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Army vs. Navy

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by greatbreeze, May 5, 2004.

  1. greatbreeze

    greatbreeze New Member

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    Hi guys,

    For 200 hours in my highschool carrer, I volunteered at the general surgery department at the National Naval Medical center in Bethesda, MD. I found the hospital really nice back then and really appreciated the experience. Now that I am graduting college and heading off to medical school, I am really starting to consider HPSP, partly because of the dept free loans, but also a chance to serve my country.

    Now here is the deal. Right now I am applying for the Navy and Army HPSP programs. Right now I am a bit confused, every recruiter tells me the bad things about the other service. The ARMY says that the NAVY's summer programs in medical school are really intense and that after medical school, during residency the NAVY can stop your residency any time for duty. They also said that once completing residency and serving your four years, you can be put on a aircraft carrier indefinitely, away from your loved ones. The army says that incomparision, they do not stop you at all during your residency, since their primary goal is to make a good doctor. They also said that when serving your four years that your call for duty may come but you usually serve for only 6 months on land and then you are back, working in a hospital. I'm not sure but I think they said that if you are surving in a base like kuwait your spouse can come too, but I'm not sure.

    With the Navy, I hear that you get a lot more recognition and a lot better facilities to live in, have health care in, etc.. Right now I am really contemplating either one. Can someone give me some light.

    Furthermore, in my past I have jumped into huge commitments and things that I really wasn't ready for and learned that taking the simpler path (i.e. just focusing on school and not worrying about extracurriculars), was the best way to go. When looking back at my past and thinking of HPSP, I get discouraged, but when I think of all the money I make and comming out debt free, I feel a lot more excited. Do you guys think that HPSP is a big commitment during medical school (you have no summers) and do you think my feelings of HPSP aren't strong enough to make HPSP worth it for me.

    Please tell and sorry for the long post.
     
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  3. HeavyD

    HeavyD Member
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    I was in a similar situation as you a few years ago. Navy vs. Air Force for the HPSP. I had already known that I would be content serving as a physician in the military- a point you should come to a solid decision on before you go any further. I didn't know about this site and made my decision based on my previous military experience and various former military doc's I worked with prior to going to school. However you come to the decision, be certain about it.
    I had to make a list of the pro's/con's between the Navy and AF. For me, it came down to hospital/base location, potential to travel (a plus to me) and opportunity to do things w/ the military that you just can't in the civilian side. This led me to the Navy. I like water a whole lot more than barren expanses of land (i.e., Texas, midwest states and the like). I hope to get into diving medicine during which you qualify as a Navy Diver. Navy has large medical centers in Italy, Spain, Great Britian, and Japan to name a few international locations all on shore-line locations.
    Recruiters are there to 'bend' what ever truth they need to in order for you to sign their contract. This is especially true once they are aware that you are looking into other services. You will do well by taking what they have to say w/ a grain or 2 of salt and seek out multiple other sources to base any decision on.
    I would recommend bending the ear of some active duty docs in either/both services. The recruiters should be able to accomodate this, including travel to meet up w/ a doc or two. The only other thing I would suggest is not to do it for the money as it surely seems (check out the seemingly hundreds of other posts regarding it) that the financial aspects won't justify 4+ years of being miserable stuck in a situation you despise because you didn't want to take out loans.
     
  4. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member
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    For me it really came down to a single issue: GMO. I'm old and I didn't want to be forced into doing two years of general practitioner work for the military essentially for free obligation wise.

    Ed
     
  5. HeavyD

    HeavyD Member
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    I think there is a general misunderstanding regarding GMO tours and the service obligation that is payed back during it. If you take a 3 yr. HPSP scholarship, do a 1 year military internship then a 3 yr. GMO, your obligation is complete. Period. The only 'free' time the military (Navy in my case) gets out of me is the intern year. When you think about it, you come out ahead with this as well. ~$65K pay for your first year of internship= not bad relative to what you'll get on the civilian side. This year of education is transportable as well. That is to say, I have never heard of a situation where a civilian residency didn't take a military internship as a valid completion of an internship program, except when maybe you cross fields. An example is if you do a FP-based internship and then match into a surg. residency; might have an issue being credited for your surg. first year. For a 4 yr. HPSP scholarship, you have to do some work in order not to incur further time obligation with the military. Many have been able to tack on an extra year of GMO and be done with the military after 1yr of internship and 4 yrs. of GMO. I hope to match into a military residency for several reasons, one being the much better pay for residents on the military side vs. civilian.
     
  6. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member
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    In your example its fine. But in many cases it wouldn't be. I am completing a three year scholarship and was initially interested in Ortho. In the Army, I do my 1+4 year residency and do 4 years payback for a three year scholarhsip. Total AD time is 9 years. If I had been in the Navy, I would do 1 year internship, 2 years GMO, 4 years residency followed by 4 years payback. Total AD time is 11 years.

