What does deployment look like


So with pending development happening over in Iraq/Iran, I was curious, What does deployment look like for critical care nurses in the military.

How long are you deployed for?

Where have you been deployed to?

As CC nurses, what is your roll while being deployed?

Any information would help. My wife has so many questions and would love information to provide to her. Thanks


1 Post

Specializes in ICU, Cardiac Cath Lab, Military Nursing. Has 18 years experience.

As a nurse you would usually be deployed with a medical unit for around 9 months in theatre. I was deployed with the Army Reserve to Iraq and Kuwait twice. Once was for 14 months during the height of the war and the last one was recently for 9 months, which is the current rotation schedule. As a critical care nurse you'd likely be in a large hospital working in an ICU, or in a smaller FST (Forward Surgical Team). The FST is smaller, and moves frequently, often to forward locations near the battlefield. Deployment as a nurse is rewarding professionally and will give you valuable experience.

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,523 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

Your deployment experience depends on your branch of service as well as a variety of factors, including your nursing experience and personal desires.It's difficult to predict any one person's deployment experience as an ICU nurse. That will depend on your assigned deployment team.

Many ICU nurses are assigned to larger field hospitals with several hundred staff, while others are assigned to remote surgical teams of as few as 5 or 6 people. Others perform transport missions in fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft. Some serve on one of the two Navy hospital ships.

Deployments can be as short as 3 months while others are 6 or 9 months. Some locations have many amenities (running water, AC, and even Wifi) while others are glorified tent cities.

I'm an Air Force ICU nurse currently deployed in a large inpatient facility with many amenities. I know another Air Force nurse going to a bunch of tents in the middle of nowhere with a small surgical team.

It's just not possible for me to give you a good idea of what to expect without knowing your personal interests, branch of service, skill level, and level of physical fitness.

Specializes in ICU. Has 14 years experience.

I am contemplating AF. I have been a nurse for almost 11 years. The last 9 years in critical care (4 years surgical/ last 5 years CC float pool). I’ve had my BSN since 2017. I’m married with 3 kids (8, 6, 4yo)

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,523 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

For the AF, you would come in as an Captain (O-3). Your starting rank would make you significantly more likely to do a ground surgical team deployment within your first two years. That would involve a very small forward operating base with minimal staff and few amenities. One guy I know is filling a Army slot and is going to a place that gets mail once a month; they also take turns cooking for each other and standing watch. They are fairly vulnerable to enemy attacks.

My current deployment is as a basic ICU nurse. I am at an established larger facility with advanced equipment and wifi. We get transfers from lesser equipped bases, and I have definitely seen some incredibly sick injuries...mostly explosions and gun shot wounds. I work somewhere between 42 and 72 hours per week depending on census. I share a dorm room with 3 other roommates....we share a large hall bathroom. Our base has a large footprint and has many different forms of protection from enemy attacks. It's very safe here and fairly comfortable.

As an AF ICU nurse, you can typically expect to deploy 6 months out of every 18 months. You won't see your family for that entire time. Your deployment team is decided by your commander based on your experience and the needs at the time.