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flightdoc165

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I am currently a Navy flight surgeon and am planning on filling my HPSP 4 yr commitment as a flight surgeon--I have 3 years down (or will this June, at least), and am eligible to separate from the military Summer 2008. I will therefore be applying to civilian residencies this coming year. I was wondering if anyone on this forum had any experience with this, and if so, if you could share what it was like. Do you think your experience as a military GMO was looked on favorably by programs, or did the fact that you had been out of GME for several years negatively impact your application? Did you apply strictly through ERAS and go through the match, or did you match outside the match? Did they make you repeat your internship? Any guidance/advice/input on the process would be greatly appreciated by myself, as well as the many HPSPers in GMOland currently who are in the same boat. Thanks!
 

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I was a surgical intern, and am planning on applying for PM&R. But I'd rather this discussion not be specialty specific, but more of a general discussion of applying to civilian residencies post GMO-time. Although I understand that some residencies may be more open to the whole GMO thing than others.
 

HumptyDumptyMil

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I am currently a Navy flight surgeon and am planning on filling my HPSP 4 yr commitment as a flight surgeon--I have 3 years down (or will this June, at least), and am eligible to separate from the military Summer 2008. I will therefore be applying to civilian residencies this coming year. I was wondering if anyone on this forum had any experience with this, and if so, if you could share what it was like. Do you think your experience as a military GMO was looked on favorably by programs, or did the fact that you had been out of GME for several years negatively impact your application? Did you apply strictly through ERAS and go through the match, or did you match outside the match? Did they make you repeat your internship? Any guidance/advice/input on the process would be greatly appreciated by myself, as well as the many HPSPers in GMOland currently who are in the same boat. Thanks!

Do you think you will have problems applying and interviewing for residency while your still AD? I have heard about GMO/FS being overseas or busy with stuff they couldnt get out of and not being able to apply anywhere until they were done with their obligation (which I guess means that they took a year off before starting residency:confused: )
 
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flightdoc165

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Do you think you will have problems applying and interviewing for residency while your still AD? I have heard about GMO/FS being overseas or busy with stuff they couldnt get out of and not being able to apply anywhere until they were done with their obligation (which I guess means that they took a year off before starting residency:confused: )

Fortunately, I am deployed to Iraq currently (yes, they have internet in Iraq:) ), and will be back in the U.S. this summer/fall/winter for interviewing season. My command has always been supportive of me taking time for professional development/training, and I'm confident that they will allow me to take the time off to interview. But I have had friends who were deployed during interview season--they either contacted programs to see if they would interview them early, before they deployed, or could offer them a phone interview during deployment. A lot of programs are not open to either of these options, but a surprising number were--especially if the applicant went to med school there, or had civilian friends from med school who were now senior residents in the program. So it worked out for all of them. But I have heard the horror stories--they just haven't happened to anyone I actually know. I'm lucky to have an extremely supportive command (I'm with the Marines, they have a reputation of taking care of their docs). Anyways, I do have friends who have been through this before who I get advice from, but if anyone on this forum has some experience with it as well, please share! If not, I guess I'll write the primer when I'm done with the whole experience. Thanks!
 

DiveMD

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I am a DMO currently on my first tour who recently finished the application/interview/matching process last month (SF Match). IMO, the first thing you must ensure before committing a large sum of money in application fees is your command support. I recommend requesting a meeting with your CO (or DEPT HEAD) to express your interest in continuing your medical education in a civilian institution. If you are planning on getting out, you also want to discuss(diplomatically) your RAD letter. But, the most important aspect of this meeting is to actually obtain permission from your CO to do all your interviews in permissive/non-cost TAD (won’t burn your leave). If you are lucky, your CO will give you his/her full support; especially if he/she is also a medical officer. Once your CO's support is secured, proceed to notify you clinic director/department head of the impending (and haphazard) interviewing process. Hopefully, if they are flexible, you’ll be able to attend multiple and possible last minute interviews. You need to have good relations within your clinic in order to cancel your schedule without much resistance (remember...they care about RVU’s, not your residency). Once you match...GET DRUNK...but also make sure you submit your RAD letter 1 year before you expected separation date. Hope this helps. Good Luck! :luck:

DIVEMD
Hoo-Yah!
 

swampthing

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Do you think your experience as a military GMO was looked on favorably by programs, or did the fact that you had been out of GME for several years negatively impact your application?