    Two years not doing your specialty of choice is a long time. Two years doing a job your are not qualified to do is a long time. Two years of being held to the standard of care of an board certified FP doc when all you have been trained to do is treat inpatient surgery patients is a long time. Two years getting paid $90 instead of $250,000 is a long time.

    Sure, you could pay your three back as a GMO and then go civilian, but just try to find a PGY-2 Ortho slot.

    If people know what they're in for, I say fine. But I chose the Army for those reasons. I would have chosen Navy in a heartbeat but for the GMP. Funny thing is, I ended up not doing ortho.

    Ed
     
  7. HeavyD

    HeavyD Member
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    I think your described experience is one that would lend itself to a succesful GMO tour. I've worked in an ER for 6yrs. before school and am fairly sure I want to go into ER. Could be wrong, however and I look at the GMO tour as an opportunity to practice some medicine and get my (stuff) together when it comes to selecting a residency. I think I will have a better grip on what I want out of my professional life after a year or so out of school when life outside of medical practice has a larger presence compared to 3rd/4th yr. of school. In addition, I want to go out, blow things up, dive a ton, enjoy the positives of military life while I'm young enough to do it. As might be assumed by info in this and the above posts, I'm not a traditional med student, either. Residency is always going to be there. There seems to be, for the most part, a finite time of practicing before burn-out sets in. Although there are exceptions to this, my experiences have been that burn-out is the rule vs. exception. I figure that I can get burnt out at age 45 or 55 without a great amount of overall change to my life's ambitions and desires, but there are only so many years from this point where the Navy will let me 'play' under the guise of practicing medicine. That 10 yrs. won't be too much of a difference post- age 45 (at least it seems for my stand point) as it does for this next 10 ahead of me now.
    Wow, I sure sound like a Navy recruiter (BARF)! This is how I truely feel, however.
     
  8. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
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    The army is cooler, we do hader PT and can kick your softy navy asses!! (Unless you are a marine, if so I didn't say nuthin)
     
  9. HeavyD

    HeavyD Member
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    Masonator,

    Do your recruiters know your 'hardness'?
     
  10. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
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    No, it's classified.
     
  11. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    Army= largest GME, no GMO's
    Navy= smaller GME, GMO's

    even if i didn't have an Army ROTC obligation, i would have chosen army.
     
  12. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
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    Navy might be cooler if you want to do operational GMO stuff like flight surgery or dive surgery. If you don't want to do this and you want to specialize right away, the army is the way to go.
     
  13. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    Bare in mind that if you want to do a gmo in the army, you can! The army gives you the choice, unlike Navy. Furthermore, if you're commitment get's extended by just one year due to the a GMO tour, that can be a lot of money down the drain if you're in a field like surgery or rads.
     
  14. idq1i

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    Unless there has been a major change in the past 4 months, you can't even choose a GMO tour
     
  15. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    you can still do flight surgery. as a matter of fact, *two* of my classmates did the flight surgeon's course last fall and will be graduating next week and do their promotion with their wings. lucky bastards-- i was out of electives :( so all i'll have on my class A's (it's too bad ROTC awards don't count anymore :laugh: ) is the "rainbow warrior" award :oops:
     
  16. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    I thought I heard that if you don't match into the army match or the civilian world, you'd be sent on a gmo tour. Although I could be wrong.
     
  17. idq1i

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    Well, that's what I heard too. However, you can't elect to do one
     
  18. FliteSurgn

    FliteSurgn This space for rent.
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    Exactly right. The difficulty in finding or obtaining a civilian residency after your GMO tour is exactly what the military is banking on. That way, you must do a military residency and incur more payback time.

    As always, HPSP is a great way to serve your country as a physician...but you've got to do it because you understand and want what the military has to offer you after residency.
     
  19. equestrian_doc

    equestrian_doc Junior Member
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    I too am in this quandary... I have an acceptance for Naval comission and will prob get one from the Army in the next week (I applied for both HPSPs)... I don't think I have all of the background information I need, even just from reading this thread! I will have a 4 year scholarship either way, and was under the impression you come out, do your residency (~ 4yrs) then serve your 4 years back after your residency is done. It looks like, for the Army, there is a one year internship (??) then residency, then someone wrote for a 3 year scholarship, they have to serve 4 years- so would that mean I would serve 5? I don't know exactly what I'd like to go into, but I would like to specialize- perhaps cardiology, probably not surgery. My boyfriend was in the Army and highly recommended it- not that I'd pick based solely on his opinion! Also, certain schools I interviewed at said the Army was the best way to go, since there are more sites, hospitals, and therefore a greater chance of getting your top choices in residency, especially if you're going to specialize. I also don't have a great idea of what this GMO entails- I was told in the Navy there's mandatory GMO year(s) in addition to what you'd owe to them. It sounds like you have that in the Army as well?
    Sorry for the rambling- any info would help- from people already in it or those who are starting! I have no qualms with difficult PT, I'm a strong girl (from the horse riding and all). What I don't like is the possibility of being on a ship for a year +... without sex. Hmm...
     
