Jun 19, 2019
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Hello!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
I am a current medical school applicant and considering military medicine as an option for my career. I am mostly interested in it because I want to serve and feel I would regret not doing it for at least part of me career.

Since I am a current applicant, I have been looking into a few options for this path. I am a very competitive applicant for medical school if that matters. I am also mainly interested in Army or Air Force. However, I am open to Navy. Here is what I have come up with so far and would love if anyone could tell me from personal experience to avoid one of these:

HPSP:

Pros
  • shorter obligation
  • tuition paid for
  • could go to a medical school of my choice
  • Interesting opportunities during medical school?
Cons
  • Military residency (interested in EM so not sure how good the programs are)
  • Potential GMO tour
  • Less military training than USUHS?
  • Might as well do USUHS for more benefits?

USUHS:

Pros:
  • Interesting program
  • Tuition plus salary
  • Counts towards retirement if I do an additional 20
  • Better military-focused training
  • Better chance at matching in the military?
Cons:
  • Really long commitment
  • military residency (Would I have a realistic chance to defer?)
  • Less prestigious than other schools for a civilian career after military service
  • Locks me more in general
  • GMO tour

ANG/ARNG:

Pros:

  • Could join without any incentives and maintain only my 6-year drilling obligation?
  • Better way to test the waters for the military before committing to so many years
  • Civilian residency
  • More control over my life
  • Could switch to active after residency if i wanted to?
  • Perhaps a better long-term career option
Cons:
  • More debt
  • Could receive very little military training
  • Kind of have two jobs instead of one
  • Could hurt my residency chances?
  • Hard to find states willing to sign me without incentives?


I am probably leaning the most towards the ANG/ARNG option.
 
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HighPriest

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For starters: the Navy loves people who are very open, so that’s good to hear.

Secondly: I wouldn’t worry very much at all about the amount of military training you’ll get with any of these options. If you -want- a military experience, then USUHS is the closest you’re going to get during training, which you have identified.
But most of your colleagues are going to be pretty poor examples of exquisite military bearing. It’s just not stressed in milmed all that much. So even if you find those opportunities, it’ll end up being something you did once that was really “military,” rather than SOP for you as a physician.

GMO tours are pretty rare outside of the Navy. If you don’t match in to a residency, then the Army may make you do a transitional year of education and if you still don’t match you might end up doing a GMO. But it’s rare.

The rest of the pros/cons I think you have wrapped up pretty well built keep in mind that 200% of medical school applicants want to do EM, and after medical school most of them don’t want that anymore. So it’s good to put a name to your current goals, but try not to make decisions based solely upon those goals.
Read up in these forums about possible/potential/or certain changes to military billeting and how that might affect specialty availability for any and all of these options in the future (or it may not. There’s a lot of uncertainty).
 
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manotter

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As stated, it seems that you have locked on to some key points on various options.

Another option you might want to consider is FAP Medical Resident Program

If I am reading into some of your pro/con themes, it sounds like you want to join the military, but are not sold on it potentially being the best educational or career goal. It sounds like you want to have a lot of freedom with where you want to go to school, and your residency experience.

As said above, the military experience in training is variable. If you want to do something specific in this regard, then probably operational medicine/GMO pathways would be pretty close anyways.
 
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USCguy

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I would encourage you to strongly consider the reserve/guard component. Depending on the state (guard), you will
Probably get all the military training you really want and if you want more you can seek out a line unit as battalion surgeon and go sleep in the field one weekend a month, two weeks a year, probably knock out a couple of deployments during your time (more if you want to volunteer to go with other states to fill in rotations)...and sleep in your own bed and follow your own career path the rest of the month/year/life
 

armytrainingsir

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Reserves if you are a surgeon or any sort of specialist.
Guard or Reserves if you are primary care.

I'm not an advocate of AD medicine right now. AD mil medicine is in the midst of a transition, and nobody has a clue what the end product is going to look like.
 

FlightDocDan

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Milmed is good if you like to do Operational stuff you can not do elsewhere. You won't find any doctor job who pay you to do cool stuff (blow stuff up, fly navy jets, dive around, etc.)

Really depend on what you want out of your experience - GMO, Flight Surgeon, Dive medical officer or Marine battalion surgeon etc... (im talking specifically for Navy here.) You can also be in charge of med departments, teach full time, do research and jump around. Good flexibility in that sense.

If you want to just be a normal doctor, think hard about it before signing the paperwork.
 