A few years ago, I applied to both civilian and Navy dermatology residency programs (I ended up taking the Navy residency for personal reasons). Although I had good grades and board scores, in respect to my civilian application, I considered myself an average applicant in the ultra-competitive field of dermatology. However, I believe my flight surgeon experience helped me stand out in a positive way with my civilian applications. I was offered civilian interviews in the double-digits and was pleasantly surprised. I'm confident that I would have matched in a civilian dermatology residency (I never found out because with my Navy Derm acceptance in December, I closed down my civilian applications before "the match" in March).

Did you apply strictly through ERAS and go through the match, or did you match outside the match?
I applied through ERAS. In the competitive residencies, such as Derm, it is rare to be offered an acceptance outside the match (although, it is possible). In less competitive residencies, I'm sure that getting an offer outside the match is more of a possibility

Did they make you repeat your internship?
No programs required me to repeat my internship.

Any guidance/advice/input on the process would be greatly appreciated by myself, as well as the many HPSPers in GMOland currently who are in the same boat. Thanks!

In my civilian personal statement and CV, I wrote about my military and flight surgeon experience, how it made me a better, more mature physician with real world experiences, and how it helped me confirm my interest in my field of choice. I think that helped tremendously because many civilian programs were interested in these unique experiences and expressed a "Thank You" for my service.

My advice is that not everybody in the civilian world will view your military experience as a positive. Some people do not like the military. During your interviews, be prepared to answer questions about your military experience. Be prepared for tough questions about your thoughts about the "War on Terrorism" and politics. I tried to avoid conflict by saying "although I do not always agree with our political leaders decisions, my job as a military physician is to support my troops and provide the best medical care in any environment, whether it be during peacetime or in difficult combat conditions".
 

swampthing

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I am a DMO currently on my first tour who recently finished the application/interview/matching process last month (SF Match). IMO, the first thing you must ensure before committing a large sum of money in application fees is your command support. I recommend requesting a meeting with your CO (or DEPT HEAD) to express your interest in continuing your medical education in a civilian institution. If you are planning on getting out, you also want to discuss(diplomatically) your RAD letter. But, the most important aspect of this meeting is to actually obtain permission from your CO to do all your interviews in permissive/non-cost TAD (won’t burn your leave). If you are lucky, your CO will give you his/her full support; especially if he/she is also a medical officer. Once your CO's support is secured, proceed to notify you clinic director/department head of the impending (and haphazard) interviewing process. Hopefully, if they are flexible, you’ll be able to attend multiple and possible last minute interviews. You need to have good relations within your clinic in order to cancel your schedule without much resistance (remember...they care about RVU’s, not your residency). Once you match...GET DRUNK...but also make sure you submit your RAD letter 1 year before you expected separation date. Hope this helps. Good Luck! :luck:

DIVEMD
Hoo-Yah!

I agree with DiveMD. Having a supportive CO will make a tremendously positive difference. However, having an unsupportive CO can sabotage your civilian applications.
 

met19

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I agree with DiveMD. Having a supportive CO will make a tremendously positive difference. However, having an unsupportive CO can sabotage your civilian applications.

RAD letter? whats that?
 

flightdoc165

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RAD letter? whats that?


The RAD letter is your request to release from active duty, you have to submit it at least 9 months in advance (I'd recommend a year). If you are undecided about whether you are going to get out or not, just go ahead and submit it--if you decide to stay in after you submit it, you can always cancel it, but if you wait to put it in until you make up your mind, it may be too late.
 

DiveMD

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A few years ago, I applied to both civilian and Navy dermatology residency programs (I ended up taking the Navy residency for personal reasons). Although I had good grades and board scores, in respect to my civilian application, I considered myself an average applicant in the ultra-competitive field of dermatology. However, I believe my flight surgeon experience helped me stand out in a positive way with my civilian applications. I was offered civilian interviews in the double-digits and was pleasantly surprised. I'm confident that I would have matched in a civilian dermatology residency (I never found out because with my Navy Derm acceptance in December, I closed down my civilian applications before "the match" in March).


I applied through ERAS. In the competitive residencies, such as Derm, it is rare to be offered an acceptance outside the match (although, it is possible). In less competitive residencies, I'm sure that getting an offer outside the match is more of a possibility


No programs required me to repeat my internship.



In my civilian personal statement and CV, I wrote about my military and flight surgeon experience, how it made me a better, more mature physician with real world experiences, and how it helped me confirm my interest in my field of choice. I think that helped tremendously because many civilian programs were interested in these unique experiences and expressed a "Thank You" for my service.

