way

Hello! I am a high school senior graduating now on May 2016. Im entering college in August I want to study nursing and also I have been accepted into two nursing schools and one gave me a full scholarship. I want to be a future military nurse if not active duty (which for now i want) or reserves! Im confused if joining the ROTC (Would be Army Rotc) its the one offered in both colleges I desire or if not joining now and wait untill 2020 that i graduate as a nurse and join the Army , Air Force or Navy as a direct comission officer. What would be my best choice if ai have to study hard and ROTC classes and PT would take time off that I will need and im not a contracted cadet untill the second year and because I have college paid already i'm not worrying about the money they can offer. My real question is if i choose to study normal and when I graduate try and join as direct comission what would be my chances of getting in? I know with ROTC im in for sure but if i dont join it will i be left out? Is Air Force or Navy nurses a better branch to join? Also does anyone know the best states nurses get paid well or the specializations that are desired these days? What would be a good masters degree specialty to choose besided the Anesthesia one? Thankss in advanced and sorry for the testament

have a great day! Im 17 years old by the way

I'm going to offer you my advice, and take that with a grain of salt. I have my BSN and was accepted as Fully Qualified Med-Surg, I leave for COT May '16. I'm not 100% sure how ROTC works, but, I would whole heartedly recommend getting your BSN first if you can..and it sounds like you can. Having all of your school paid for is an awesome feat, don't take that for granted.

I recommend getting your BSN first because a lot can happen between now and then. As for your chances of getting in ROTC vs NTP/Commission? No one can honestly say what the needs will be in the future. If you get your BSN now, you at least will have something to "fall" back on.

I think down south nurses are needed more, unsure of if they get paid more or not. As far as specializations... I think that will only come with experience. It's easy to say you want to be a Nurse Anesthetist or a Family Nurse Practitioner..when you are actually practicing as a RN your decision will be much more clear.

ROTC is a ton of work, but it seems to be a good learning experience and will set you up to succeed as a military officer. I did Army ROTC for a semester before quitting for the same cons you listed (large time commitment, less time to study/work, active duty not guaranteed - although I have friends who did ROTC, worked, and still did ok in school). I ended up joining through the Navy's Nurse Candidate Program instead. This program provides junior and senior nursing students with a stipend while in school (about $1K/month when I was in plus a small sign on bonus) in exchange for a four or five year active duty commitment after graduation. You can apply at a healthcare recruiter once you have been accepted to an accredited nursing program. The Air Force also has a similar program called the Nurse Transition Program. It's a pretty sweet deal because it gives you more time to focus on your studies and guarantees the active duty slot (whereas some ROTC cadets will get reserves duty). However, the con to this program is that the lack of military training during school means we begin our time as junior officers a little less prepared than our peers who went through ROTC. The other option you mention, direct commissioning, is rare for new graduate nurses in today's military. (Of course, that could all change by the time you graduate in 4-5 years.)

Between the branches, there are more similarities than differences. I am happy with my choice to join the Navy. I think we are treated a little better than the Army nurses and that our hospital locations are nicer, but those are both very subjective opinions. Most people I know think that their branch is the better one, so I really don't think you can go wrong with either choice. :p I would say keep your options open and apply or at least talk to all the branches. Today's nurse corps is quite competitive.

I can't comment too much on specialties/grad school. I have been out of nursing school for about two years and am not quite ready to go back! Regarding pay, there are military pay calculators online. About half of my pay as a new nurse in a high cost of living area comes from my housing allowance. I've started off making a tiny bit less than my civilian friends who got really nice jobs (ICU, transplant unit, magnet hospital med/surg, etc), but I still make a very comfortable living and am happy with my salary. The biggest difference I've noticed is that we are salaried whereas most civilian nurses are paid by the hour. For us, more work =/= more pay.

I hope this infornation helps you and other lurkers on this forum. Good luck on your journey into nursing!

Regarding specialties, try to find what you are passionate about. What is in demand will change over time, but our high burn out rate probably wont. If you love what you're doing, you'll be happier and more fulfilled.

In the military you will most likely start on the med/surg floor, although some new nurses in the Navy go to labor & delivery instead.

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