Joining the QA's Officer or Soldier?

Discussion in 'Army Professionally Qualified Recruitment' started by Scottish_Student_Nurse, Aug 26, 2010.

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  1. Hello,

    Just wanted to post my thoughts on joining up. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Right now I am just about to start my third and final year of Nursing. I hope to graduate with an ordinary degree in Adult nursing. My long term ambition is to join the QA's however I know that there are a few things Im going to have to do before to get some life experience and ensure I can do a good job!

    I am thinking about running in my universities student elections and attempt to be elected as the student president, this job entails representing all students on campus and campaigning and helping them combat the issues that effect students today (finance, exam stress etc it also includes running the student union and chairing an executive board which is charged with distributing a £350,000 budget). This job would last a year in which I would hope to keep my registration valid by doing some work as a staffy at a care home where I am currently employed.

    After that I was thinking of going out to Afghanistan for a tour of duty. I believe that this is the perfect opportunity to make an informed decision of wither the army is the life for me. I wouldn't want to waste any bodies time if it turned out after joining up that I didn't enjoy it. However Ive always wanted to join the army so Im pretty sure I'll love it. What is tour as a tour like as a TA soldier and what area of nursing would I be working in. I have had a previous placement in Orthopedics and really enjoyed it. As a newly qualified nurse, would I be posted in that sort of healthcare setting.

    Once Ive completed a tour. I need to get some more post reg experience before selection. I am interested in applying for work in some of the best hospitals in the uk, guys, kings, or Cambridge university hospital etc.

    So Officer or Soldier, to be honest I would like to pursue a good career however I want to stay as clinical as possible to really learn as much as possible. The last thing I would want to do is find myself pushing pens on a desk two years into my career.

    I have been to briefing as I did apply for a cadetship. I didnt do too well in the mental aptitude test or the phys and received a cat 3 IP on the grounds of the mental aptitude test. I was told to perceiver and come back in a few years and attempt main board. I did my briefing in Jun 2009.

    Any advice would be great!

    Student Nurse
  2. Purely from the clinical point of view and as someone who recruits and employs a significant number of nurses I'd be looking very hard (and not in a good way) at someone who'd just qualified and then went on to be the SU president for a year. The period post-qualification is the single most important part of your career in terms of learning and if you just do bank staff work at a nursing home you'll be missing out on your preceptorship period while forgetting an awful lot of what you've learnt over the last three years and certainly not gaining much orthopedic currency if that's what you want to do.

    At the level that most employers will be looking at you post qualification they aren't interested in someone who knows how to budget or can 'fight the man', they're much more interested in someone who is willing to learn and work hard to improve their practice.

    If you join the TA or regs you aren't going to be immediately on tour, you'll have to go through the whole recruits process first, something like 12 weekends. You then need to complete a DONC LE, which is a set of nursing competencies put in place by the Defence Medical Services to cause as much embuggerance as possible. Once you've done that, which may be a quick or long process dependent on how organised the unit is you'll need to fit into an available slot or PID. That said as a generalist nurse that's not a problem certainly in TA units, but you'd be unlikely to go anywhere if your only clinical experience as a qualified nurse is bank shifts in a nursing home.

    Afghanistan is not the place to be making an informed decision as to whether the army is for you or not. It can be very arduous work-wise and you can't just up and leave if you don't like it. In that environment someone who is de-motivated and hating it can have a big impact on the rest of your team, expecially as you'll be sharing a tent with 7 of them.

    You can't apply for a commission until you've been qualified for two years anyway, but you can join as an OR and you'll then be a Corporal shortly thereafter. If you want to commission from the ranks you can do so but you'll need to smarten up your written English (it's persevere, not perceiver) and get your phys sorted out too.

    If I was in your position I'd bin the SU president idea as it isn't going to do your long term career planning any favours. I'd find a good job in a decent hospital, it doesn't need to be any of the ones mentioned and your salary will go a lot further if you aren't in places like London or Cambridge, and then decide what you want to do.