Apollyon

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Milmed is good if you like to do Operational stuff you can not do elsewhere. You won't find any doctor job who pay you to do cool stuff (blow stuff up, fly navy jets, dive around, etc.)
Actually, you can do a little bit of that with the CIA. I asked a doc recruiting for them at ACEP, but she, nearly immediately, had to get quiet, as the stuff I brought up (completely random - I've never had a security clearance) abutted actual classified ops. Oops!
 

FlightDocDan

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Actually, you can do a little bit of that with the CIA. I asked a doc recruiting for them at ACEP, but she, nearly immediately, had to get quiet, as the stuff I brought up (completely random - I've never had a security clearance) abutted actual classified ops. Oops!
Haha true. There are few unique job opportunities out there but they are alot harder to get... CIA, NASA, all of the alphabet agencies are all good. I think Military is the easiest to get in out of all of that. And if you are interested in getting into those... mil may be a good starting point/stepping stone too.
 
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Apollyon

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Haha true. There are few unique job opportunities out there but they are alot harder to get... CIA, NASA, all of the alphabet agencies are all good. I think Military is the easiest to get in out of all of that. And if you are interested in getting into those... mil may be a good starting point/stepping stone too.
Yeah, you're exactly correct, and exactly on point about it being a great stepping stone; I hadn't even thought of that for med, while I did know that for CIA SOG (for line operators). I wasn't trying to detract or oppose.
 
Jun 19, 2019
199
498
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
I would encourage you to strongly consider the reserve/guard component. Depending on the state (guard), you will
Probably get all the military training you really want and if you want more you can seek out a line unit as battalion surgeon and go sleep in the field one weekend a month, two weeks a year, probably knock out a couple of deployments during your time (more if you want to volunteer to go with other states to fill in rotations)...and sleep in your own bed and follow your own career path the rest of the month/year/life
This is definitely what I am leaning towards at least until I decide if the military is a career choice I want long term. It seems a little hasty to commit to AD for many years to come if I have never served. Thank you for your advice.
 
Jun 19, 2019
199
498
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Milmed is good if you like to do Operational stuff you can not do elsewhere. You won't find any doctor job who pay you to do cool stuff (blow stuff up, fly navy jets, dive around, etc.)

Really depend on what you want out of your experience - GMO, Flight Surgeon, Dive medical officer or Marine battalion surgeon etc... (im talking specifically for Navy here.) You can also be in charge of med departments, teach full time, do research and jump around. Good flexibility in that sense.

If you want to just be a normal doctor, think hard about it before signing the paperwork.
Operational medicine is my main reason for joining besides a desire to serve. I specifically have an interest in working as a flight surgeon or as part of SOST in the AF. Part of my reasoning for doing USUHS or HPSP is the chance to get involved with operational medicine earlier. However, I am sure I could still get involved some as part of the guard or reserves if I advocate for myself and am willing to use elective time.
 

FlightDocDan

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If you just want to do one/two tour of FS for the operational experience and go back to being a normal doc, Navy HPSP is probably the best route for you. You have 4 year obligation, which start after your internship year. You will spend first year completing your flight surgeon course and you are assigned either 2 or 3 year assignment as a Flight Surgeon. If you get 2 year, you can either extend by 1 year or do your second tour somewhere else for 1 year and sepearte. If you get 3 year order, you can sepearte at the conclusion of that tour and get back into civilian residency after.

Of course if you change your mind and decide you are having too much fun with it, you can stay longer.... military residency, aerospace residency or continue with more operational tours.
 
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militaryPHYS

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It seems like you have done some pretty solid early research in to MilMed. My only concern is that you seem hopeful that you will get a deferment to do a civilian residency. For me, this is a red flag when I counsel people on MilMed. Your chances of success/happiness in MilMed are greatest when you have researched/shadowed/experienced MilMed enough to know if MilMed residency is right for you or not. If you have done this and realize it is not for you then I would say go with the civilian route. Join later if you still want to. If you like what you saw then join with the hopes of landing the best active duty residency spot possible and serve your time 100% all in.

Taking on a 4 or 7 year commitment after residency is a big deal and you never want to feel regret or feel “stuck”. If you join with the hopes of training as a civilian then this is already a conflict of expectations in my opinion and sets you up for a high chance of feeling stuck.

Shadow a Military physician at a military hospital. Talk personally to as many military physicians as you can. Then decide. But either be 100% all in or 100% all out.
 
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