YayPudding

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Howdy all,

I know these are early days for me, but things like research opportunities and ECs are opening up. Apart from board scores and audition rotations, what would be some major things for me to focus on to broaden my options for Army residencies as a DO student? Specifically Gas, EM, GS, Neuro and NS?

Thanks
 
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68PGunner

Howdy all,

I know these are early days for me, but things like research opportunities and ECs are opening up. Apart from board scores and audition rotations, what would be some major things for me to focus on to broaden my options for Army residencies as a DO student? Specifically Gas, EM, GS, Neuro and NS?

Thanks
300+ on your PT score will open some eyes.
 
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Lets_Run

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300+ on your PT score will open some eyes.
Haha I can nail this easily. However, in all seriousness, how much does your military rapport play into residency match? the GME slideshow from ~2015 (currently on MODS) said 50% was determined by academic measures and 50% was determined by show of military commitment. Not sure how the latter is measured-
 
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6

68PGunner

Haha I can nail this easily. However, in all seriousness, how much does your military rapport play into residency match? the GME slideshow from ~2015 (currently on MODS) said 50% was determined by academic measures and 50% was determined by show of military commitment. Not sure how the latter is measured-
Military commitment means if both candidates are equal USUHS students get first dibs bc they're bounded in blood for 7 years.
 

HighPriest

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Do well in your classes/rotations, get research published if you can do it while also doing well in school. If you're not a goon, do an away rotation at a military residency into which you're interested in matching. Narrow down your choices. Neurosurgery, Neurology, GI, General Surgery, EM is kind of a shotgun approach. It's fine if you're early in your training, but eventually you'll have to make a choice. Until you do, the best thing you can do is to stay on top of your grades and your rotations.

I'll tell you how much military bearing and PT test performance meant in my residency: absolutely nothing. If you were a jerk-off personally, military bearing or not, then you were boned. But no one cared even in the slightest how well you did on your PT test. Certainly if you got a 300 every time (and one of our residents did, and still does to this day), then people would remark about how that was kind of impressive. But we had plenty of residents who got nervous every time they took a PT test. I never failed one, but also never came close to maxing, and I was in a highly competitive subspecialty program. I'm sure there's some variability between programs. Maybe EM or Ortho find PT test scores more appealing than we did. But if you're a bad student, then it doesn't matter how well you did at PT.

Get your bases covered first. If they're solid, and you're in range to max a PT test, then go for it. But I wouldn't break out a ton of time in your schedule to make that happen. MODS says 50% determined by military show of commitment - either that means USUHS or it's just fabricated BS to over-emphasize the importance of military bearing. It would not surprise me at all to find out it was the latter. So unless someone can tell you how they measured that, I wouldn't put much stock in it.

Don't get me wrong, if you have two residents who are complete carbon copies of one another, but one had a 300 on their PT test, then sure, that guy will match. But that's not a realistic scenario.
 
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HighPriest

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For what it's worth, I generally had about the least amount of military bearing possible (other than that I wasn't overweight), and I still matched into the specialty I wanted.

My experience in Army medicine leads me to feel that the Army would be very happy if all of its physicians were gung ho, Hoorah, military types, but they're very happy just having @$$es in chairs.
 
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YayPudding

YayPudding

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For what it's worth, I generally had about the least amount of military bearing possible (other than that I wasn't overweight), and I still matched into the specialty I wanted.

My experience in Army medicine leads me to feel that the Army would be very happy if all of its physicians were gung ho, Hoorah, military types, but they're very happy just having @$$es in chairs.
May I ask what field you're in or if it's one of the ones I listed as being interested in? Are you a DO?
 

HighPriest

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I was in ENT. I still am, but just not for the Army anymore. I wasn't a DO. But a lot of my close friends were DOs in gen surg or EM, and from what they tell me (and from what I've seen), DOs have an easier time matching ACGME in the Army than they do anywhere else. Most fields look at a DO just like they look at an MD. There are exceptions. My program was very anti-DO. I'm not defending it, but that's a fact. We did have a few DOs in our residency history, but not many. Unfortunately, getting a good PT score wouldn't have made a difference there, as it was just a built-in bias. I can't imagine that a program director with a bias against a DO would admit one just because they wore their uniform correctly. So the uphill battle for you as a DO is just doing well in school, research, etc. If they don't want a DO, military bearing isn't going to make them want one. No reason to cry over that spilled milk.

Again, some programs might lay more importance at the foot of military bearing, but that's going to depend heavily upon the individual program. I don't think it's 50% of the reason residents match.

Again, I'm not saying it isn't a feather in your cap to get a 300 on your PT test, or to memorize your officer handbook. I'm just saying that it's about the 99th thing you need to do to be an attractive candidate. If you don't have good scores, good reviews, a good personality, a good work ethic, etc., etc., then all the military bearing in the world won't mean anything.

