Jun 19, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hello!

I am currently applying to medical school and have a handful of interviews this month that will hopefully lead to an acceptance. I have been exploring different routes to military medicine and am now trying to decide which path to take. I have reached out to recruiters about HPSP, applied to USUHS, and talked to an ARNG AMEDD recruiter.

For me, I think ARNG makes the most sense since I am not prior service. I truly want to serve and be involved in operatonal medicine so the financial incentives are not that important to me. I would commission without MDSSP. However, my only concern is how this commitment would affect applying to residency later on and how it would affect my academic performance if I am at a one-year preclinical curriculum school. I would love to hear if anyone has experience with this! Thank you for reading my post!
 

JamesL

10+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2009
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I'm an Army direct commissioned physician who went in after residency. I am enjoying my Guard experience but I generally ask medical students to think really hard before joining.

Despite what you are told from the recruiter, there is a time commitment. As a medical student (and later resident) your time is extremely valuable. Your 3rd and 4th years in particular are key in finding your preferred residency and building the clinical skills you need to survive residency and thrive in your future practice.

You may or may not have to attend weekly drill as a medical student. It will be command dependent. You will likely not find it medically very stimulating and will not be able to provide patient care. Drill varies from station to station, but if you expect to be doing combat medic or trauma training every weekend, you will be disappointed. I mainly do paperwork and physicals during every drill. Sometimes I help sweep the armory floor.

You are not deployable overseas until after residency, but you can be activated for state emergencies. The medical student in my unit was activated for a week during the riots in the middle of his ICU rotation. He was not able to do anything medical related so he had to sit in the armory the entire time. That was time he could have spent doing critical learning. We were also activated for a COVID-19 quarantine mission and we had an Ortho resident who was dying of boredom because he wasn't in an OR and was made to run the site pharmacy.

Non-prior service students will have to do the new Direct Commission Course (3 weeks). All physicians have to also do the Basic Officer Leader Course (3 weeks 4 days) - fitting that into your rotations is quite the jigsaw puzzle.

IMO unless there is a big financial need, it is a lot easier to finish residency and then join the Guard. Your priorities right now should be to enjoy medical school, find your speciality, get into your top residency choice, and graduate happy. I commend your desire to join now, but as a doctor there is no rush. You will be always in high demand in the Guard.

Feel free to message me anytime. Good luck with all your applications.
 
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deleted480308

Hello!

I am currently applying to medical school and have a handful of interviews this month that will hopefully lead to an acceptance. I have been exploring different routes to military medicine and am now trying to decide which path to take. I have reached out to recruiters about HPSP, applied to USUHS, and talked to an ARNG AMEDD recruiter.

For me, I think ARNG makes the most sense since I am not prior service. I truly want to serve and be involved in operatonal medicine so the financial incentives are not that important to me. I would commission without MDSSP. However, my only concern is how this commitment would affect applying to residency later on and how it would affect my academic performance if I am at a one-year preclinical curriculum school. I would love to hear if anyone has experience with this! Thank you for reading my post!
If you don’t need the money there is almost literally no reason to join now. Get out of residency and then decide
 

DeadCactus

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Oct 28, 2006
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I’ve seen everything from students/residents left alone to study during drill to what JamesL is describing. You have to be prepared for the possibility that you will have to give up weekends and vacation time to the military. Try to talk to students and residents in the state you are joining, realize things can change. I think there are pros to joining as a student but there is some risk and sacrifice involved as well.

I joined as a student. Things I’m grateful for: leaving residency with almost a decade towards retirement, completing military training meant cash in my pocket instead of losing thousands in attending salary, a few fun experiences, and state and federal education programs can be a decent chunk of change. Things that were tough: months where my only 2 day weekend went to the military instead of my family, years where half my vacation went to AT or attending a school, weekends where I had both medical and drill obligations, trying to keep up and be engaged with military obligations while trying to get the most out of my medical education and still spend time on other things that are important to me.

I had he luck of cooperative leadership on both the civilian side and military side and overall had a very fortunate experience.
 
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