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American med students: Would you ever consider serving in the US Army?

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hrandani

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Out of all of the military branches I'd probably go with any of the other three first.

Pros: it's pretty great for fixing how bad your residency is, I hear you work a solid shift. They pay for your school, and you get a guaranteed job. Beats the hell out of doing research for a year waiting for the next match.

Cons: you're in the military, with all of the accouterments of that. Don't expect to get what you want, and don't expect it to be great. They call it service for a reason. I've heard you may not get a residency in what you want, either. Desirable residencies are few depending on the recruitment cycle.

That's as indepth as I'm going to go considering there is a military sub-forum here. There's even a military medical school, which I didn't know about and none of the recruiters bothered to inform me until I was already in medical school.
 

psipsina

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The airforce has a pretty sweet program where you graduate and do a civilian residency and then serve (instead of doing a military residency). They pay off your debt and give you extra $$ during your residency. I'd consider it but my husband is strongly opposed to me being shipped into a war torn country (thinks I'm safer in the inner city public hospital lol).
 

fleetgoddess

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The airforce has a pretty sweet program where you graduate and do a civilian residency and then serve (instead of doing a military residency). They pay off your debt and give you extra $$ during your residency. I'd consider it but my husband is strongly opposed to me being shipped into a war torn country (thinks I'm safer in the inner city public hospital lol).

The army does not allow civilian residencies at this time unlike some of the other branches but that can change yearly. Its just that currently they have more than enough spots for all the residents so they don't need to offer them but that also makes it easy to get the residency that you do want. Additionally as a resident the army and probably other military residents get paid way better than civilian residents. They get room and board based on location my boyfriend gets greater than 2000 /month for housing (Honolulu is expensive) + he still gets his pay as any resident. They also really obey the 80 hour work week unlike pretty much everywhere else I've been.

It is true he can't come and go as easily as he pleases and I personally do not want to be an army resident but there are many perks.

Negatives: owe back time, you can't do ANY residency you want, you have to wear funny uniforms, you have to pass a physical each year. Also my boyfriend is on some of the army medical scholarship billboards around... and he got paid no money for it. If i ever get a billboard or a modeling job... I want paid. :) Really the military owns you and I guess your image haha.
 
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MilkmanAl

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As far as I can tell, if you're going into anything other than primary care, the only incentive the military can offer is the opportunity to serve in the military. Consequently, just about everyone I've seen will advise you to join the military only if you would have joined anyway. The financial hit you'll take from serving is enormous, despite the fact that school will be "free."
 

J ROD

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As far as I can tell, if you're going into anything other than primary care, the only incentive the military can offer is the opportunity to serve in the military. Consequently, just about everyone I've seen will advise you to join the military only if you would have joined anyway. The financial hit you'll take from serving is enormous, despite the fact that school will be "free."

this the what I have realized too.

I am looking really hard at the Army Reserve. I like having a little more control. I still have to get alot more info. I would like to serve though but I want to be a citizen more than a soldier...in terms of time. I dont mind going out for 6 months every 2-3yrs, just not every yr.
 

SirGecko

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Out of all of the military branches I'd probably go with any of the other three first.

Pros: it's pretty great for fixing how bad your residency is, I hear you work a solid shift. They pay for your school, and you get a guaranteed job. Beats the hell out of doing research for a year waiting for the next match.

Cons: you're in the military, with all of the accouterments of that. Don't expect to get what you want, and don't expect it to be great. They call it service for a reason. I've heard you may not get a residency in what you want, either. Desirable residencies are few depending on the recruitment cycle.

That's as indepth as I'm going to go considering there is a military sub-forum here. There's even a military medical school, which I didn't know about and none of the recruiters bothered to inform me until I was already in medical school.
This isn't exactly true. If you want to do some hyper-specialized thing that the military doesn't really need then you won't get that. Other than that the military doesn't force you into a residency you don't want. If you don't match into a residency program that you want you can still reapply later. (after doing a GMO tour)

Another pro that most people don't really consider is that the opportunity cost of going back for more training later in your career isn't that high. You could do a fellowship and you still keep your same pay. (in the civilian world you would need to take a sizable pay cut) In addition you could even re specialize if you wanted. (of course overall you still aren't getting filthy rich but you have a stable income even if you are pursuing further education)

Really though if you want to know more about milmed check out the forum. You'll get a lot more information than you will here.
 

murfettie

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i think being an officer is not that fun, you are first an active duty military officer, second, a doctor.
i dated a lawyer in the navy, he was so busy being a navy officer he hardly ever had time to be a lawyer and deal with trials...
 

AirmanCatalyst

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Do it if your last name is Morgan. After you graduate med school you are an O-3 (Captain)!
 

Old Grunt

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this the what I have realized too.

I am looking really hard at the Army Reserve. I like having a little more control. I still have to get alot more info. I would like to serve though but I want to be a citizen more than a soldier...in terms of time. I dont mind going out for 6 months every 2-3yrs, just not every yr.

You should think about that before you sign anything.

I have a classmate in the Ready Reserves who had their medical education interrupted for deployment.

If you are in the IRR, you can get involuntarily mobilized, and the Army (or more precisely, HRC-STL) won't give a damn if you are a graduate student, to include being a law or medical student. There is this misconception that you can get a "deferment" simply by being a student (a la the Viet Nam days). That is not the case. In an all volunteer Army, you have little to protest when it comes to being deployed.

When it comes to personnel issues, reservists tend to have less control than active duty (IMO).

As a student, you will only be protected from deployment via the HPSP (or possibly that new Guard program).

The Army is always going to get more out of you than you are going to get out of it.

In response to the OP, I was in the Army, I would not go back in the Army as a physician or in any other capacity if given the option.

If I had to go back into the Army, I would only want to do so as an infantryman.

