Air Force HPSP

SeminoleFan3

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  1. Attending Physician
    I've read the threads and whatnot, so please don't direct me to any of them unnecessarily.
    I'm currently finishing up my paperwork for the Air Force's HPSP. I'll be going to an out of state school (either Kentucky, or hopefully East Tennessee) where the tuition is at least $36,000/yr. I grew up in a military family, and my father is actually still in (although not as a physician).

    Has anyone had good experiences they'd like to share? I understand that the FP program isn't the greatest in the AF, but that's fine (because I don't really want to do FP). Right now my current interest lies in EM or some subspecialty (although not too exotic) in IM.
    I understand that a lot of people have had bad experiences with this program. However, I shadowed a few Navy docs who went this route and loved it (EM and Surgery).

    Also, with the 4 yrs of reserve status after you complete the active duty portion, can you leave the country at all for periods of time?
     

    resxn

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    1. Attending Physician
      Has anyone had good experiences they'd like to share?
      However, I shadowed a few Navy docs who went this route and loved it (EM and Surgery).

      Also, with the 4 yrs of reserve status after you complete the active duty portion, can you leave the country at all for periods of time?

      Good Experiences are as follows for me anyway:
      1 - short days. I work max a 50 hr week. I often have close to a 40 hr week.
      2 - access to pretty decent amenities for sports, food, tax-free electronics stuff
      3 - I get to teach residents, something I really enjoy
      4 - despite the decreased pay vs civilian life, I'm finally climbing out of debt incurred in residency
      5 - I have to go to the dentist--I'd never go on the outside, now I'm required to be seen once a year
      6 - I'm in my best shape since college since I'm required 3 hrs of PT a week
      7 - Enough time to get my golf handicap back below 5
      8 - I get every holiday under the sun off, plus some.
      9 - It's easy to cross the border with military ID
      10 - Large tax returns because they take all my taxes out of my two bonuses each year and that covers the rest of the year for me.
      11 - I get to thank the people I take care of for keeping my freedom.

      As for your second question, I guess I don't understand it. Why wouldn't you be able to leave the country for any amount of time after your commitment is up, especially if you resigned your commission?
       

      MeganRose

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      1. Resident [Any Field]
        Right now my current interest lies in EM or some subspecialty (although not too exotic) in IM.
        Please, please, please don't do it. If you want to do EM, plan on a minimum of a 2 year hiatus after medical school before you go to residency. I know that doesn't seem like a long time but when even run of the mill specialties like IM run the risk of having to become a GMO/Flight doc, the situation is not good. If you really want to serve, take the loans (painful, I know, I hate loans too) and after you've gotten to residency you can decide your own fate via FAP or by being a free person (which I highly recommend).

        Anywho, I know that you didn't ask for all this but as a fourth year who will likely be shut out of doing the (not very competative) specialty that I love, I really want to stop whoever I can from making the same mistake. Please stop and listen, you'll be thanking me in four years if you make the right decision.
        Sincerely,
        M
         
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        1. Attending Physician
          I've read the threads and whatnot, so please don't direct me to any of them unnecessarily.
          I'm currently finishing up my paperwork for the Air Force's HPSP. I'll be going to an out of state school (either Kentucky, or hopefully East Tennessee) where the tuition is at least $36,000/yr. I grew up in a military family, and my father is actually still in (although not as a physician).

          Has anyone had good experiences they'd like to share? I understand that the FP program isn't the greatest in the AF, but that's fine (because I don't really want to do FP). Right now my current interest lies in EM or some subspecialty (although not too exotic) in IM.
          I understand that a lot of people have had bad experiences with this program. However, I shadowed a few Navy docs who went this route and loved it (EM and Surgery).

          Also, with the 4 yrs of reserve status after you complete the active duty portion, can you leave the country at all for periods of time?

          I am an active duty Air Force Emergency Physician. I recommend you call me prior to signing so I can tell you what it is really like. PM me for the number. Yes there are good experiences. No they don't make up for the downsides.
           

          g293

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          1. Attending Physician
            I agree with the above-I'm a surgeon in my payback period. Is it all bad-absolutely not. Do you have any control over your life, where you live, when you move, what + where you'll do your residency in, how you'll practice, who you'll practice with and who your bosses will be--no.

