Active Duty Family Practice

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Sep 28, 2012
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Would any FP docs be willing to compare/contrast the military's version of family practice with that of the civilian world?
Do you have the opportunity to develop rewarding relationships with your patients and their families or do you feel like its mostly sick call?
Do you have opportunity for inpatient medicine?
What about cradle to the grave care? Are many of your patients at either end of the age spectrum? Any geriatric medicine or patients with complicated long term health conditions?


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10+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2008
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This is going to depend on where you are stationed and what capacity you are practicing.
There is a large spectrum of medicine you can do. My experience is mostly with the Navy so I will fill you in on that aspect of it.

Operational - there are multiple jobs that you would be doing on this side including dive, flight surgery, marines, and shipboard duties. You are generally assigned to a squadron, ship, marine unit, etc.. You would act as the primary care manager for your unit. Your scope is adolescent to adults. You may have a few patients >50 but not many. This is generally the most fun as you are doing what you came into the military to do. You usually deploy often and you get to know your patients very well as you not only care for them but eat and sleep near them. This is mostly sick call and prev med duties with a mix of interesting pathology here and there. On ships there is some inpatient stuff but anything too serious should be flown off as soon as it can.

Overseas - there are still a few spots that do full scope (inpatient, OB, etc). Think of these places as small community hospitals. You will do some Peds, geriatrics, everything in some spots.

Stateside Hospital - some are full scope but these may all be reduced to clinic duty here real soon.

Stateside Clinic - your population will be peds to geriatrics. Little to no OB. You can bond with your patients similarly to civilian side but you or they will likely get transferred every 2-3 years so those long-lasting relationships are hard to come by. Unlike the civ area where you are the family doc for possibly years, that is not the case with us.
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