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Pros of military medicine

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Homunculus, Jan 30, 2006.

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  1. Galo

    Galo Senior Member

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    I fully agree with this!! You come out of nowhere with absolutely no description of what you do or are, and expect that we rebare our souls. Everything you have asked has been stated here by multiple people. However, if you want a new perspective that supposedly is going directly to the leadership of the Military Health System, please activate the following link to see what other current active duty military physicians are saying:

    http://www.health.mil/Debates/Debate.aspx?ID=9&a=1

    Let us know what your angle is here bibio7??
  2. elderjack21

    elderjack21

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    I read the title of this thread and thought...a pro military medicine thread?

    Couldn't happen on SDN. And I was right.

    Clearly anyone who offers anything positive about military medicine/HPSP/USUHS must be beaten down, is ignorant, and has no experience in life/military/medicine worth mentioning.

    Love it.
  3. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus

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    You know, it's not that I disagree with the detractors--I've learned a lot from them and think that they definitely have made many good points, but it just seems to me that there's no room on here for anything remotely positive, given the propensity of the detractors to be exceedingly vocal. However, isn't that usually the case? The detractors are usually the most vocal? On a similar note, I'm not for the diehard cheerleaders, either, since they tend to be overly-optimistic. Neither have a monopoly on the truth.

    Definitely pay close attention to the negatives stated here, but also keep in mind that SDN is but one resource. Talk to as many people as you can and then make your own judgment.
  4. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    Part of the problem is that 9 out of 10 times the pro-military medicine voices really are pre-meds or med students spouting off completely ridiculous stuff.

    So yeah, of course they're going to get shot down.
  5. LikesScience

    LikesScience class of 2012

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    I agree that it's very hard to take some people seriously when the idea of someone else having a positive experience in the military is so offensive to them they refuse to acknowledge that it is even possible. At this point, the thing that scares me most about military medicine is the possiblity of getting stuck serving with someone who never stops complaining. It's not a good choice for everyone, but there are much less desirable ways to go through life than as a military doc.
  6. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    See what I'm talking about here?
  7. LikesScience

    LikesScience class of 2012

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    No, but I do see what I'm talking about. Just sayin' how some people around here sound sometimes.
  8. Galo

    Galo Senior Member

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    He did not come on this thread to post anything positive. Very likely he is either a rucruiter, or med or pre-med student who has never been in a mil med enviromment to make a comment either way. But he comes to put into question our bad experiences.

    I've yet to see someone post on this thread something positive that would even come close to the negative aspects of practicing medicine in the military.
  9. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus

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    So, let me get this straight:

    It seems to me that you guys are saying that milmed is crashing badly, it is a failing system (worse than the trend seen in civilian medicine, which is also badly failing), and it hasn't even hit bottom yet. You say there are relatively few advantages (if any) to being a miltary physician that make it worth doing over being a civilian physician, that we are going to be used and pimped rotten by the military as a milmed physician, and there's not even the faintest hope of ever being happy as a milmed physician. So basically, you are saying that we shouldn't even sign up because we are just going to regret it for the rest of our lives, that there is no good reason to become a military physician. Did I get it right, or am I still missing something?

    Is it really that bad? Is it still even possible to do what we signed up to do, which is to help soldier's and their families through medicine? Are there no happy military physicians at all?

    What if after reading all these negatives, some of us still want to be military physicians, because we still believe in the mission? What does that make us? Are we going to regret this choice for the rest of our lives? Is there no hope for happiness? I mean, I've chosen to do certain things in my life before, because I believed it was the right choice, even though people have criticized me heavily for doing so, saying that it was an absolutely idiotic idea. Yet, I felt that I benefitted a tremendous amount from the experiences associated with these choices, even if they were filled with negatives, and I have yet to regret any of them.
  10. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    This comment is ridiculous b/c there are a heck of a lot worse things in the military then working with whiners. Also, that fact that you actually think all these people are complaining "just b/c they're complainers" is pretty naive.

    I'd personally rather work with a bunch of whiners instead of having my medical license jeapordized by an EMR has randomly erased notes that I've written.

    The reason this comment is completely ridiculous is b/c it could be applied to every single job in the history of the world. Sure, being a garbage man isn't for everyone, but there are worse ways to go through life!
  11. orbitsurgMD

    orbitsurgMD Senior Member

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    Do you really think the military just had a bad streak in recruiting to HPSP and USUHS years back and darned if they didn't get a bunch of chronic complainers that were so bad, they still couldn't shut up even after they left the service? Poor them, if that is true. No one deserves that.

