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Thread: Nursing as a Military Wife

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    #1

    Nursing as a Military Wife

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    Hey y'all,

    I just want to know if there is anybody out there that is a nurse and a military wife. I am currently enrolled in nursing school and I really wanted to know how some SOs out there handle nursing as a military wife. Is it difficult to transfer your nursing license to a different state? Also, is it difficult to find a nursing job as a military wife? Also, how great are the hours? Do you have time for your kids?

    I am just preparing for the future and I really wanted to know if anyone could help me answer these questions.

    Thank you!

    Susan
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    #2
    I have several friends who are nurses and married to service members. Everything depends on the wants and needs of what type of nurse you will be. I have friends who is a school nurse, one was an ER nurse, one worked in a private office.....some have been very successful on keeping lives very normal. It can be done. My friend who was working I think on a peds unit in a hospital did give up her job for something else cause the hours were getting a little hectic for the family life as her husband is always in and out with work. But she found something that worked better for her hours and family life.
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    #3
    I'm not one; but, I know a number of spouses that continue with their career in nursing. On of my son's nurses while he was in the hospital was a military spouse. They are always in needs. I would think that as long as you are flexible and you can do it with your family and it works, go for it.
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    I am! In the beginning of your nursing career, it will be difficult to find a job depending on what you are interested in. After getting some experience, things will become easier. But again, it depends on your speciality. If you're happy being a MedSurg nurse, you'll probably find a job just about anywhere--even an ED nurse, there are almost always openings because there is a lot of turnover there. However units like Peds, NICU, PICU, don't always have a huge amount of openings everywhere. So it really depends.

    Switching your license is easy, expensive, but easy. You basically just apply to the state, pay the fees, and have it switched. I haven't had to do this yet because we haven't moved, but I know plenty who have. Overall, your best bet is to hopefully be living in the same area where you graduate, make connections and use that network to get yourself a job after graduation, get some experience, then things will open up a little more for you.

    I don't have children, but I can imagine it can be a struggle with little ones. When we have children, I hope to be able to stay at home for the first couple years, then transition back into practice as they grow. My biggest struggle was finding time to be with DH while I was working night shift, I felt like we never saw each other. Sometimes scheduling is hard, but again, as you get more experience, you get to be more picky.
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    I'm a nurse! There are a huge number of states in the compact agreement, meaning you won't need to gain a new license or endorsement in your new state if your license state is part of the compact. You can just google 'nurse licensure compact' and see which states participate. There is a new expanded compact beginning in January, you'll probably find a ton of information on that when you search because it's a big deal right now. I have an SC nursing license and practice in NM with no issue. I didn't pay anything or fill out any additional paperwork to practice in NM.

    As far as jobs, nursing jobs are easy to find just about anywhere. Whether or not it's the job you want is another issue entirely. I honestly feel that nursing and service industry are probably the most portable careers for military spouses. The only time you'll run into difficulty is if you move overseas because typically your license will only work on base or at the Red Cross and those jobs can be few and far between. Friends that are nurses that have PCS'd overseas have used that time to pursue additional degrees (BSN, Masters, etc) or find 'work from home' work like teaching online, informatics, working on textbooks, etc.

    As far as nursing hours and families go, they can be tough, but I don't think that's necessarily military specific. The typical 7-7 shifts aren't very family friendly, because they typically turn into 6:30-7:30 or 8 shifts. Depending on what your husband does in the military, that could be difficult with deployments, shifts, etc for childcare if you have a family. I am currently not working and am continuing my education for that basic reason. My husband flies, so it's difficult to find childcare for constant rotating shifts. My plan when I go back is to look into school nurses or a day shift only position to be more childcare friendly. I hope this helped!
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Margot31 View Post
    I have several friends who are nurses and married to service members. Everything depends on the wants and needs of what type of nurse you will be. I have friends who is a school nurse, one was an ER nurse, one worked in a private office.....some have been very successful on keeping lives very normal. It can be done. My friend who was working I think on a peds unit in a hospital did give up her job for something else cause the hours were getting a little hectic for the family life as her husband is always in and out with work. But she found something that worked better for her hours and family life.
    Thank you. That was very helpful.
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by marinemainsqueez View Post
    I am! In the beginning of your nursing career, it will be difficult to find a job depending on what you are interested in. After getting some experience, things will become easier. But again, it depends on your speciality. If you're happy being a MedSurg nurse, you'll probably find a job just about anywhere--even an ED nurse, there are almost always openings because there is a lot of turnover there. However units like Peds, NICU, PICU, don't always have a huge amount of openings everywhere. So it really depends.

    Switching your license is easy, expensive, but easy. You basically just apply to the state, pay the fees, and have it switched. I haven't had to do this yet because we haven't moved, but I know plenty who have. Overall, your best bet is to hopefully be living in the same area where you graduate, make connections and use that network to get yourself a job after graduation, get some experience, then things will open up a little more for you.

    I don't have children, but I can imagine it can be a struggle with little ones. When we have children, I hope to be able to stay at home for the first couple years, then transition back into practice as they grow. My biggest struggle was finding time to be with DH while I was working night shift, I felt like we never saw each other. Sometimes scheduling is hard, but again, as you get more experience, you get to be more picky.
    That makes sense. Don't some nurses get 3-4 days of work a week? Or would that be in Peds, NICU, etc.?
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by missinghim View Post
    I'm a nurse! There are a huge number of states in the compact agreement, meaning you won't need to gain a new license or endorsement in your new state if your license state is part of the compact. You can just google 'nurse licensure compact' and see which states participate. There is a new expanded compact beginning in January, you'll probably find a ton of information on that when you search because it's a big deal right now. I have an SC nursing license and practice in NM with no issue. I didn't pay anything or fill out any additional paperwork to practice in NM.

    As far as jobs, nursing jobs are easy to find just about anywhere. Whether or not it's the job you want is another issue entirely. I honestly feel that nursing and service industry are probably the most portable careers for military spouses. The only time you'll run into difficulty is if you move overseas because typically your license will only work on base or at the Red Cross and those jobs can be few and far between. Friends that are nurses that have PCS'd overseas have used that time to pursue additional degrees (BSN, Masters, etc) or find 'work from home' work like teaching online, informatics, working on textbooks, etc.

    As far as nursing hours and families go, they can be tough, but I don't think that's necessarily military specific. The typical 7-7 shifts aren't very family friendly, because they typically turn into 6:30-7:30 or 8 shifts. Depending on what your husband does in the military, that could be difficult with deployments, shifts, etc for childcare if you have a family. I am currently not working and am continuing my education for that basic reason. My husband flies, so it's difficult to find childcare for constant rotating shifts. My plan when I go back is to look into school nurses or a day shift only position to be more childcare friendly. I hope this helped!
    That definitely did help a lot. Thank you!
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by susbro510 View Post
    That makes sense. Don't some nurses get 3-4 days of work a week? Or would that be in Peds, NICU, etc.?
    You are right Most hospital jobs are 12 hours a day which gives you 3-4 days a week, some have three shifts (7AM-3PM..3PM-11PM..11PM-7AM) but I don't see this too often. Sometimes they do that in the ED due to the ED being so hectic. You see the 8 hour, 5 days a week jobs in private practice. It's difficult because one of your work days will be on the weekend when you do your 3-4 day work week, so thats automatically a day away from family, but you learn to adjust and focus on that quality of time you have together instead of the quantity.

    But like PP said, 12 hour days are more like 13-14 so it's tiring, but such a rewarding job.
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    #10
    we are not married yet but im training to be a midwife iam finding it difficult to make time for him and theres alot of pressure and strain on both sides but we are getting through it

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