Originally Posted by edyizme
Great, well, it sounds like you sort of have an insider's view on the Naval dental life even if you aren't one yet. Can you tell us all about what life is like on a carrier for a dentist? From talking to a former Navy engineer, he made it sound like the dentists and doctors live pretty chill lives compared to the other Naval officers on board (who work pretty much 24/7). Do you know what theirs hours of working are like (I hear it can be 6 days a week), what the working conditions are like, how many there are, and what there is to do when you aren't working?
Also, what's life on the carrier like in general in terms of living conditions, length of deployments, locations.
If you could give insight into any of those questions I think it'd be much appreciated! Thanks.
since there is a nor'easter blowing outside and i am stuck on the ship today for duty, i suppose i have plenty of time to flesh out a little of NAVY DDS's response to your questions about carrier life for a dental officer.
first, you will come to notice your place as a second-class officer. once the line guys see the staff corps insignia on your collar, you will be treated differently. sometimes, it is with deference and respect, but generally, you are not expected to contribute much to the overall function of the ship. this is partially by design - Navy instruction prevents any provider corps member from standing any watch (other than a departmental duty watch) on an active warship (both inport and underway). this doenst mean line side officers arent friendly and socialable, it just means that from an occupational standpoint, there are significant differences.
my daily schedule while we are underway looks something like this:
0600-0730 - breakfast... but i rarely make it out of my rack until 0730
0830 - morning meeting with all health services officers and chiefs
0900-1100 - morning patients (operative, endo, exams, etc)
1100-1300 - lunch
1300-1500 - afternoon patients
1500-1800 - PT time, etc
1800-1900 - dinner or evening patients (depending on the day)
2030 - occasional cigar with the medical guys
its pretty relaxed, we see the patients we need to see and dont stress too much. we have an evening rotation, and the 5 docs take one evening per week for exams. if we need to work a patient in, we can do that in the evenings as well. i run a little bleaching clinic on some evenings, but only because i want to. we do work 6 days a week, and might even take a sickcall on Sunday, if we are down in the clinic for computer access or aomething.
the clinic has seven operatories, a couple offices, a lab and some random other spaces (fan rooms, compressor rooms.) we have adec chairs, Kavo electric handpieces, Vit-L-escence, EsthetX, Filtek Supreme composite resines, Dentsply rotary endo files, all the burs, rubber dams, and amalgam you could ever want. this is an operational situation. no implants, no ortho, limited perio (1 RDH), no kids (obviously). 3 general dentists, one prosth, one OMFS. oral and IV sedation available from our ship's CRNA. woot!
my stateroom is a 2-man, located underneath one of the wardrooms (where officers eat) in an area of the ship known as 'Sleepy Hollow'. its quiet, i can control the thermostat for my side of the p-way from my room, and we have our own head down the p-way. two bunked racks, desks, drawers, chairs. i even have a refridgerator and a flat screen TV mounted at the foot of my rack. we have DirectTV when we are in US waters, and when we deploy we pick up a variety of statinos, depending on location. in the Gulf and off the coast of Pakistan, it is mostly an Arabian satillite network called 'Orbit'. we also have 3 movie channels on board, running movies almost all day; old stuff, new stuff, stuff not even out on DVD yet. its a pretty good variety.
the tough part of all this is the amount of time out to sea. by the time my 24 or 25 months on the carrier are up, i will have been gone 19+ months, including 2 deployments. i will have missed two wedding anniversaries, both birthdays for my youngest daughter, funerals, reunions, innumerable federal holidays. the extra sea pay, family separation allowance, and combat pay hardly begin to make up for all that time gone. if a ship isnt going out to sea, then it isnt doing its job and someone isnt getting promoted (i.e. your CO)
i have frineds that have had a much less active ship tour than i have. it behooves you to really quiz your detailer about where a particular ship is in it's life cycle. nonetheless, this is the Navy, we have ships and those ships take dentists to far-off, watery locations.