Sep 22, 2014
I am going to be applying to medical school within the next year. If everything goes as planned and I am accepted, I am debating on doing the Army's HPSP program. I know there are many different threads on this topic, but I wanted to give my personal background and goals to see if this is truly what I should pursue.

I have always been interested in becoming a doctor, and also interested in giving back to my country. I would hope to one day become an orthopedic surgeon, as well as become involved in health public policy in politics eventually. I do not have the money to afford medical school, so this situation sounds prefferable to being able to do everything that I want.

IF I receive the HPSP and do the Army's 5 year Ortho residency, how long of active duty do I have to perform and what does the job entail? Will I be stationed somewhere near a "potential" battleground and perform medical duties as well as potentially go into combat? Or is my active duty more of US hospital based instead? I believe this will also help me with the understanding how to lead, so I personally feel doing this will definitely help me


Delightfully Tacky
10+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2004
By the guy with the thing at the place
Attending Physician
Assuming a 4-year scholarship, 5-year residency, and no interruptions in training, then you will spend no fewer than 4 years as a fully-trained orthopedic surgeon in the Army. If you do an Army residency, then you'll spend 9 years total on active duty.

You will have a permanent duty station at a U.S. military installation. That will most likely be in the U.S, but could also be in Europe or east Asia. Depending on the times, you could deploy from this permanent station to a place like Iraq or Afghanistan.

As a rule, physicians in the military are not leaders, at least not in the sense that Army officer corps commercials advertise. Physicians who want to "lead" typically choose an operational career arc that takes them away from clinical medicine. You would also have to stay in well beyond your four years to do this.

Read the stickies. There's nothing particularly unique about your situation, and all of your questions have been asked/answered before.


SDN Caveman Administrator
15+ Year Member
Jul 24, 2000
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Attending Physician
orthopedic surgery and then a health public policy politician. pretty sure these are non-compatible. stereotypes aside, when was the last time you met an orthopod (or any surgeon for that matter) that was into public health policy?

if this is your goal, avoid the military. you can't make political inroads you need to be successful in today's political climate when you are stuck in the military for 8+ years.

-- your friendly neighborhood there's probably a surgeon on a homeowner's association somewhere though caveman