    Really, do you think it might have been possible that those who write here in negative tones might have come to the party ready to do their part for the mission? Can you imagine that the negativity wasn't just their innate personality flaw but perhaps something that arose from their longstanding experience and frustration with an organization that really behaved indifferently to their mission, that wasn't committed to providing training, support and other necessary elements to good medical care? Do you suppose that there might be some conflict between the belief that as military doctors we should be able to bring a level of service and expertise at least equal to the standards promoted by the medical schools that taught us good care from bad and the reality of an organization indifferent to quality? Do you suppose it might have been frustrating to work for institutions that shirked their responsibilities to both the doctors and patients, by failing their duty to provide adequate training and support to the enterprise of graduate medical education and subsequent practice?

    Those aren't trivial issues, they really go to the heart of your question: "Is it still even possible to do what we signed up to do, which is to help soldier's and their families through medicine?" I would say that without the proper support, and without an organization that doesn't degrade itself to the lowest common denominator of careerism and callous thrift in the service of pointless metrics, the answer is no.

    Wouldn't that make you angry?
  12. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    I'd say that description is a bit over the top. From what I've witnessed (only at med cen's and large clinics, i've not worked at any of the smaller locations), mil med is not about to suddenly crash. But, there are a lot of problems, and new ones keep coming up at a much faster rate then the old ones are getting fixed.

    The majority of mil med docs do get out after their commitment, and it's not just b/c they want higher pay. The amount of sheer BS you'll be putting up with as a mil med doc is astronomical. There are some good docs who stay in, but those are the ones who usually have an enormous commitment from USUHS + fellowship (and sometimes from college too). So after hitting 15 it's frequently worth it to stay for 20 yrs.

    Well, if you do sign up, the chances are at least 85 % that the above quote is going to true.

    Taking care of wounded troops is extremely important, and they absolutely deserve the best care. But trust me, it's not that much fun while you're doing it. Especially when you're busting your a$$, working day in and day out to take care of these troops, only to have the media, society, and even some extremely ignorant physicians on this website accuse you of providing substandard care.

    There are some happy mil med physicians. They're just minority. But there certainly is hope. Just go in knowing that more likely than not you'll regret it. Remember in medicine you don't just start "supporting the mission." You go through extremely hard training for 8 years first. After all that time, frequently priorities can change. Whereas, if you enlisted, like the majority of troops do, you'd be getting out after 8 years.

    Remember that you don't have to do HPSP to be a military doc. FAP is always an option.
  13. i want out

    i want out Member

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    have you ever heard the phrase;

    "you dance with the devil, the devil don't change, the devil changes you"

    the DOD as an organization has had over 200 years of experience breaking people down.

    If the overwhelming experience of a group of people, is that greater than 95% of them leave the DOD, then you can either believe its because 95% of us are not patriots, or are money hungry, or any other stupidity you want to insert, or you can look at what I consider the reality, and be aware, that there is some inherent flaw in the system that requires a constant flow of new blood.

    "with an endless supply of completely expendable labor, anything can be accomplished."

    i want out (of IRR)

    On some level, I will be a different person for the rest of my life as a result of the time that I spent in Military medicine. Some of it was good, but overwhelmingly most of it is bad. I find some nights it is hard to sleep because I can't quit thinking about some of the things that happened, now 3-4 years ago. I hope the pain dims with time, but right now, that is only a hope.
  14. sethco

    sethco Senior Member

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    Kind of funny that you say this because the line (or ops side) generally views the medical side as a hinderance to mission completion.

    I'm just saying...
  15. USAFdoc

    USAFdoc exUSAFdoc

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  16. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending

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  17. bustbones26

    bustbones26 Senior Member

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    I joined in this forum kind of late and read skimmed through 5 pages but in case nobody mentioned it, there is one benefit of military medicine. I call it the "golden ticket"

    This is where you put in a 20-30 year career and retire. Which means that you get tricare for life plus a pension. Then, you just come back to your department on a civilian contract because "you know how much you're needed and you can really help out" by----

    Working four ten hour days per week with every friday off
    See about six patients per week
    Never work weekends
    Never take call
    No responsibility to the department because you are not active duty anymore

    All while raking in an approximate GS-15 salary, again, on top of your pension and tricare for life.

    Ah, the golden ticket!

    Everybody here can already think of a few people like this. It is the end of the rainbow for anybody that can stick it out for 20 years.
  18. elderjack21

    elderjack21

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    Coming from the operations side...this is untrue.
  19. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    He's referring to the generals, not the troops.
  20. alpha62

    alpha62 Removed

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    If you pulled 20-30 easy years camping out in Germany, Hawaii, Panama between 1970-2000, it probably was a good deal. Those days are over.

    anybody that stays in now is a fool. go ahead, do 20-30 years now. When it's over, you can sit on top of your little pile of money and your tricare for life. Enjoy it, because that's all you'll have. your wife will have left you long ago on your 6th deployment, your kids will hate you, that is if they're not in rehab.