  20. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member
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    Take it wasy and get all the information. First year residents everywhere are referred to as interns. There is no extra training involved. Look at some of the other posts in this forum to fully describe the obligations (both scholarship and training). A GMO is a doctor with one year of medical training who goes into the field/ship to serve as a general practitioner. This is based on the way medicine was practiced in the first half of the 20th century before residencies became the norm. The problem is that internship does not train you very well to do what you will be expected to do as a GMO. You would have much on the job training at both your expense and your patients. A bigger problem is that you will be held to a higher standard of care than you a trained for. I have read of several GMO getting jammed up this way (I think in US Medicine). Congress was so alarmed by the use of GMOs that they ordered the military to transition to residency trained physicians in those billets; the army and air force have largely complied, while the Navy has lagged.

    Ed

    P.S. you can have sex on the ship, just don't get caught. ;)
     
  21. equestrian_doc

    equestrian_doc Junior Member
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    Got it, read through the service obligations postings, very very helpful. I guess a better question is: who is enjoying which? What would be more fun for a single girl who likes to travel to do? Any complaints from either side? :)
     
  22. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
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    Flight Surgery in the Army and Flight Surgery in the Navy/Air Force are totally different. I think Army flight surgeons get around 12 hours of flight time, usually in a helicopter. Navy and Airforce give you much more time in a jet. You should scope out all of the details.
     
  23. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
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    Army has more residency/specialty slots, bigger hospitals, more volume, more interesting cases. Navy has bases in some of the coolest places on the planet. Navy might be a little cusher as far as officers amenities. The GMO thing adds to your payback. If you search GMO on this site it will be fully explained. If you like travel, navy might be the way to go. However if you don't want to deal with the GMO issue I recommend Army. By the way if you get caught having sex on a ship you get written up for "conduct unbefiting of an officer" and it goes in your file. This will affect promotions. This is the thing that broke the camels back for me.
     
  24. Thousandth

    Thousandth Ride This!
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    Hate to burst your bubble but I have been told that Flight Surgeons in the navy are not even allowed to solo anymore due to budget cuts in the program. You solo in a T-34C turboprop, if you don't do that were are you getting that they get jet time?
     
  25. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Flight Surgeons in all services fly as FLIGHT CREW, and not PILOT-IN-COMMAND. Anyone interested in becoming a Flight Surgeon be aware that you will not be doing any Tom Cruise/TopGun stuff.

    Flight Surgeon duties are mostly sick-call for the pilots who does the Top Gun stuff.....plus other administrative duties related to keeping the pilots flying.

    If you are lucky, you will get to fly in the back seat of a jet which happens to have a second stick, and the PILOT-IN-COMMAND allows you to do some flying.

    Very few individuals, mostly prior pilots/aviators, will get to do both, but they are very rare.
     
  26. Masonator

    Masonator Senior Member
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    When I was scoping NAVY HPSP 4 years ago, they still got flight time. It wasn't solo in that you would either be a pilot or a navigator but not both. Maybe the budget cuts occurred after this. That sucks.
     
  27. Spang

    Spang SDN Angel
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    That would be the 'dual designated' crowd! Not sure why I would want to do that after I've busted my a$$ to get out of aviation and into medicine, but....
     
  28. r90t

    r90t Senior Member
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    Flight surgeon friends at MCAS Miramar (formerly home of Topgun) have traditionally been able to get plenty of flight time in things without ejection seats, i.e. helicopters, transports, P-3s. It's harder to get jet time, but not impossible.

    An F-14 NFO/GIB in my intern class was discussing the dual designated program and thought it was bad. You are taking flight time from guys who really need it and when you go for promotions, your fitreps read like they were written by a pilot for a pilot. But, hey, you get to fly some really cool toys.
     
  29. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule
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    In the Army, you have more residency choices and no GMO tours. In the Navy you have better locations and better standard of living. In the end, I chose Navy because my hope is to go back to San Diego and do my GMO tour/residency stationed there. I'm on the 3 year and the thing about doing 3 years of GMO and leaving is that after you are done, you have to find a residency on your own. If you are gonna be family practice or something, that's fine but if you want to do a speciality, it's probably safer just to stay in the Navy. So serving all 3 years of GMO and leaving is really a mute point, I asked my recruiter about that and he said no one even does that.

    Jetson
     
  30. Spang

    Spang SDN Angel
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    I figured the dual designated billets were at TPS or PMA.

    If you get into a squadron with dual controls like P3 or C-12s, C-9s, C-2s, C-130s or helos like H-53's or H-3s, etc, I personally would have given you all the stick time you wanted! My god is flying boring!! After the departure I'd just as soon be reading Barrons in the back as watching the FMS drive holes in the sky.

    If you get in a Marine Hornet squadron you could probably get some hops in their two-seaters, but those guys are notorius for going out on 'routine training missions' and not coming back. I'll stick with sick call, dive physicals and some extra PT on the perimeter road, any day. Take those weekend round robins, overnights to Vegas, or the occasional out and in for lunch and be happy about it. You're doing stuff 90% of MDs never will.

    Spang
     

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