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Army ROTC/National Guard PA advice & questions

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Hey there! I'm a freshman in college, just starting my Army ROTC career. I'm currently a nursing major/biology minor, but looking to go to PA school after college. I'd like to serve in the National Guard for the 8 year contract (with ROTC scholarship) and I'm wondering how everything will work out or if it's a good fit for me. Also wondering if I would be non deployable during PA school? 

PLEASE feel free to express your experiences with being in a graduate program while serving in the National Guard (is it manageable? take away from your academics?) and what being a PA (or nurse) in the national guard looks like during drill weekends! I also have many worries about potentially starting a family while in the national guard and what that looks like with deployments/commitments, etc (how frequently do PAs / medical professions get deployed? What do those deployments look like in regards to the job I'd be preforming? Do you get any preference / choice of when and where you are deployed?) 

Sorry for all the questions! I'm very new at the military stuff and just trying to get all my information so I can make the best decisions in my future! I appreciate all of you and thank you for your service!! 

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It’s good you have a vision for the future, but focus on the current objective: Undergrad. You got 4 years ahead of you all of which will be dedicated towards nursing and ROTC. *Fist bump* for sprinting straight out the gate. Once you get through your general Ed (+\- first 2 years) then you should start thinking about graduate school. 2 years down the road you may not even want to be a PA. Nursing + ROTC is time consuming and if you want a good GPA you’re gonna need to do your absolute best 100% of the time . Just make sure you get all the pre-reqs into your schedule. Usually nursing programs have a set curriculum and asides from your basic sciences the upper division pre req sciences are probably not part of it. But hopefully you can fit them in with your Bio Minor? 

Currently, in my program we have one guard member  actively drilling. She passes all her exams but she dreds going to drill. Especially if drill weekend is the weekend before an exam. She’s expressed that she would have got out if she had the opportunity and then just go back in after graduation. PA school is already stressful and throwing in weekend drills is just unnecessary stress. 

When I was in the guard. Our PA hated being In the guard. He did nothing. Usually everyone was healthy and in 2 days of drill almost no one came to sick call so there was nothing for him to do. The man knew his stuff, by if there are no pts...there are not pts. He usually sat Around and Just went to brass meetings,  But that was just his experience, other’s mileage may vary. Active Duty PAs seemed happier with their military life overall IMHO. 

In regards to deployments, Guard members deploy a lot to random places( my guard unit deployed to Egypt [MFO mission]). So expect to go places when you’re in the Guard from time to time. Deployments are part of the military way. Get used to it. It’s very possible to do with a family, not easy but possible. 

Again though, focus on what’s in front of you then revisit the idea of PA School in a couple years. 


Good luck 

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