            People entering HPSP now will likely be "screwed" in the future over residencies, because all the people who are now being forced in gmo/flight med tours will be coming out and applying for residency spots. You will not beat them out for any residency spot coming out of med school.

            Plz talk to the EM doc--they are closing ERs left and right and many ER's in the AF seem to be acute care clinics.

            I wish I had taken the debt and now could be in a practice, building equity in a house that I will live in for more than a year or two, and building a retirement plan.
             

            former military

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            1. Attending Physician
              if you are extremely lazy and don't really like to see and treat patients and you like to administrate and pontificate you should take the HPSP scholarship. If you are looking for money to save scary debt and you have it in your mind that you want a positive personal and professional career you would do yourself a huge favor and steer clear.

              many people think with hard work and positive thought they can make the military work... most of these people discover the pain of their mistake and regret it.
               

              DropkickMurphy

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              1. Other Health Professions Student
                I've read the threads and whatnot, so please don't direct me to any of them unnecessarily.
                I'm currently finishing up my paperwork for the Air Force's HPSP. I'll be going to an out of state school (either Kentucky, or hopefully East Tennessee) where the tuition is at least $36,000/yr. I grew up in a military family, and my father is actually still in (although not as a physician).

                Has anyone had good experiences they'd like to share? I understand that the FP program isn't the greatest in the AF, but that's fine (because I don't really want to do FP). Right now my current interest lies in EM or some subspecialty (although not too exotic) in IM.
                I understand that a lot of people have had bad experiences with this program. However, I shadowed a few Navy docs who went this route and loved it (EM and Surgery).

                Also, with the 4 yrs of reserve status after you complete the active duty portion, can you leave the country at all for periods of time?
                fcdeep.jpg
                 

                MedicalCorpse

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                1. Attending Physician
                  Has anyone had good experiences they'd like to share?

                  As a former LtCol senior anesthesiologist in the USAF who, as you may know, resigned his commission in protest and lost 15 years toward retirement, I did, in fact, have some good experiences while on active duty:

                  1) I trained in an excellent program at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center (sic), which has since been shuttered and merged with BAMC. Wilford Hall, the former flagship of USAF medicine for years, is now barely a superclinic.

                  2) I had the honor of caring for some of the best patients in the world: Tuskegee Airmen; WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq I, and Iraq II vets; and, let us not forget, the hard-working dependent spouses and their kids, who make the entire prospect of serving our country under fire bearable for their deployed loved ones. This made dealing with substandard care committed on these most deserving folks unbearable. When you care, everything bad hurts; when you don't care, it's all good.

                  3) I saved the life of a 9 year old child against the wishes of our administration. I got a Letter of Reprimand for this.

                  4) I ensured the safety of the mother of a hospital VIP pre-carotid-endarterectomy. I got a Letter of Reprimand for this.

                  5) I deployed in support of Operating Enduring Freedom as the only anesthesiologist in Turkey. I worked with extremely competent CRNAs to make the world safe for colonoscopies, EGDs, and knee scopes. I got to enjoy the hospitality and graciousness of the Turkish people while essentially restricted to Adana, as my security clearance never came through, so I couldn't go downrange on any cool missions. I did, however, perfect my Starcraft, Diablo II, and Kohan skills while playing computer games in my luxurious VIP suite in the Hodja Inn.

                  6) I got almost every single Federal Holiday off, when I wasn't on in-house call for 24 hours doing the jobs of the incompetent (and lazy) interns, residents, RNs, phlebotomists, and techs by drawing blood and starting IVs on patients at all hours of the night. We wrote several policies stating Rules of Engagement for IVs (i.e., some doc had to have tried before calling anesthesia). They were all ignored. I got good at IVs...well, after 10 years as an anesthesiologist, better.

                  7) I learned medicine at USUHS, the best medical school in the country, in my humble opinion. There is no med school on earth, I am convinced, which combines such solid grounding in the Art and Science of Medicine with the esprit de corps and mission-oriented focus of the military. This made graduation from residency, with its attending (sic) shock at the perverted values of "the Real Air Force" (CYA, optimize personal OPR, screw subordinates & patients), that much more intolerable to anyone who got an "A" in ELSA ("Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects" of Medicine at USU). P.S. I got an "A".

