Last week, Brandon received an email that it is time to fill out his "dream sheet." The dream sheet is where we get to list the places we would like for Brandon to receive an assignment.
We're only six months in at this point, so I was a bit surprised that it's already time to be thinking about this. We had been told that we could potentially be stationed here for six years, so PCSing feels very far away. But, realistically, they could move us much sooner than that (and we could request to move anytime after the two year mark).
Filling out the dream sheet is complicated for us. We have to make some major decisions. Brandon is required to work ER for two years, but can request to switch to something else after that. It's not guaranteed that the request would be granted. . . there is a shortage of ER nurses, so if the needs of the Air Force dictate him staying ER, then that has priority.
There are only a few bases that have fully functioning hospitals with ERs. So, if he stays ER, there is a limited number of options for the next duty station. Of these, only one or two would make the cut for an actual location based dream sheet. The rest of our top bases do not have ERs, and would require a career change.
So, the big question is, what does Brandon want to do with his career? Honestly, I don't think he has an answer to that yet. He is still so new to the Air Force that he is still learning about all of the opportunities he has. He could go a lot of different directions, and he's still trying to decide what the best fit is for him. I think there is a strong chance that he will stay ER and eventually go into ER management. He loves the ER, and he is good at it.
The real question for us has become whether Brandon is going to make a firm decision on a career path and list duty stations where he could further that, or just "roll the dice" so to speak by putting down our top location choices and agreeing to work wherever they stick him.
As crazy as the last option sounds, we are honestly thinking about it. He'll be a Captain when this next PCS happens, and we've seen the same thing happen to experienced Captains over and over again here: they get this duty station, work a few weeks in the ER, then get pulled to another department. Captains need to get management experience in order to advance to the next rank, so sometimes they get randomly plugged into available management spots. It would be disappointing to sacrifice our very top choices for duty station in order to stay ER, then Brandon get switched to another department anyway.
Like I said before, it's complicated. . . and truthfully, we could think about this from every angle and make a perfect plan-- then the Air Force could throw us a curveball that changes everything.
But in the meantime, it's fun to dream about all the exciting places we could live.