devilpup

10+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2006
324
9
CA
restlessmd.blogspot.com
Status
Attending Physician
Hey folks, hoping for some guidance here.

30 year old guy, finished IM residency a year ago, currently very happy doing a Hospitalist gig at a major tertiary center in SoCal, no prior military experience but i’m interested in joining the Air Force Reserves. My reasons are simple: one, i’ve always been interesting in serving; two, i’d like to do something additional to Hospitalist work--the idea of training for a ‘flight surgeon’ position seems appealing but i know very little about it other than what the AF recruiter tells me (...I haven’t actually spoken to a flight surgeon yet). Three, my current job easily accommodates the required commitment to the Reserves. Four, the AF Reserve Base is only an hour commute from where I live. Five, loan repayment seems generous.

Any MD’s here currently in the Reserves? What’s the training like? Reasonable expectations?

The recruiter seems truthful and forthcoming but it would be great to hear from MD’s with experience in reserve medical units.
 

DeadCactus

SDN Lifetime Donor
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2006
2,619
718
Status
Resident [Any Field]
The Reserve and Guard vary a lot by unit. Your best bet is to get in contact with a physician in the unit you would likely be joining or at least in your state.

In general, your experience will largely be administrative work, online training courses, and healthcare maintenance for a relatively healthy group of people. This will be punctuated by intermittent opportunities to do some cool stuff (fun training, travel abroad, etc). The training follows a similar theme: death by powerpoint intermittently punctuated by something cool.

Expect to spend 24 days a year in 1-4 days blocks of drill and then 2 weeks of annual training. Be prepared for the possibility of extended 3 or 4 week annual training with less drill days during the rest of the year. Be willing to accept the possibility of deployment for extended periods of time. Much less now than in the past but you never know when that will change.

The more cool stuff you want to do, the quicker you will find yourself obligated to spending more time than a weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. Flight Surgeon is a great example. You have your initial training, you have 6 weeks of flight surgeon training, and then you'll likely have to come in outside of the normal drill schedule to time in the air. That can easily double or triple the time you thought you were giving to the military for the first few years. Then some other courses pop up that you want to go to out of fun, obligation, or desire for advancement. The plus side is the most mundane part of the job is encompassed in the bare minimum obligation. The extra time you put in is usually for something more interesting.
 

vitamorior

2+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2016
27
4
Status
Non-Student
Aside from all differences in every branch, with my experience I have never actually met an Air Force Flight Surgeon it was always an Army one in Iraq and Kuwait.
I don't know how the Air Force is with officers choosing a specific path, as I know the enlisted do not get much say in MOS.
Don't have much else to say other than that experience.
 

DiagnasaurusRex

CO Hospitalist
Jun 20, 2017
68
36
Colorado
Status
Attending Physician
Hey folks, hoping for some guidance here.

30 year old guy, finished IM residency a year ago, currently very happy doing a Hospitalist gig at a major tertiary center in SoCal, no prior military experience but i’m interested in joining the Air Force Reserves. My reasons are simple: one, i’ve always been interesting in serving; two, i’d like to do something additional to Hospitalist work--the idea of training for a ‘flight surgeon’ position seems appealing but i know very little about it other than what the AF recruiter tells me (...I haven’t actually spoken to a flight surgeon yet). Three, my current job easily accommodates the required commitment to the Reserves. Four, the AF Reserve Base is only an hour commute from where I live. Five, loan repayment seems generous.

Any MD’s here currently in the Reserves? What’s the training like? Reasonable expectations?

The recruiter seems truthful and forthcoming but it would be great to hear from MD’s with experience in reserve medical units.
Hey I'm basically in the same boat. I'm a civilian and I've been working as a hospitalist for about a year now in Colorado. Life is good I can't complain. My brother-in-law is retired airforce and suggested I look into reserves and given the airforce presence here. I sent in my resume and am waiting to hear back.

I've never actually met an airforce flight surgeon but in speaking to some of my ex-military colleagues they told me to be wary of the work environment in terms of what's advertised vs reality. They told me various stories about people pulling rank on doctors, dealing with difficult patients (mostly the families of high ranking Air Force people) and the overall bureaucracy and people constantly trying to game the system etc.. Don't know how true that is but it kinda bummed me out.

Any thoughts? Can anybody who is an airforce reserve IM or FP weigh in?