                  8) I made the august rank of Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), which entitled me to being blown off by Army E-1s while walking around Walter Reed's campus; to be called "the anesthesia dude" to my face by an Air Force E-3; and to be yelled at by a nurse midwife O-4 when I refused to honor her request for an epidural for "her" patient before consulting with the M.D. resident in charge of the Labor Deck.

                  9) I personally stood up against CRNA independent practice at Travis AFB in 1999-2000 (the Great MD-CRNA Civil War). I prevented same while there. As a result, I was rewarded with unaccompanied PCS orders to Elmendorf without my two autistic kids and my AD USAF FP wife, who was on the labor deck at 29 weeks in premature labor with my third son. In the end, independent practice was instituted at Travis anyway, to the permanent detriment of a young, active duty troop: http://www.medicalcorpse.com/MII Travis AFB FINAL 7 Nov 03.ppt

                  10) I personally saved the lives of several patients who were almost killed by the incompetence of various people (M.D.s, CRNAs, techs, RNs) who were placed into positions way beyond their capabilities by an Air Force system which does not vet for clinical acumen, but rather for shoulder decoration:
                  • "Oh, the pulse ox is working now (that the patient has an airway), thanks"
                  • "You mean you want me to call in the pediatrician? The heart can't have any problem, because it isn't enlarged on CXR"
                  • "The patient has to be in jackknife prone, not sitting up, when doing a hypobaric spinal? Oh."
                  • "Dr. Jones, analgesia is different from sedation. But...epidural duramorph can cause worsening hypotension when the patient is sitting at 70 systolic? Oh."
                  • "Come quick, the patient just had a one beat run of V-Tach! Oh, um, it was a PVC. Oh, yeah, I forgot they had a different name for that. Never mind."
                  • "I didn't know that sufentanil and vecuronium cause bradycardia (leading to bradyasystole in this patient)...But you did...Oh..."
                  • "Oh, you mean mg/kg/hr is different from mcg/kg/minute? So 6 mcg/kg/minute isn't enough to sedate an active duty O-6 M.D. who is intubated and paralyzed...Oh..."
                  • "Just because the textbooks say we need cardiopulmonary bypass backup for a symptomatic anterior mediastinal mass doesn't mean we can't TRY to do her surgery here..."
                  • "Don't worry, Dr. Jones, he lives there" (with 3 mm, downsloping ST depression going on for an hour without my being called, vs. 0.6 mm ST depression at baseline). "No, X, nobody lives there...he's going to DIE there if we don't do something" (didn't succeed in this one...sadly)
                  • etc. Many more examples in my book: http://www.medicalcorpse.com/fithexcerpt.html
                  Those were my 10 best memories. Please do not ask me for my worst memories.

                  Your "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" antidote,

                  --
                  R

                  P.S.

                  11) Teaching MS-Is at USU...a supreme honor
                  12) Teaching MS-IIIs at Andrews...always rewarding
                  13) Getting the USU Department of Anesthesiology Outstanding Medical Student Educator award for July 03-June 04 (a period
                  of extreme stress and depression for me)...inadvertently given to me on my birthday by my Absentee Landlady...extremely rewarding.
                  14) Signing the paperwork to leave the Air Force after 24 years in uniform (including ROTC and USU)...priceless.
                   

                  USAFdoc

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                  1. Attending Physician
                    7) I learned medicine at USUHS, the best medical school in the country, in my humble opinion. There is no med school on earth, I am convinced, which combines such solid grounding in the Art and Science of Medicine with the esprit de corps and mission-oriented focus of the military. This made graduation from residency, with its attending (sic) shock at the perverted values of "the Real Air Force" (CYA, optimize personal OPR, screw subordinates & patients), that much more intolerable to anyone who got an "A" in ELSA ("Ethical, Legal, and Social Aspects" of Medicine at USU). P.S. I got an "A".14) Signing the paperwork to leave the Air Force after 24 years in uniform (including ROTC and USU)...priceless.


                    yes, the "perverted values of the REAL Air Force" says it well.

                    "priceless"....yes, that too.
                     
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