Army Nursing Reserve


10-Year Member
Aug 27, 2013
I know this is a shot in the dark but does anyone have any experience with the reserve component of ANC? There isn't a whole lot of info online and the active duty counterparts I've talked to don't seem to know a whole lot. I'm a rising senior planning on branching reserve so just trying to get my ducks in a row. Thanks!
It's been a few years but that was my military experience. What kind of questions do you have?
How difficult is it to switch into a new AOC? I have no prior nursing experience so I'll be a 66H, my goal is to become a critical-care nurse. I plan on working in the ICU in the civilian side right out of school. To my understanding I would need to attend a 16-week AOC course to be granted the speciality, but I doubt a unit will send me unless there is an open billet. I'm guessing the best person to talk to will be my branch manager once I'm in... Thanks for your help!
I know this isn't what you're asking but in AD, the earliest that you're getting sent to any specialized school is after *about* (3) years of service but in reality, that doesn't really happen often either. My daughter's trainer was sent to ER (Emergency Room) Nursing school after she had been in 4.5 years. ice they send you top a school, you are committed to add'l years of service as well. That being said, if you get some specialized training in the civilian world, they may move you somewhere faster. Good luck!!
Thanks for the input on the AD world! That reinforces my desire to purse the reserve component.
Answering any questions for the Reserves is a bit tricky, because (at least when I was in) so much was dependent on the unit. My unit was essentially for backfill - unless the US was invaded by Canada, we weren't going anywhere as a Combat Support Hospital. Our senior NCOs and physicians got involuntarily deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan; all the registered nurses that went volunteered to go. On the other hand, there are reserve units that can be deployed as a unit - in my time, there was one connected with the 101st that got sent out more than once. They were higher up the food chain in terms of available training for their soldiers. As k2rider said - it's 4.5 years before Active Duty got a school - and you can count on the Reserves being even longer than that. It wasn't until after 9/11 that our unit finally got rid of the last of the Vietnam equipment. All of our designated ICU nurses got that credential in the civilian world, not from the Army - except for one or two that had been active duty first.

A couple of comments on Active Duty vs. Reserve for military nursing (although you didn't ask). The military starts you out at lower pay than the local hospital - but in 8 years you'll be out-earning your civilian peers, with the prospect of more responsibility and further increase in remuneration. The military nursing model is one of leadership - you are expected to guide and direct the enlisted soldiers (and later, junior officers) under your command to provide the best care possible for your patients. The civilian model is a lot muddier. Nurses have very little real authority over anyone other than themselves, although they are expected to be totally responsible for patient outcomes. You have no authority to make the pharmacy tech bring you your newly ordered timed medication before he takes his lunch break, for instance. You are the eyes and ears of the physician - if s/he doesn't order the right thing, it is your fault because your communication to the provider wasn't clear in describing the patient's condition. In the civilian world, you will NEVER outrank a physician, and in my experience, since nurses are easier to come by than physicians, hospital administration will rarely back you. Not a big deal as a new nurse, but rather frustrating when you are dealing with a terrified new resident on July 2nd who is unwilling to acknowledge 20 years of field experience. In 30 years of nursing, that has been my constant struggle - finding employment where my responsibility is matched by my authority. I've been away from the bedside for a few years, but listening to anecdotes from friends that still are, not much has changed.

Also, I live in flyover country (Michigan) where new bedside nurses are expected to work every other weekend. With your Reserve obligation, that means you have a grand total of 1 weekend per month to actually pursue a social life when everyone else does. This may not be a big deal to you, but is something to keep in mind. And when it is 'your weekend' to work your civilian job and you have drill that weekend, expect your civilian managers to not understand that you are not asking for vacation/PTO time. Most will encourage you to 'find someone to trade with'. If you are working in a smallish hospital, this problem can be magnified.

Good luck, and let me know if there are any other questions I can answer.
Awesome response thank you! It definitely helps to get real-life perspective. From what I gathered through researching the topic and gathering experiences like yours is that there will be pros and cons no matter what component I enter. Just have to make the best of opportunities presented.
Awesome response thank you! It definitely helps to get real-life perspective. From what I gathered through researching the topic and gathering experiences like yours is that there will be pros and cons no matter what component I enter. Just have to make the best of opportunities presented.

Also remember that the bedside phase of your career is not likely to be the longest. Most new grads can't see past the first couple of years, but that's really just training - kind of like a fellowship. When you are doing your clinicals next year, find the oldest nurse on the floor and ask her work history. By serendipity, I ended up as a Clinical Documentation Specialist in 2009 - and I now work for an IT company as a content expert analyst for 1.5 times what I could get from any local hospital (from my basement - I work exclusively remote). My boss spent 20 years in the Navy - and was assigned to evaluate EMR (electronic medical records) options before anyone in the civilian world even knew they existed. When she left the military, she was quickly scooped up by several start-ups for her expertise. Nurses I worked with (and supervised) are now CRNAs, NPs, Infection control nurses, College professors and managers. Those are the careers that last more than a decade.
Great point! I'm definitely someone who likes to plan both short and long term goals. My goal is to go back to school around my early 30s and become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Thanks again for your wealth of information!
I worked with a few ECCNs in my CAB and I supervised several 66Cs and 66Rs. If you want to have a dialogue, let me know.
ECCN seems like a sweet job

ECCNs are great jobs and they are usually reserve or PROFIS. I recommend taking a flight physical while in ROTC. You will have to educate CC that you need a flight physical and you don't want to branch AV or be a 67J. Your ROTC BDE nurse may have to intervene on your behalf. I'm in the middle of PCsing to Ft Sam right now. Let me know if you hit a brick wall.
This is awesome info thanks! I'll be down at Ft. Sam in August after I finish up in Knox.

Ah. Let me know if you have questions before you arrive. I report at the end of June, but I'll be moving at the end of this week.