    I work on these fully institutionalized relics of the cold war. when I don't see them at the office listening to their self-entitled crap ( because 20 years of simulated combat is hell on a guy) , I just buy them a drink so they'll just shut the hell up.
  21. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member

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    I think fool is a bit over the top. There certainly has to be a level of dedication. Op-tempo does take its toll, but not all of us are on the verge of divorce with kids who hate us.
  22. elderjack21

    elderjack21

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    We didn't have any generals at the battalion and group (BDE) level, not sure what millitary force you are in.
  23. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    I'm not really sure what you're talking about. Obviously the foot soldiers aren't going to have an issue with mil med. The higher ups who make the rules are the ones who see mil med as a drain on money that could be better used for fighting wars.
  24. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member

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    Great point as this is often the case!!! But do realize that the medical and premedical students that are now accepting HSPS and USUHS are doing so fully realizing that they will likely be deployed (or at least they better)! This is in sharp contrast to those accepting positions in the cozy 90s with no real threat of hostile deployment (well...I guess you could consider the brown snake in Guam hostile)! If you read many of the negative posters here you'll see most started or finished medical school in the late 90s.

    But…I'm glad SDN has this forum for both the pros and cons of military medicine (although it APPEARS the cons definitely outweigh the pros) b/c it definitely will help weed out the future complainers!
  25. bustbones26

    bustbones26 Senior Member

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    I think you missed the hidden sarcasm in my thread. I for one actually have little respect for the golden ticket recipients. Having them in a department disallows for the opportunity to hire people that actually want to do work. In fact, it sickens me that there are civilian employees that work full time, take call, see tons of patients, etc. etc and make much less than these golden ticket idiots.
  26. sethco

    sethco Senior Member

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    I gotta disagree here. Everybody is happy during the first 2-3 years of med school it seems. Most of the discontent that some people have would start either after med school or residency. Keep in mind, this is not everybody. Really, nobody seems to complain at all when their classmates are racking up 200K+ in loans and they are getting a monthly stipend in addition to having their education free. The complaining usually starts after this "honeymoon" period.

    Regardless, at least the people that come on SDN can't say that they weren't informed.

    Now, if we are trying to push the thread back in the right direction...

    1) Care for the most compliant/greatful/giving population
    2) Deployed pay, while not making up for being away from the family, is definitely an added benefit (i.e. No Fed Taxes, Still get Base/BAH/BAS in addition to Per Diem, Family Sep, Hostile Fire Pay, Save Pay)
    3) Commisary/BX/Fitness Center access
    4) In some parts of the country (mostly the midwest), active duty members are still respected (Seriously, I would like to kick the living sh*t out of all those Berkeley protestors)
    5) No malpractice/practice/overhead fees
    6) Paid medical insurance for yourself and dependents
    7) TSP (While there is no match, it is still pre-tax dollars with pretty good historic returns)
    8) GI Bill (Once again, another plug for this...If you are eligible to sign up, do it, even if you already completed residency)
    9) Deployments breaking up the monotony of office/paper work
    10) BAH being adjusted for area of country that you are stationed
    11) Probably, most importantly...Service to country

    All I can think of for right now. Maybe we can get this thread back on the right track? :rolleyes:
  27. alpha62

    alpha62 Removed

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    Navy. yeah, there's a big difference in that kind of duty. Solid Navy marriages... pleezzzze ! I used to work on West Pac widows, pretty easy for them to keep the faith looking like they do. Let's just say if I were have been paid by the ton, instead of the hour, I would have retired 10 years ago by now.

    If you've ever seen the movie "Wild At Heart" I think my personal hero, Bobby Peru (you know, like the country) said it best....

    " Pretty hard makin contact with the people sittin in a boat out in the fu*kin Gulf of Tonkin ! "
  28. Lab Rat MD

    Lab Rat MD

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    So how does this really work.. u get HPSP.. do 4 years med then 4 yrs of an internship and you're out!! is this possible??? residency is not a requirement??? what are the internships in?? can you do a surgery internship??
  29. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator

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    Try reading the stickies. They are talking about doing a one year internship, followed by a four year GMO tour. 99% of your answers will be in the stickies.
  30. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Lifetime Donor

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    IgD wrote that post over three years ago. I'm sure that he has changed his view of the military and would now not sing such high praises. Also, the laws of the GI bill have changed over the past year and may not apply toward residency. Yes, you can get med school paid for with only four years of work with the military, but there are a lot of people on this website who regret taking the scholarship. You should read long and hard about HPSP to see if it's right for you.
  31. AF M4

    AF M4 Junior Member

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    Heh, when I separate I shall tell you legends of my active duty time, culled from the folder of Memos for Record I've got saved on my hard drive.
  32. You get thirty days of paid vacation; are those your only days off per year, or do you get weekends in addition, what about holidays?