    Good luck with whatever you do.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Scottish_Student_Nurse.... you've got some really good advice from "psychobabble".

    There are just a few points that I want to touch on-

    1. If you do, indeed, want to go out and get some more "life experience" prior to joining the Army- fantastic! However, as "psychobabble" said, make sure that the experience you get is pertinent and relevant to what the military want when you eventually decide to make an application to QARANC recruitment. IE- Robust clinical consolidation post registering with clinical management experience NOT working as a budget manager in the local SU moonlighting as a "staffy at the local care home". We're the Armed Forces- not the NHS. You said yourself... and I quote...."The last thing I would want to do is find myself pushing pens on a desk two years into my career."

    2. Why wait in the first place??!! Current trends in recruiting are aimed at the junior officer cadre and recruiting the appropriate people into a 2Lt role in their 3rd yr of university. From what you've said- you fit those parameters. If you are thinking about it- decide soon. My understanding is that this particular recruitment option closes post-qualifying and you'll have to wait 2 years post registration (WITH clinical experience!!) to consider commission again.

    3. As a newly-qualified nurse (officer or rank), you ideally should be posted to a Minstry of Defence Hospital Unit to consolidate your nurse training. The roles will be different slightly- with a few secondary duties, but the main focus SHOULD be your clinical development as a newly qualified nurse. And yes- chances are you'll do a rotation onto a T&O ward!

    4. Physical fitness.... if you don't have it.... you NEED it! Whether you're joining as a rank or an officer, you HAVE to be fit! Phase One training is very robust, and I can confirm that the new-styled PQO commissioning course is just as a bad, if not worse, with alot of emphasis on physical fitness and endurance. Either way, it will not put you in good stead to start you're military career getting noticed for any deficiency in you fitness!

    5. I'm not entirely sure where you aspiration to deploy out on tour with a TA unit fits into into the rest of your big plans. A sound thinking behind, definately, BUT going on tour won't give you a realistic picture of what you'll be doing as a newly qualifiied NO or other rank.

    6. You've obviously thought about this ALOT and thought of ways that you could make yourself more marketable to the QARANC, which is to be commended. However, I hope that this answer coupled with "psychobabble's" will give you some more food-for-thought. Don;t overthink or second guess the decision to join up. If you aren't appropriate or you don't hold the right experience, the recruitment process/selection will filter you out. So, Just go for it!

    Hope this helps.... good luck! If you do decide to do it, it's a decision I really don't think you'll regret. A career in the QA's is fantastic with alot of opportunities. I'll get ALOT of stick for saying this BUT I'm very proud when I put the grey beret on!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Psychobabble, there are more than one spelling mistake, also maybe you would like to check your own sentence structure, before throwing stones!
  5. There's one typo (rather than not knowing how to spell a common word in English), an x instead of an s and that's it. And I suggest you re-read your post, take note of the last three words and then wind your neck in.
  6. PB,

    Wither instead of whether?, again i reaffirm my previous statement, OUT!
  7. Are you suggesting replacing the 'whether' with 'wither'? Why on earth would I do that as it would be incorrect?!
  8. Hello to all!

    It was quite some time since I posted that initial plea for advice and help about a future career and I thought it would be interesting to update you all on what I'm up to.

    1) sacked the SU job. Qualified went and consolidated.

    2) in the TA AMS full screw Deploying very soon

    3) now in ED

    4) two years post reg thinking about commissioning after tour.

    My thoughts at the moment are - do I do my A&E course in civi street and the. Join as a Junior NO ED qualified or should I just join first and get rotated around before I can apply back to my speciality???

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)

  9. ...and your valuable and insightful professional contribution to this post is, what, precisely?

    Now bugger off and go roll up some bandages or something else nurse-like and usefully medical,

    tac, married to a nurse for 42 years.