11 answers

After Nursing School, Specific Study

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I have always wanted to be in the army, but I have also really always been passionate about nursing and medical field. Because of this, I would like to possibly pursue the Army Nurse Corps after receiving my BSN/RN. What would be the best steps to obtain this degree and get into the army nurse corps? Also, what would be the best "specific study" (cardio., pediatrics, ICU, OR/surgical nursing, etc.) in nursing to complete if I chose to go into the army nurse corps?
#nursing #pediatric-nursing #army #registered-nurses #surgical #healthcare

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11 answers

Justin’s Answer

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Hey Clarise, it's always awesome to hear when people are interesting in the nursing field and in the Army as well. I'm currently a registered nurse in a civilian facility and also for the Maryland National Guard. I did Army ROTC during my time in college/nursing school, so that's how I ended up where I am today. But there are two ways to do nursing in the Army:


1) If you choose to go for your nursing degree (BSN, 4 years), you can also do Army ROTC during your time in college which basically trains you to become an officer. you can received a scholarship that can help pay for school, but you are required to serve in the Army for a certain amount of years after you graduate. You can either join Active Duty (working full time in the Army) or the Reserves/National Guard (part time for Army).


2) you can join the Army after getting your degree through something called "direct commissioning". Once you get you degree and license, you can apply to join the Army as a nurse. Big difference between 1 & 2 though is time and money: option 1 you can get all/a lot of your school paid for, but you also give a lot of time for ROTC. for 2, you can focus on school during your college years but wont have any scholarships, though the Army does provide some financial resources for paying back school loans and things like that.


I know this is a lot of information and I'm not sure if I explained it clearly (also tried to be relatively short & concise, but there's a lot to the process haha), but if you have more questions feel free to ask!

Justin recommends the following next steps:

  • If you're still in high school, start doing research on nursing programs and ROTC programs as well. If you're not interested in ROTC, then do some research on direct commissioning into the Army as a nurse!
Wow!! That is great information. Thank you for your service and infomation. Francine Lyon
Very useful and detailed response! Thank you for your service! Desiree Cherry
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stefan’s Answer

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If your still considering joining the Army Reserves or National Guard, you may be able to get a job/position in the medical field after high school. It may not be nursing but it may help pay for nursing school. The Illinois National Guard (and Air National Guard) offered to pay tuition at Illinois state universities when I was in the National Guard. It may have changed. Check with other states. Different states had different programs for their Guard units. Reserve units had different benefits than Guard units. Consider the other branches (Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard). See what they have to offer. Talk to more than one recruiter. Recruiters are doing a job and have quotas. They may be trying to get you to take a job/position that may not be exactly what you are looking for. Ask a lot of questions, and try to find what works best for you. Good luck!
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Jamie’s Answer

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To answer your question about the specialty you should study in school...


all BSN programs follow the same general course of study and cover the lifespan. Nursing school doesn’t allow for specialty focus. That comes once you’re out of school and in the work force. For instance, I went into pediatric emergency medicine after school. I got the necessary specialty training at my job site through an internship that lasted 4 months and included classes, relevant certifications, and designated preceptors/resources. And most hospitals do something similar with new graduates no matter what your focus. Hope that helps!

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Bethany’s Answer

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Hello Future Military Nurse!

If you desire to be a military nurse officer, you can go with one of two routes. You could try to get straight into the military attending the officer academy and select healthcare/nursing as your area. Another route is to complete a BSN and then applying to become a military nurse officer. I have assisted a few BSN new graduate nurses with references. Either way you will need to focus on your studies and get high marks in your classes. I think you will love a career in nursing no matter if you get into the military or not.

Bethany recommends the following next steps:

  • Maintain high grades in your classes. If you are still in high school take college prep courses that will transfer towards a degree at the local college or university, as this will help you reach your goal faster.
  • Check out this website for more specific information: https://www.todaysmilitary.com/joining/becoming-a-military-officer
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Vivian’s Answer

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Hi Clarise and future nurse colleague,

Hopefully you are well on your way to making some great choices toward your career in nursing.
I am grateful that so many professional nurses chimed in regarding your specific questions about the Army Nurse Corp.

I want to focus on your question on how to obtain a nursing degree.
My advice is to first look at schools that are properly accredited and recognized by your State Board of Nursing. It is important that the school you select has the proper credentials to ensure students are "eligible" to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Contact the nursing regulatory body (NRB) for your state. https://www.ncsbn.org/2916.htm

Ideally as suggested by previous advisers, obtaining your Bachelors of Science in Nursing-BSN is a basic goal for the "Army Nurse Corp" track.

