Quantcast

a non-trad interested in military medicine

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

southpawcannon

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
296
Reaction score
10

Members don't see this ad.
Im a non traditional, recently turned 33 yr old male who has just begun graduate studies in the Biological Sciences. I will be applying next summer for acceptance into medical school in 2015. I have at times over the past couple of years considered the military route towards a career in medicine. However, Im on the fence because I don't fully understand the pros and more importantly the cons for someone my age. Certainly no disrespect meant towards any branch and the servicemen/ women, but I've had conversations with those reserves and retired and several recommended the Air Force, and so because of that, Im leaning towards that branch. Unfortunately, I dont know how to go about finding someone with whom I can speak to in my city who can give me accurate information about this path that isnt just from a recruiting persepective. Im open to hearing from anyone serving in any branch so that I can be better informed. I will say Im still very fit and improving my conditioning even more by increasing my participation in jujitsu, so from a health standpoint I feel I'd pass just fine.
 
Last edited:

Gastrapathy

I’m just here so I don’t get fined
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
5,572
Reaction score
5,179
Im a non traditional, recently turned 33 yr old male who has just begun graduate studies in the Biological Sciences. I will be applying next summer for acceptance into medical school in 2015. I have at times over the past couple of years considered the military route towards a career in medicine. However, Im on the fence because I don't fully understand the pros and more importantly the cons for someone my age. Certainly no disrespect meant towards any branch and the servicemen/ women, but I've had conversations with those reserves and retired and several recommended the Air Force, and so because of that, Im leaning towards that branch. Unfortunately, I dont know how to go about finding someone with whom I can speak to in my city who can give me accurate information about this path that isnt just from a recruiting persepective. Im open to hearing from anyone serving in any branch so that I can be better informed. I will say Im still very fit and improving my conditioning even more by increasing my participation in jujitsu, so from a health standpoint I feel I'd pass just fine.

Not sure what you're looking for here. This is what the entire forum is here to answer. Spend several hours reading the stickies and doing some searches and come back with specific questions.
 

southpawcannon

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
296
Reaction score
10
Fantastic. Thank you!

I guess for me the biggest concern is family life. When I have spoken to a few people about the idea of going the military route, I'm met with 'you're single, you can do it.' True, but I don't plan on being single forever. At 33, Id love to have a family in the near future. Being I came from a background of multiple marriages and divorces involving both my mother and father it's not something I want to experience nor create strain on a spouse nor put a child through. Separation from family for an extended period of time is my only concern. If I knew they could come with me or be very near wherever I go, Id definitely go this route.
If you live near an Air Force base with a medical facility, try to shadow an AF physician.

Here's a list:

http://www.ushospital.info/Air-Force.htm
 

Perrotfish

Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
8,224
Reaction score
4,549
Separation from family for an extended period of time is my only concern.. If I knew they could come with me or be very near wherever I go, Id definitely go this route.

Moving is one of the biggest sacrifices in military medicine, and it comes in two flavors:

1) Permanent Change of Station (PCSing). Every 2-4 years, on average, the military moves you somewhere new. You give them your preferences, and they really do try to take them into account, but unless you have a bizarre preference for something everyone else hates (you desperately want to live on the island of Saipan) odds are that at least some of these assignments will suck for you. Your family CAN come with you when you PCS, at least from the military's perspective. However the question is if they can come from your family's perspective. Your spouse's job may not move with you, your kids will need to leave all of their friends behind, etc. You'll be surrounded by DoD families going through the same thing, so its not quite the same as a civilian uprooting their family, but its still a big sacrifice.

2) Deployments and unaccompanied tours. For a year at a time the military can send just you somewhere that is too crappy for your family to even come with you. Warzones are the obvious example, you won't see them until its time to come home and your ability to communicate at all isn't guaranteed. There are also peacetime locations that don't have the ability to support families: A year in Guantanamo bay is unaccompanied, a year in Guam can be, etc. The frequency that you have to deal with this depends entirely on the current administration. There have been decades where only a handful of physicians needed to face an unaccompanied tours and no one went to war, on the other hand we just finished a decade where many physicians were deployed every other year for the duration of their obligation.

I feel like you need to do a lot more reading and ask a lot more questions before signing these papers. What do you understand about your obligations to the military? The length of your contract? How it affects your ability to match? Do you know what a GMO tour is? Do you understand what the military pays you? What the cost of a civilian medical school is relative to the military? Do your due diligence before you sign anything.
 

southpawcannon

Full Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2006
Messages
296
Reaction score
10
Thank you very much for your insightful response. I suppose I jumped the gun a bit by saying Id definitely go this route outside of the family concerns. The questions you presented at the end are ones I don't have a great bit of knowledge on. I'm a bit unsure of the questions to ask so Ill look for answers to the questions you left me to ponder in this forum as well as become more knowledgable about the path as a whole with other posts. I certainly want to be very informed before next year's application cycle.

Thank you again.

Moving is one of the biggest sacrifices in military medicine, and it comes in two flavors:

1) Permanent Change of Station (PCSing). Every 2-4 years, on average, the military moves you somewhere new. You give them your preferences, and they really do try to take them into account, but unless you have a bizarre preference for something everyone else hates (you desperately want to live on the island of Saipan) odds are that at least some of these assignments will suck for you. Your family CAN come with you when you PCS, at least from the military's perspective. However the question is if they can come from your family's perspective. Your spouse's job may not move with you, your kids will need to leave all of their friends behind, etc. You'll be surrounded by DoD families going through the same thing, so its not quite the same as a civilian uprooting their family, but its still a big sacrifice.

2) Deployments and unaccompanied tours. For a year at a time the military can send just you somewhere that is too crappy for your family to even come with you. Warzones are the obvious example, you won't see them until its time to come home and your ability to communicate at all isn't guaranteed. There are also peacetime locations that don't have the ability to support families: A year in Guantanamo bay is unaccompanied, a year in Guam can be, etc. The frequency that you have to deal with this depends entirely on the current administration. There have been decades where only a handful of physicians needed to face an unaccompanied tours and no one went to war, on the other hand we just finished a decade where many physicians were deployed every other year for the duration of their obligation.

I feel like you need to do a lot more reading and ask a lot more questions before signing these papers. What do you understand about your obligations to the military? The length of your contract? How it affects your ability to match? Do you know what a GMO tour is? Do you understand what the military pays you? What the cost of a civilian medical school is relative to the military? Do your due diligence before you sign anything.
 
Top