My advice is that not everybody in the civilian world will view your military experience as a positive. Some people do not like the military. During your interviews, be prepared to answer questions about your military experience. Be prepared for tough questions about your thoughts about the "War on Terrorism" and politics. I tried to avoid conflict by saying "although I do not always agree with our political leaders decisions, my job as a military physician is to support my troops and provide the best medical care in any environment, whether it be during peacetime or in difficult combat conditions".

I agree 100% with my colleague here. I matched in a program which had a lot of positive things to say about prior military residents (especially NAVY), their level of maturity and eagerness to work hard (Post-GMO thirst for medical knowledge). Most of the other programs viewed my DMO/UMO experience as a forte as opposed to a weakness. Be ready to answer politico-ethical questions about the military and current military efforts. Other than that, you will realize how competitive you are once you hit the interview trail with a bunch of MS4’s.
 

HumptyDumptyMil

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I agree 100% with my colleague here. I matched in a program which had a lot of positive things to say about prior military residents (especially NAVY), their level of maturity and eagerness to work hard (Post-GMO thirst for medical knowledge). Most of the other programs viewed my DMO/UMO experience as a forte as opposed to a weakness. Be ready to answer politico-ethical questions about the military and current military efforts. Other than that, you will realize how competitive you are once you hit the interview trail with a bunch of MS4’s.


I'm glad to hear that there can be a positive experience. I thought I read on earlier posts that your skills deteriorate, and many residencies see it as a setback.:thumbup:
 

sethco

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The RAD letter is your request to release from active duty, you have to submit it at least 9 months in advance (I'd recommend a year). If you are undecided about whether you are going to get out or not, just go ahead and submit it--if you decide to stay in after you submit it, you can always cancel it, but if you wait to put it in until you make up your mind, it may be too late.


Can I sumbit it 3 years in advance? :D
 

BomberDoc

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DiveMD said it very well. Maturity is a key component that sets military docs apart from MS4s. I heard that word over and over while on the interview trail. Good work ethic is also something that is a valued military trait. There are a lot of program directors out there that were prior military, whether they were drafted during Vietnam or otherwise did their service and got out and got on with their lives. They know and understand what it is to be a military doc (although arguably it was better back then). As for politics, you will never know if a PD is pro- or anti-military or even if they give a damn, so apply broadly. I'm pretty sure I didn't get some interviews because somebody had an unfavorable view of the military. I'm absolutely sure that I landed some interviews because I am military. To paraphrase DiveMD again, when you are sitting there with the group of MS4 kids who can only talk about boards or rotations, you'll see how much more you'll have to offer. You have been out in the world doing stuff. No matter how mundane it seems to you, your stories will sound exciting because you have a different perspective. You don't have to have cult leader charisma to charm the pants off them, you just have to be energetic and have some good anecdotes.

On another part of this topic, I was severely hampered by being deployed during interview season. I did a few telephone interviews, but I don't feel very positive about those because there is so much nonverbal communication missing. A few programs were cool and let me interview in person late. Several programs told me, "Sorry but we are done interviewing." when I got back to the states even though they offered me an interview. My leadership was somewhat supportive and got me home as soon as they could, but make no mistake about it, the mission comes first and your personal ambitions are ranked somewhere after what's for lunch today.

I'll let everybody know how things go with the Match in about 13 days.
 

HumptyDumptyMil

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DiveMD said it very well. Maturity is a key component that sets military docs apart from MS4s. I heard that word over and over while on the interview trail. Good work ethic is also something that is a valued military trait. There are a lot of program directors out there that were prior military, whether they were drafted during Vietnam or otherwise did their service and got out and got on with their lives. They know and understand what it is to be a military doc (although arguably it was better back then). As for politics, you will never know if a PD is pro- or anti-military or even if they give a damn, so apply broadly. I'm pretty sure I didn't get some interviews because somebody had an unfavorable view of the military. I'm absolutely sure that I landed some interviews because I am military. To paraphrase DiveMD again, when you are sitting there with the group of MS4 kids who can only talk about boards or rotations, you'll see how much more you'll have to offer. You have been out in the world doing stuff. No matter how mundane it seems to you, your stories will sound exciting because you have a different perspective. You don't have to have cult leader charisma to charm the pants off them, you just have to be energetic and have some good anecdotes.