There are many schools that offer a "nursing programs. Make sure you select a school that provides you with the support and resources you need to be successful at your career goals. A great place to start is your local community college for basic courses and career counseling or any of your state ordained colleges or universities.

Nursing is a great calling and a career that opens doors for a variety of ways to use your talents and degree.

Best Regards


Vivian recommends the following next steps:

  • Ensure the school is accredited and recognized by your State Board of Nursing
  • Select a school that provides you with the support and resources you need to be successful at your career goals
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Michelle’s Answer

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Future Nurse!

Hello! To be honest I do not know much about military nursing, but what I do know is if you want a fulfilling career with multiple avenues to follow nursing is the way to go. If I was you, and interested in a military/nurse corp career, I would speak to your local recruiter for advice. Check out ways for the military to pay for your schooling. If you decide school first military later, working in a emergency department is a great way to obtain experience across all age groups and all disciplines. Although ER nursing can be intimidating and usually requires experience, some hospitals have nurse intern programs which allow new nurse graduates start in specialty areas. And no worries if you find you are not a great fit there is so many directions to travel with a nursing degree you are bound to find the right fit.
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Diane’s Answer

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Your choices are excellent!!! Nurse and army. As a nurse I joined the army reserves and learned so much. You might consider meeting with a Army recruiter before you go to school. Sometimes if you join the army they will but you in nursing school and pay for everything. The most important thing is that it’s all written in your contract before you sign up. All the areas of nursing you are interested in are great choices. Once you get into school you will figure out where you want to be. Good Luck!!!

Diane recommends the following next steps:

  • Meet with Army recruiter
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Shelley’s Answer

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Clarise, I'm unfamiliar with the military nursing program but I really encourage you to go for it, if it is a good fit for you. I wanted to add to Jamie's post about the specialty to go into. During my clinicals, it became obvious which specialties I liked and which ones I didn't. This was common with my classmates as well. So I encourage you to put the specialty decision on the back burner, until you get into nursing school because there will be classes that you will love and hate and there will be rotations you will love and hate. :) But it will help you decide which specialty to start with and you can always expand your expertise. Very excited for you, Good Luck!

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Jacob’s Answer

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Hi, Clarise,


I am a former Army Infantry Officer. Primarily, there are three ways to commission into the Army - going to the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and attending Officer Candidate School (OCS). I commissioned through the ROTC Program at my university. Several of my peers were in the nursing program and went on to be Army Nurses. If you are interested, I'd recommend getting in touch with the ROTC Programs at the schools you are interested in/have been accepted to. Check out the links below for information on commissioning sources and steps to become an Army Nurse, specifically.


I hope this helps - good luck!

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

  • https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/become-an-officer/how-to-become-an-officer-in-the-army.html
  • https://www.goarmy.com/amedd/nurse.html
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Vivian’s Answer

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Hi Clarise and future nurse colleague,

Hopefully you are well on your way to making some great choices toward your career in nursing.
I am grateful that so many professional nurses chimed in regarding your specific questions about the Army Nurse Corp.

I want to focus on your question on how to obtain a nursing degree.
My advice is to first look at schools that are properly accredited and recognized by your State Board of Nursing. It is important that the school you select has the proper credentials to ensure students are "eligible" to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Contact the nursing regulatory body (NRB) for your state. https://www.ncsbn.org/2916.htm

Ideally as suggested by previous advisers, obtaining your Bachelors of Science in Nursing-BSN is a basic goal for the "Army Nurse Corp" track.

There are many schools that offer a "nursing programs. Make sure you select a school that provides you with the support and resources you need to be successful at your career goals. A great place to start is your local community college for basic courses and career counseling or any of your state ordained colleges or universities.

Nursing is a great calling and a career that opens doors for a variety of ways to use your talents and degree.

Best Regards


Vivian recommends the following next steps:

  • Ensure the school is accredited and recognized by your State Board of Nursing
  • Select a school that provides you with the support and resources you need to be successful at your career goals
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Karen’s Answer

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Great plan towards a career goal. Do look into the best opportunities in how to obtain them. Are you going to rely on scholarships, grants, loans, or possibly utilize enlisting in the Army as a way to pay for nursing school? In regards to the specialty, you will rotate through all and will get a flavor of what excites you and pulls your curiosity....that may be where you may want to start your career. Or if not sure, go med-surg and get to learn and practice your skills on the entire adult body. You can specialize later. There’s no rush and general nursing gives you a solid foundation. Good Luck!!

Karen recommends the following next steps:

  • Investigate potential tuition reimbursement via Army enlistment.
  • Determine amount of time owed to Army before Nursing school can be obtained
  • Investigate cost of nursing school without Army assistance.
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