What to consider when joining the Navy?
June 3, 2017 5:37 PM   Subscribe

A loved one is joining the Navy. Any info I could pass along regarding the military and anything else to keep in mind?

She is a nurse so I am assuming she will be enlisting as an officer. I know that recruiters will promise jobs and bonuses that cannot be guaranteed, so get it in writing. Basically, read the contract before truly signing your life away. I will be getting the Navy Officer's Guide, Blue Jacket's manual, etc. She says this is the best option and I support her.

Although, I am concerned for her well-being regarding the possibility of encountering sexual harassment. Will she be likely to spend the majority of the time on a ship/submarine? Any chance it would be like working in a hospital but wearing a uniform? And considering the current political climate, could she be deployed? Thanks!
posted by Zeratul to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Anyone in the active armed services can be deployed. I'd not recommend enlisting to anyone who's hoping or expecting to not be deployed.

I have no idea what her particular circumstance is, but unlike a lot of enlistees, as a nurse, she has zillions of options for good pay doing good work all around the country. Does she know that? Do you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics "Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations" ?

"Unlike many other licensed professions a Registered Nurse does not have to recertify in most of the country. This means if you see yourself switching states in the future you do not need to worry about committing to the expense and time that goes into recertifying."

"In as many as 30 states, healthcare organizations are finding it difficult to fill nursing positions."

My point is, a registered nurse (and lower certifications) can find nursing jobs anywhere from Albuquerque to Austin to Augusta to Abilene to Aurora to Albany (just picking 'A' cities).

Lots of people go in to the armed services because they don't have any other decent options, but I personally can't imagine how that would be true for trained a nurse of any sort. It is true it can be hard to find a nursing job if you limit to one specific city for family reasons or something like that, but obviously location/moving is not an issue if she's considering enlisting.

I'm sure you'll get lots of wisdom and information about the Navy, but something is not adding up for me: nurses have plenty of options in the USA in 2017. (And sorry to assume this is about the USA, I figured if this were about any non-USA place you'd probably have said so)
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:15 PM on June 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Even if it's in writing, the government can change the contract as it pleases. Remember stop-loss?

What are her reasons for joining the Navy? Does she expect this to be a career for 20 years? Does she know people in the Navy? Specifically nurses?

A youtube channel I watch (plasmaspeedos) joined the Navy 5ish years ago, is now out, and is glad she joined. The recent videos are related to her current life, so scroll back to find applicable ones.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:52 PM on June 3, 2017

As a degreed and licensed nurse, yes, she will be entering as an officer. You didn't say, but joining the active ranks is different than the navy reserve (selective reserve, or SELRES).

Are there nurses on ships? Sure, but many if not most of those will be on Hospital Ships (designation AH - Auxiliary Hospital), like the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort. [Side note: USNS is "United States Navy Ship," indicating it is not a combatant (that would be USS), but part of the Navy's Sealift Command.]

Many, many nurses are in US Navy medical centers, which is a shore assignment, or are deployed forward.

Degreed professionals entering the active medical corps ranks as officers typically go through Officer Development School (ODS) at Newport, Rhode Island, which is a 5-week program.

I have friends, family and colleagues in the US naval nursing corps (particularly among the reserve component). Nurses in the navy (generally) dress like nurses everywhere when they're doing nursing work. Uniforms are for official functions. The contract you sign when you are commissioned say that you serve where and when your lawful orders say you do.

I am a former navy reserve officer, and will happily answer questions if you'd like.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can read through the threads or post this question at AllNurses.
posted by SyraCarol at 5:45 AM on June 4, 2017

I'm an RN and my husband was a First Class Yeoman who was Supervisor of Office Processing for a Navy Recruiting District in the early '90s. Here's what he said when I asked. Benefits of accepting a commission (or warrant) as an RN in the Navy may or may not be similar now, but when he was putting officers into the Navy years of service credit were being awarded for years in school. They were also putting RNs in at higher ranks (Lieutenant Junior Grade or Lieutenant, usually) based on school or life experience. If a super-short time to paid retirement is desired, there's not much quicker way to go (except maybe the Certified Respiratory Nurse Anesthesia route). One "tip" is that actually on a ship jobs for RNs are scarce and, therefore, much sought after for punch-the-ticket advancement purposes. So, if she's career oriented, she should gladly accept the first (maybe only) ship opportunity offered. Also, the Navy was pretty good at being a meritocracy, and the workplace is easily navigated because everyone knows everyone else's rank and responsibilities. He strongly recommends it as positive experience.
posted by Amalie-Suzette at 2:18 PM on June 4, 2017

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