That probably is not germane to the answers you are looking for, but since you asked for opinions......
 

J ROD

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You should think about that before you sign anything.

I have a classmate in the Ready Reserves who had their medical education interrupted for deployment.

If you are in the IRR, you can get involuntarily mobilized, and the Army (or more precisely, HRC-STL) won't give a damn if you are a graduate student, to include being a law or medical student. There is this misconception that you can get a "deferment" simply by being a student (a la the Viet Nam days). That is not the case. In an all volunteer Army, you have little to protest when it comes to being deployed.

When it comes to personnel issues, reservists tend to have less control than active duty (IMO).

As a student, you will only be protected from deployment via the HPSP (or possibly that new Guard program).

The Army is always going to get more out of you than you are going to get out of it.

In response to the OP, I was in the Army, I would not go back in the Army as a physician or in any other capacity if given the option.

If I had to go back into the Army, I would only want to do so as an infantryman.

That probably is not germane to the answers you are looking for, but since you asked for opinions......

REALLY? I had been told that it is almost certain that you would not be pulled out. That is a def no deal for me....I wish I could get it in writing.
 

notdeadyet

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I have a classmate in the Ready Reserves who had their medical education interrupted for deployment.
A lot of this is dependent on your MOS. I've heard of trigger pullers, translators, and EOD types get called up a lot more often. They don't pull up folks out of a lottery, they pull up folks to fill in demand jobs. If you're infantry and IRR, you'd better have a program that guarantees you won't be deployed when you start med school.
There is this misconception that you can get a "deferment" simply by being a student (a la the Viet Nam days). That is not the case.
When it comes to personnel issues, reservists tend to have less control than active duty (IMO). [/quote]
Correct. And worth noting that if you're pulled up out of IRR, you are essentially no longer a reservist. Worth bearing in mind.
As a student, you will only be protected from deployment via the HPSP (or possibly that new Guard program).
Not true. There are a lot more programs than HPSP that protect you from deployment. Most programs geared towards medical students will protect you from deployment (HPSP/FAP/HCSP/STRAP/MDSSP/ASR/etc).

But just plain enlisting and thinking that saying "I'm a medical student" has some special powers is just silly.
 

notdeadyet

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REALLY? I had been told that it is almost certain that you would not be pulled out. That is a def no deal for me....I wish I could get it in writing.
What are you looking for? Which program?

Most of the programs people are involved in protect med students from deployment. Some protect them during residency, some do not. None protect them from deployment after residency.

If deploying at some point is an absolute deal-breaker, do not join the military in any context. Period.
 

Old Grunt

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REALLY? I had been told that it is almost certain that you would not be pulled out. That is a def no deal for me....I wish I could get it in writing.

Really. I know because I got involuntarily mobilized during finals as a med student. I applied, and was granted, an exemption simply because the deployment would have extended my one year past my MSO (total service obligation). The Army was sued, and lost, over this matter so now it's policy to not deploy IRR soldiers past their MSO (unless they want to be deployed). Being a medical student gives you little, if any, consideration for having your orders delayed or exempted.

I already mentioned my classmate in the ready reserves. Her unit got activated and she went. In that situation, you might be able to get out of deployment, but it would be at the commander's discretion. The decision would be out of your hands.

As a medical student with any sort of reserve obligation, the only sure fire way to be "non-deployable" is to do HPSP or that deal in the guard where you are a recruiter.

I wouldn't even bother to try to get anything in writing, as no recruiter has the latitude to tell you that you won't deploy.

If you want to serve in the military, you can always do so after you have completed residency and on your own terms.

Just my $.02
 

Old Grunt

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A lot of this is dependent on your MOS. I've heard of trigger pullers, translators, and EOD types get called up a lot more often. They don't pull up folks out of a lottery, they pull up folks to fill in demand jobs. If you're infantry and IRR, you'd better have a program that guarantees you won't be deployed when you start med school.

This is anecdotal, but my friends who were involuntarily mobilized and showed up said there really didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind the MOS thing (as long as it was a general MOS and not a specialty (doctor, pilot, lawyer). They were basically reclassifying everyone as civil affairs anyways.

When you are in the IRR, there really aren't any programs that are going to guarantee you anything (unless you want to incur more obligation). In my instance, I took a chance and rolled the dice and lucked out. Many of my friends did not and get involuntarily mobilized and deployed.

Correct. And worth noting that if you're pulled up out of IRR, you are essentially no longer a reservist. Worth bearing in mind.

You are a reservist until you report, but yes, you are activated to active duty. Just as is the situation with any other reservist or guardsman.

The problem with the IRR is that it is so unorganized that it's basically a crap shoot. It's gotten a little better, but it couldn't get much worse.

Not true. There are a lot more programs than HPSP that protect you from deployment. Most programs geared towards medical students will protect you from deployment (HPSP/FAP/HCSP/STRAP/MDSSP/ASR/etc).

I'll take your word for it. I am not involved in any of those programs and am certainly no expert.

But just plain enlisting and thinking that saying "I'm a medical student" has some special powers is just silly.

And wrong. The Army won't give a damn if you are medical student, unless they are going to get a military Dr. out of the deal.
 

notdeadyet

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You are a reservist until you report, but yes, you are activated to active duty. Just as is the situation with any other reservist or guardsman.
I probably wasn't being clear.

The point I was trying to make is that if you are in the Guard or Reserves, you are activated under the deployment tempo and policy of the Guard and Reserves. For instance, in the Medical Corps in the Guard right now, deployments are 90 days boots-in-sand (I believe this is also true for the Army Reserves, but don't know firsthand).

But if you are in IRR and called up, you are not activated under the deployment policies of the Guard or Reserves. All IRR folks are essentially treated the same upon activation, which is active Army.

Hope that makes more sense...
 
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