Is the Military a Good Place to Kick Start Your Nursing Career?
The United States military is a fantastic place for nurses to see new places, learn new techniques and get the chance to serve the country alongside other brave men and women. Serving in the military as a nurse builds on your skills in a way that you don’t get in civilian settings. Nurses who are unsure of what they want to do after being certified may want to consider all of the benefits that being a military nurse brings.
A military nurse enters the field as an officer, and is not only paid a competitive salary, but gets benefits like insurance and paid vacation. It will vary depending on the branch of the military you choose, but the Army, Navy and Air Force all employ qualified nurses to assist in keeping their military personnel healthy.
How to Become a Military Nurse?
Since you will be an officer in rank as a nurse in the military, it is required that you have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing and that you have obtained your RN license for your state. You will apply for a position and be interviewed, and if commissioned, be required to take a crash course in officer candidate training. This is not going to be “GI Jane” in scrubs, it is only an abridged version of training designed to help you to orient to the different culture of the military and understand what your role as an officer means.
Depending on the branch that you serve you, you could find that serving in the military as a nurse gets you out of student loan debt faster. You can find programs that offset the cost of tuition for a nursing education, if you commit to serving after graduation. Other programs could help you with existing student loans if you have already graduated and are weighing the military as a career option.
Funds may also be provided to continue your nursing education after entering the military. You will have the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees while getting your salary and getting breaks on your tuition costs. It’s a nursing win-win for gaining the skills and knowledge you need to advance in the field of nursing.
Military Nurse’s Salary
Like with civilian nursing, your salary as a military nurse will be dependent on your level of education and how well you do at your job. You will move up in rank as an officer, which will also affect how much money you make as a nurse. The increase in rank is a big difference between civilian and military nursing as it could put on the same level as physicians and other professionals that you are required to work with.
Other Perks of Being a Military Nurse
If you enjoy travelling you could volunteer to travel to other parts of the country, or even the world, to fulfill your commitment as a military nurse. All of your travel and housing needs can be provided by the United States military, giving you opportunities to explore exotic places that you would not have otherwise.
Another bonus of being in the military is the possibility of home ownership if you prefer to settle down. The government offers incentives and discounts to members of the military who are trying to purchase a home. You might be able to buy a house with no money down, or even get a reduced rate on your mortgage.
A Military Nurse After the Military
If you do choose to leave the service and continue your nursing career as a civilian, your specialized skills and training will be a big plus on your job resume. RNs who have achieved higher ranks in the military are very attractive to medical institutions for their known discipline on the job. You could find that after leaving the military more job opportunities open up for you quickly.
You may have also learned new and unique techniques and procedures in nursing care during your time in the military. These will also be a benefit to you as you look for work in the civilian sector. Any advanced studies you took a part in, and your experiences, will all play a role in finding a position in nursing once you choose to leave the military. You are not obligated to make military nursing a lifetime commitment, but it can you give you a lifetime of benefits.
If you are at a crossroads in your nursing career and need a way to give it a boost, don’t dismiss the military as a possibility. There is a lot to be gained by working with men and women in the service, and you could find it to be an enriching experience on every level.