On another part of this topic, I was severely hampered by being deployed during interview season. I did a few telephone interviews, but I don't feel very positive about those because there is so much nonverbal communication missing. A few programs were cool and let me interview in person late. Several programs told me, "Sorry but we are done interviewing." when I got back to the states even though they offered me an interview. My leadership was somewhat supportive and got me home as soon as they could, but make no mistake about it, the mission comes first and your personal ambitions are ranked somewhere after what's for lunch today.

I'll let everybody know how things go with the Match in about 13 days.

Good luck to you and I hope you hear some good news:)
 

DiveMD

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DiveMD said it very well. Maturity is a key component that sets military docs apart from MS4s. I heard that word over and over while on the interview trail. Good work ethic is also something that is a valued military trait. There are a lot of program directors out there that were prior military, whether they were drafted during Vietnam or otherwise did their service and got out and got on with their lives. They know and understand what it is to be a military doc (although arguably it was better back then). As for politics, you will never know if a PD is pro- or anti-military or even if they give a damn, so apply broadly. I'm pretty sure I didn't get some interviews because somebody had an unfavorable view of the military. I'm absolutely sure that I landed some interviews because I am military. To paraphrase DiveMD again, when you are sitting there with the group of MS4 kids who can only talk about boards or rotations, you'll see how much more you'll have to offer. You have been out in the world doing stuff. No matter how mundane it seems to you, your stories will sound exciting because you have a different perspective. You don't have to have cult leader charisma to charm the pants off them, you just have to be energetic and have some good anecdotes.

On another part of this topic, I was severely hampered by being deployed during interview season. I did a few telephone interviews, but I don't feel very positive about those because there is so much nonverbal communication missing. A few programs were cool and let me interview in person late. Several programs told me, "Sorry but we are done interviewing." when I got back to the states even though they offered me an interview. My leadership was somewhat supportive and got me home as soon as they could, but make no mistake about it, the mission comes first and your personal ambitions are ranked somewhere after what's for lunch today.

I'll let everybody know how things go with the Match in about 13 days.

Dude..you'll match. The question is where. Good luck!
 

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SO, I have 2 weeks before the civilian match. I am couple's matching so I am going for PGY-1, but if it weren't for that, I could have taken about 5 civilian PGY-2 spots. I have one that is still being held for me in Philly, and I am purposely putting no match at about 4 of my ranked with my husband ranked in Philadelphia. I have no doubt I will match and felt very competitive in this process.

Now as far as my command went, they treated me terribly the minute I told them I would be resigning. I took 21 days of my leave to interview, and worked thanksgiving and christmas to make that happen. They are not obligated to give you no cost TAD, so don't count on it. My husband is at a different command, and he did get no cost TAD, so it will ultimately depend on your boss. I would suggest holding off for as long as possible with letting them know your resigning. They will write you off as soon as they know.

Good luck on the outside, I am sure you will do great.
 

orbitsurgMD

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SO, I have 2 weeks before the civilian match. I am couple's matching so I am going for PGY-1, but if it weren't for that, I could have taken about 5 civilian PGY-2 spots. I have one that is still being held for me in Philly, and I am purposely putting no match at about 4 of my ranked with my husband ranked in Philadelphia. I have no doubt I will match and felt very competitive in this process.

Now as far as my command went, they treated me terribly the minute I told them I would be resigning. I took 21 days of my leave to interview, and worked thanksgiving and christmas to make that happen. They are not obligated to give you no cost TAD, so don't count on it. My husband is at a different command, and he did get no cost TAD, so it will ultimately depend on your boss. I would suggest holding off for as long as possible with letting them know your resigning. They will write you off as soon as they know.

Good luck on the outside, I am sure you will do great.

Be sure to post the name of your command and your CO once you are free and clear. He sounds like a jerk and deserves a public black eye.
 

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Just wanted to resurrect this thread cause I will be in a similar situation. I'm just finishing flight school here at NAMI and will owe 2.5 years of service. I plan on getting out and applying for a civilian residency in anesthesia. There is great information on this thread. One thing I didn't see anyone talk about were letters of recommendation. Who writes you letter's of rec? The CO or the senior doc in clinic? I did a rotation as an intern in anesthesia but it's gonna be difficult getting a meaningful one when I apply. Also, I assume you apply for a pgy-2 spot through ERAS? Will most programs except you as a pgy-2 or should you email the programs individually to see if they will accept you as a pgy-2? Thanks!
 
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