Army Reserves as an M2

famguy225

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For context, I've always wanted to serve. Turned down HPSP before med school because I didn't like the idea of a military residency and preferred the civilian match and maybe going after.

We received info about the option to join the reserves now that we are M2s. We'd get 2300 per month, and accrue 2 years of drill obligation for each year of assistance. Drill obligation would apparently normally begin after residency, but they said "usually."

I'm interested because this would cut my debt about in half and again I always wanted to be in anyway. However I'm worried there could be pitfalls with residency apps so wanted to reach out on here and see if anyone more knowledgeable had advice. Thanks!
 

DMBandFan86

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I disagree with above. MDSSP is a viable option in Med school. It should not affect your residency match in the civilian world. The important thing to note these days is the critical wartime shortage list. These are the specialties that will get you into STRAP during residency and officially protect you. If you don’t match a critical specialty then you will join a local reserve unit and drill during residency. You are also potentially deployable as well. So look long and hard at what specialties you are considering. You have 3 years post training to complete BOLC so you may want to factor in time to get DCC and BOLC done during your training.

basically when you decide to join the military in medicine it comes down to: do you want to serve and are you willing to give up some things to do so. If you say yes then it is a good option. If you would rather have more freedom post residency or make more money then no it is not worth the sacrifice. Also remember you are working for the military who may not have the same goals as you.

I went MDSSP and was enlisted prior. Feel free to comment on here or PM.

edit:
I would also add that if you are looking to do a really long residency like NSGY plus fellowship then the commitment length you sign up for is insane and you are better of signing up after residency.

overall there is some bias when looking for a job if you are in the military. I haven’t personally encountered this when it really mattered but there are some places/people who don’t want to deal with soldiers who they may have to cover when they go on missions or deployed. Again just something to think about. There are many places that are military friendly, but if your looking to work in a specific private group then it may be more difficult because of your military obligation. This may also apply to the residency match at some places.
 
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For context, I've always wanted to serve. Turned down HPSP before med school because I didn't like the idea of a military residency and preferred the civilian match and maybe going after.

We received info about the option to join the reserves now that we are M2s. We'd get 2300 per month, and accrue 2 years of drill obligation for each year of assistance. Drill obligation would apparently normally begin after residency, but they said "usually."

I'm interested because this would cut my debt about in half and again I always wanted to be in anyway. However I'm worried there could be pitfalls with residency apps so wanted to reach out on here and see if anyone more knowledgeable had advice. Thanks!
That’s a stipend, not tuition payments
 
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ace_inhibitor111

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I disagree with above. MDSSP is a viable option in Med school. It should not affect your residency match in the civilian world. The important thing to note these days is the critical wartime shortage list. These are the specialties that will get you into STRAP during residency and officially protect you. If you don’t match a critical specialty then you will join a local reserve unit and drill during residency. You are also potentially deployable as well. So look long and hard at what specialties you are considering. You have 3 years post training to complete BOLC so you may want to factor in time to get DCC and BOLC done during your training.

basically when you decide to join the military in medicine it comes down to: do you want to serve and are you willing to give up some things to do so. If you say yes then it is a good option. If you would rather have more freedom post residency or make more money then no it is not worth the sacrifice. Also remember you are working for the military who may not have the same goals as you.

I went MDSSP and was enlisted prior. Feel free to comment on here or PM.

edit:
I would also add that if you are looking to do a really long residency like NSGY plus fellowship then the commitment length you sign up for is insane and you are better of signing up after residency.

overall there is some bias when looking for a job if you are in the military. I haven’t personally encountered this when it really mattered but there are some places/people who don’t want to deal with soldiers who they may have to cover when they go on missions or deployed. Again just something to think about. There are many places that are military friendly, but if your looking to work in a specific private group then it may be more difficult because of your military obligation. This may also apply to the residency match at some places.

I’m considering MDSSP/STRAP and planning on going into orthopedic surgery. Did you find it difficult getting a job after residency due to your commitment? I heard I would be limited to the VA, Kaiser, and academic centers.
 

DMBandFan86

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I’m considering MDSSP/STRAP and planning on going into orthopedic surgery. Did you find it difficult getting a job after residency due to your commitment? I heard I would be limited to the VA, Kaiser, and academic centers.

I can't say for sure as I'm not orthopedics and that is a different job market. But no I did not experience any difficulties getting a post-residency job due to the military. I was very forward about my commitment with every company I interviewed with and didn't get any push back. However not every employer will have built in military leave in your contract. You will find that more commonly in large groups, academic centers and the VA where you will get paid military leave time. Otherwise you may have to use vacation days or other leave to cover any military obligations.

But there is definitely inherent risk with hiring a military doctor, especially in orthopedics where you are pretty much guaranteed to be deployed. Some employers won't want to take that on due to gaps in coverage. However, reasonable employers will know how to work around that and can even hire Locums workers if needed to cover. As long as you are a good doctor and market yourself well and interview well then most employers will still want to hire you. This is especially true if you are open to working in more rural / underserved areas.
 
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DMBandFan86

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Also if you are looking at orthopedics then just make sure you do the math very well as your looking at 5+ years of post-doctoral training, which will give you a pretty long commitment time. The military will heavily encourage you to take STRAP +/- HPLRP, which would give you a 10+ year post-training commitment. In my opinion, that's a heck of a long time to give upfront in a commitment when you haven't even experienced what the job is like. Also consider that you won't be eligible for other special pay incentives while you are paying back your commitment.

Anyways, very roughly: $2300 per month stipend for 8 years = $220,000 or about $280,000 when including monthly drill pay. Or about $35,000 per year. If you take HPLRP then you would add that in as well. So that's pretty decent money for doing basically nothing and can give you a pretty decent quality of life during school and residency. But overall it is also probably less than what you would get from a critical pay incentive per year if you joined after training. You're probably going to make 350-500K+ as an orthopedist coming out of training and, depending on where you want to work, some employers will also pay back your student loans as well. So really just make sure you want to be in the military and be a soldier first. People often get tired of going to monthly drill when you are already working some weekends during the month so just look at what 10 years of that is going to look like. Once you start making that good orthopedist salary your drill pay will be comparatively very low.

I still stand by my decision to join the military many years ago and it was a good choice for me to take the MDSSP contract. But just wanted to throw in some other ideas to consider if you haven't already.
 
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