Soon to be RN in need of some guidance


  • Specializes in orthopedics, geriatrics. Has 4 years experience.

Hi all,

Never in a million years would I imagine myself considering joining the military. I am a laidback person and would probably be considered a pacifist. When I graduate in May, I will be graduating with some serious loans. When I originally considered the thought of military nursing it was for the financial benefits. But to be honest I will be an RN in the NYC area, my loans and finances will be taken care of eventually. Yet here I am and I cannot get the idea of being a military nurse out of my mind. I have absolutely no support from anyone in my life. People think it is crazy that I will graduate with a BSN and I am considering going into the service. ( They see it as something you do when you have no other choice, and honestly I saw it like that for a period of time as well) I have been researching online, but I feel like my true concerns are not ones that I can easily find answers to on these websites. I will soon be meeting with a recruiter so many of my questions can be answered with her I am sure. I just feel like this could be the best or the worst decision I ever make. I am terrified of the idea of this, but also excited at the thought of being able to practice nursing in it's most natural form. I love the idea of taking care of soliders and truly being able to serve a population truly in need ( not to say civilians are not of course). That was mostly my babbling and I apologize I do have some questions and concerns if anyone can help that would be great!

- Boot camp, I understand that it is not the same as that for enlisted personnel, but I would like to know more of what it entails.

- Army, Navy, AF ? Pros and Cons of each?

- Do you think a person with a laid back personality ( but a desire to care for soliders) can be a member of the military?


79 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

I'm in nursing school as well but I've also served in the USAF for 4 1/2 years as an officer. It's important to keep in mind that being a military nurse means being a military officer as well which involves other duties completely unrelated to nursing. You will have leadership roles involving direct supervision of enlisted personnel and other officers (eventually) and the military will expect you to be a professional, effective leader just like every other officer.

Having said that, I don't know first hand what extra duties a nurse will have outside of nursing. But there's tons of good information on this site from nurses currently serving in the military.

Being laid back shouldn't cause you problems (it can be an effective leadership style) but being a self-described pacifist may. As a military nurse you could find yourself in direct support of combat missions where fighting and dying occur. That's something you'll have to reconcile with yourself.

Congrats on seeking information before making any decisions. Like I said, there's tons of good info on this site for all branches, boot camp, life of a military nurse, military duties, etc.

Best of luck!


461 Posts

Specializes in psych/medical-surgical. Has 14 years experience.

I would say browse the forums a little bit more, a lot of the things you want to know have been touched upon in previous posts.

People who tell you you don't know what you are doing with your life if you join the military are simply ignorant. When I told one of my friends that I was, he said the exact same thing. This is only because he never investigated the military lifestyle and has no idea what it's like!

Officers go through a 4 week training course, and then (if you are a new RN without any exp, such as myself) you go through the nurse transition program, which is 12 weeks of training. I figure by the time this is up, you will - no matter what you describe your personality to be - be sufficiently trained to perform your duties as a AF RN.


2 Posts

Specializes in orthopedics, geriatrics. Has 4 years experience.

Thank you both so much for your comments. They are very helpful. I actually look forward to being able to be a leader. You both broguht up some great points that I need to think about. I think the military would help instill and encourage certain ideals that are important to nursing and qualities that I think all people should strive for. A sense of unity, respect and honor among other things. Next month I hope to go to D.C with a recruiter to visit a military hospital there. I hope this trip helps further me in the right direction, whatever it may be. Thanks so much for your help!


201 Posts

I remember being in your same position, not knowing for sure if it was something i wanted to do, but couldn't get it out of my mind and gut... now here I am a year later in the Army, waiting to graduate nursing school in May :-) I agree with the above writer that the majority of ppl who have bad things to say about the military have no idea what it's about for an officer besides "IRAQ." I did my research, asked a lot of questions on an army nurse forum on facebook, and spoke to MANY army nurses asking what their experiences have been like. Touring the military hospital definetely sealed the deal for me and I'm sure it will do the same for you. Which branch are you meeting with a recruiter? I checked out of all them to find out which one suited me best and you'll know it when you are where you should be.

Are you looking into the reserves or active?


64 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, Family Medicine, Urgent Care. Has 12 years experience.

I suggest to search your soul and see where your thoughts and feelings are coming from. Being a self-proclaimed pacifist will definitely throw up a road block for you, as a matter of fact, it is a question that you will be asked.

Think about what it is you are against. Many people have given their lives to afford us the freedom we enjoy. Do you realize that in most countries of the world, you can't speak out about what you are against openly without fear of serious repercussion? I know this sounds cliche, but it is as true as the day is long. This country was that way at one time too. Our forefathers stood up against all odds in the revolution, to fight a war that they should have never won, against the largest fighting force of the world. It was suicide by all accounts, yet they did it, and because of that, we don't have to be afraid of what we say. People loose sight of what our armed forces represent. It's all about freeedom. I am proud of you for entertaining the idea of serving your country and for asking about it here. Thank you! Being a nurse that serves the needs of this nation is a heroic act. People need to engage in society and do their part. It's easy to stand by and let others step up. If you decide against joining the armed forces than engage in some other way that you can abide by. Volunteer at a free clinic or something. I just got back in after being out for 23 years and feel blessed to have the opportunity. I wish I'd never gotten out in the first place, but hind sight and all...

God Bless. HOOAH.

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