As a military spouse, you may already know the most common struggles that others like you can experience including frequent relocation, time away from family, pay and employment challenges. Frequent moving and a lack of a local network can present hurdles to you as you try to achieve your dream job or career, and it can be a challenge to find a school that will support your career aspirations. Many schools offer military-specific programs to support veterans and alleviate some of these common issues but you may wonder: what resources are available to you as a military spouse?
Life as a military spouse can be difficult when your job may not be portable, so choosing to pursue a career, not just a job, that supports you and your family through all your changes may be a good idea. Nursing is one of the careers that are in high demand all over the country and is often easily transferable.
Nursing is a career that is both fulfilling and worldwide. If you are interested in a nursing career, here’s how to become one as a military spouse:
Find a Nursing Program that Supports You
To start your career, you first need to earn a nursing degree.
Most nursing programs, whether you are earning your diploma in practical nursing, your associate in nursing (ASN) or your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) require you to complete a set number of courses and clinical hours through an accredited program. Some people want to complete their nursing degree quickly so earning their diploma to become an LPN is the most logical step. Other people prefer to earn their degrees incrementally by returning to complete a higher level of education, still, others choose to complete their bachelor’s degree right away.
No matter what your nursing pathway looks like, Herzing University proudly supports military personnel and their spouses. Our goal is to provide you with the education and support services to help you pursue and achieve the success you deserve. We offer programs like our online BSN which allows you to complete your studies from the comfort of your home. (NOTE: the Herzing University online BSN program is not available in all states.)
Perhaps the biggest advantage to pursuing an online degree program is the flexibility to access lectures and course materials from anywhere with an internet connection. Although you may move, your education could come along with you!
After you complete your nursing program you will be eligible to sit to pass a form of the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX), which will allow you to become a licensed nurse. The NCLEX serves as a ‘litmus test’ for all nurses to demonstrate that they are ready to be a nurse.
While many nursing students are apprehensive about taking the test, there are numerous resources to help them prepare to take the NCLEX. The NCLEX involves multiple-choice questions so remember that the answer is right in front of you, you just need to identify it! The ABC framework– airway, breathing, circulation – is one of the most important touchpoints and should help guide your studying.
To take the NCLEX, you will need an Authorization To Test, also known as an ATT letter. To receive this authorization, you need to contact your nursing regulatory body (NRB) and apply. They will review your application and award you an ATT through your email. This authorization will expire after about 90 days so make sure that you take the test within that timeframe.
Gain Work Experience
Once you earn your degree and pass your certification exam, you are all set to start your nursing career! Great! But where are you going to work?
Nurses can specialize in a variety of different areas. While patient care remains at the heart of nursing, nurses can choose to work with certain demographics such as children or geriatric patients, or with certain conditions like in oncology, critical care or cardiac nursing. In addition to earning valuable work experience, some specializations require you to become certified. Your clinical background will determine the specific openings you could qualify for or what you are interested in.
A great option for military spouses could be travel nursing. Travel nurses work for independent staffing companies that recruit RNs to fill positions across the United States and abroad. Travel nurses can help with staffing issues but can also come in to fill in temporary gaps. Nurses are needed around the country in all types of specializations. If you know you will frequently be moving, this could work perfectly for both you and the organization that you work for!