    Also, I've heard some say it is difficult to get work as a civilian after your commitment is up; is this true?
  33. ksc

    ksc

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    Studentdoc79,

    I don't see how serving could make things more difficult for you when you start job hunting in the civilian world. If you think about it, by the time you apply, you've already got your residency training and several years of valuable real-world experience as a practicing physician under your belt, so that puts you ahead of colleagues simply coming out of residency. If anything, I think the extra years of practice added to the fact that it was in service to your country only enhances your app.
  34. DrMetal

    DrMetal To shred or not shred? Lifetime Donor

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    Yes, you get 30 days paid leave/year. You can accumulate as much as 70 days of leave.

    Now, your ability to take that leave, as well as your holidays/weekends off . . . that all depends on your work/study schedule. Certainly, you'll be working some holidays/weekends.
  35. a1qwerty55

    a1qwerty55 Attending

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    I don't know anyone who has had a difficult time finding work in the civilian sector. Only those surgical specialities which need a lot of case volume are likely to have issues - examples being CT surgery. Everyone else shouldn't have any difficulty. I routinely get 2-3 advertisements a day from pretty much every region of the country, and type of practice setting (group vs. HMO vs. academic medical center etc.). The hard part will be choosing one.
  36. Thanks for the responses; just trying to make the right choice. The cons portion of this thread has me second guessing myself. Mostly the parts about not getting alot of experience in your specialty and having more administrative officer stuff than physician stuff to do. Maybe there are just a few bitter people that arent giving me a realistic picture.
  37. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Lifetime Donor

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    Who has given you a "realistic" picture? What did that "realistic" picture consist of? Why are the bitter people's experiences not realistic?
  38. There are some opposing views on this subject, that is all I am saying. I am thankful for the information as I am considering military medicine myself. I don't think I was unclear about this.

    Not looking to rationalize every one of my statements with proofs.
  39. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator

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    Had me fooled. When you say that "a few bitter people aren't giving me a realistic picture" it kinda implies that somehow their experiences are either not representative or they're misleading. Opposing views is great, but when you pooh-pooh the bitter folks, it sort of suggests a bias.
  40. Okay, few is the opposite of most right? I'm not in for an argument sorry if I offended you.:)

    I don't think this is a good place for me. My mistake.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2009
  41. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator

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    No offense taken. Just pointing out why you may have confused some folks.
    Sorry to hear it. Safe travels...
  42. NavyFP

    NavyFP Senior Member

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    I would not say this is a poor place for you. There are many pertinent issues raised on this forum all the time. Just try to stay away from the arguments. I find that many of the negative posters have valid complaints don't discount them out of hand. My experiences with the military have been more positive and I try to share them.
  43. MSS07

    MSS07

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    So can we start now with the Pro comments this thread has gone a little off topic, I started reading the first few pages but the back and forth arguments are really distracting. My question is why are people writing negative comments under the Pro milmed thread, isn't that supposed to go under the cons of milmed thread. It just makes it hard for "ignorant" med students like myself to read this thread.
  44. DrMetal

    DrMetal To shred or not shred? Lifetime Donor

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    You're seeking some kind of fidelity and continuity on an on-line public forum that's barely managed??? Cmon, as Chris Rock would say, "That's like playing basketball with a retarded kid and calling him out for double-dribble. You gotta let some sh** slide!"

    Do a lot of reading and extensive searching. There's a lot of good info here, yes it's all scattered but so be it. It may take your hours or even days, but it's well worth it. Post back when you specific, focused questions that you were unable to find answers for (but do search extensively, I can assure you a lot of things here have been hashed out over and over again).
  45. MSS07

    MSS07

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    :) Yeah, you're right.
  46. genomic girl

    genomic girl

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    what do you mean? after med school you have to do your residency with the military (3 years at least) then + 4 years....what do you mean put your residency training on hold for 4 years?
  47. orbitsurgMD

    orbitsurgMD Senior Member

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    Why do a hard and boring residency? Right after medical school you can have a Great Medical Opportunity!
  48. Gastrapathy

    Gastrapathy no longer apathetic

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    OK, I've got a pro.

    I had a MOH recipient give me a coin today.

    Thats a pretty cool thank you note.
  49. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule

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    I've got a cool and unique pro most doc's can't say they've done: I flew w/General McChrystal and President Karzai back from Marjah about a month ago on the back of a sh*tter (CH-53E)! By far, my most memorable military experience so far.
  50. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator

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    What I think IgD means (or "meant" when he wrote it last year) is that the military might force you to do a GMO tour after your internship year before going to residency. This is more likely if you're interested in competitive specialties, especially in the AF or Navy. After two years working as a GMO, you can apply again for your specialty of choice. If you don't get it, you'll have served your four years and now have to apply for the civilian match.

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