What Is the Difference Between a Military Nursing Career & a Civilian One
Although most nurses perform similar duties regardless of the working environment, military nursing careers offer unique opportunities and challenges. Here are some differences between a civilian and military nursing career:
In both careers, patient care is the same. People in the military also suffer from injuries, have babies, and fall ill like civilians do. However, the main difference is that civilian nurses deal with fewer cases of injuries from explosive devices and gunshot wounds. Military nurses should be prepared to deal with severe trauma from roadside explosives and other bomb explosions.
A military and civilian nurse might suffer from on-the-job injuries such as back pain but military nurses are usually in more danger, especially if they are working in the front lines.
Rank and Education
A nurse needs an associate degree as well as a nursing bachelor’s degree or diploma. If you graduate from any of these programs, you should take a NCLEX-RN licensing examination. Any of these degrees are acceptable in reservist military or civilian nurse jobs, but if you want to enter active military duty, you need to have a bachelor’s degree.
In civilian nursing, doctors usually rank higher than nurses do. However, in the military, your rank will determine your position. In fact, nurses and physicians tend to have the same position in most cases.
Financial Support for Education
If you want to pursue military nursing, you will have many educational opportunities because paid tuition is available for advanced degrees. Financial incentives and stipends for pursuing advanced degrees and specialization are also available. In some instances, a person who commits to a career as a military nurse will get a stipend for the training job before enlistment.
Funds for continuing education are also available. Depending on the organization that they are working for, civilian nurses might or might not have the same benefits such as financial incentives and tuition reimbursement.
Living and Travel Conditions
A civilian nurse might work in a number of different places but a military nurse travels the whole world. The big difference is that a military nurse does not have a say in where he or she is assigned. The specialty that you choose as a nurse will affect your assignment. Moreover, military nurses who speak specific languages might get assignments in specific areas of the world.
Military nurses who are deployed in other countries stay in military housing. For their own safety, military nurses might also have to live in military compounds. Nurses who are deployed into active duty usually live in temporary structures such as tents. If you are looking for a civilian nurse position, find details here on how to do that.
Opportunities for Advancement
Civilian nurses join their workplaces as staff nurses while military nurses go into service as officers. As soon as a military nurse finishes orientation, he or she is trained to become a charge nurse. In as little as three years, a charge nurse can become a head nurse.
Civilian nurses need to wait until positions open up, which means that they might never become head nurses. After one and a half years, military nurses are promoted and can become captains in just 4 years. On the other hand, a civilian nurse promotion depends on seniority and available jobs.
Making a Choice
If you want to see the world while you do what you love, you should apply for a military nurse position. However, if all you care about is career advancement, you should know that promotion opportunities exist in both civilian and military nurse careers. Moreover, becoming a military nurse increases your chances of being in harm’s way: this is especially true for nurses who deploy near the front lines.
Although military nurses have more independence when it comes to their daily activities, they cannot make choices such as which assignments to accept and where to live. Additionally, military nurses spend more time away from their families.
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