That being said, if you show up at 450 lbs with a tattoo on your neck burning an American flag, that's bad too. For a variety of reasons. I think most of those things would make you a less favorable candidate at a civilian program as well.
 
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HighPriest

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The only good piece of advice I ever got from any leadership in the Army (not including advice directly involving the application of medicine) was that you should always work to try to keep as many doors open as possible, even if you think it's unlikely that you'll need to use them. So even if you're 99% sure you want to do family medicine, you should work to get the scores to be a viable candidate for dermatology. Even if you think you want to do Neurosurgery, you should pay attention during your IM rotation and make sure you do well. Even if you think you're never going to stay in the military, you should try to stay in shape, pass your PT test, and go to the ridiculous training courses. Because you never know exactly what the future holds, and you don't want to end up in a situation where it would have helped had you just done "X, Y, or Z" five years ago. Sometimes necessity makes it so that you can't be great at everything, and then you have to focus a bit more. But try not to eliminate possibilities because of an assumption that you won't do something in the future.
 
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Homunculus

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Get your bases covered first. If they're solid, and you're in range to max a PT test, then go for it. But I wouldn't break out a ton of time in your schedule to make that happen. MODS says 50% determined by military show of commitment - either that means USUHS or it's just fabricated BS to over-emphasize the importance of military bearing. It would not surprise me at all to find out it was the latter. So unless someone can tell you how they measured that, I wouldn't put much stock in it.
the "show of commitment" or whatever the "future potential" angle is allows the PDs some wiggle room/fudge points for those people who they really want but on paper due to the number assignments may not have scored as high as someone else. it can help if things are close. I can tell you for fellowships no one cared about APFTs unless you had a history of recent failure-- in which case you're flagged and can't do a fellowship anyway.

The only good piece of advice I ever got from any leadership in the Army (not including advice directly involving the application of medicine) was that you should always work to try to keep as many doors open as possible, even if you think it's unlikely that you'll need to use them. So even if you're 99% sure you want to do family medicine, you should work to get the scores to be a viable candidate for dermatology. Even if you think you want to do Neurosurgery, you should pay attention during your IM rotation and make sure you do well. Even if you think you're never going to stay in the military, you should try to stay in shape, pass your PT test, and go to the ridiculous training courses. Because you never know exactly what the future holds, and you don't want to end up in a situation where it would have helped had you just done "X, Y, or Z" five years ago. Sometimes necessity makes it so that you can't be great at everything, and then you have to focus a bit more. But try not to eliminate possibilities because of an assumption that you won't do something in the future.
@HighPriest preaching from the pulpit. this needs to be enlarged, bolded, italicized and chiseled into the wall.

the army can be large and corporate with little regards toward human needs. on the other hand, it can be extraordinarily small. the .mil medical world, likely due to the winnowing down of docs due to ADSO attrition, will tend to lead to small clusters of people who have "been around" and interacted with a peer group that progresses along with them. the upshot of this is things are less "insulated" than the civilian world. piss off an ER doc calling for a consult, or blow off an FP calling for advice, or throw anesthesia under the bus, etc and you may find your self needing that person later on in your career. even colleagues who are lazy, non-deployable wastes of space could be a division chief, PD, or your boss. I'd argue they may even be more likely to hold some power, since many of these people have no impetus to leave the military since they don't have to deal with deployment/operational tours and couldn't hack it outside the .mil anyway.

even with my current level of saltiness, i've done my best not to burn any bridges, and I'm probably 70% getting out next summer. I have many bridges wired up and ready to blow, but in the .mil there are so many "7 degrees of kevin bacon" ness that blowing one may inadvertently impact another, or create a situation where that bridge, as distasteful to use as it might be, might be the only way off your island. plus, as @HighPriest stated, you never know how things will turn out.

--your friendly neighborhood metaphorical caveman
 
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HighPriest

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even colleagues who are lazy, non-deployable wastes of space could be a division chief, PD, or your boss. I'd argue they may even be more likely to hold some power, since many of these people have no impetus to leave the military since they don't have to deal with deployment/operational tours and couldn't hack it outside the .mil anyway.
More likely. For sure.

But, the other thing to keep in mind is that even if you get out, there are ex-military docs EVERYWHERE, even on the civilian side. Maybe they're so far removed that they don't know anyone you don't know....but maybe not....
 

pgg

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I have many bridges wired up and ready to blow, but in the .mil there are so many "7 degrees of kevin bacon" ness that blowing one may inadvertently impact another, or create a situation where that bridge, as distasteful to use as it might be, might be the only way off your island.
For some reason this reminds me of Gen Mattis “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
 
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