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"GMOs" Fossils in modern medicine?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Worf, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. Worf

    Worf Junior Member
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    I've recently been offered the Navy HPSP and I'd like to share some of my concerns. Feedback from those who have accepted the HPSP scholarship or have completed GMO tours would be greatly appreciated.

    1. As a GMO are you adequately trained? Without a residency, how much knowledge do physicians possess? Is it enough?
    2. Following GMO are you allowed to complete residency training?
    3. Will the Navy ever force you into a residency program that you have no interest in?
    4. I've heard that GMOs are to be phased out by order of congress. Is this true? If so, does the Navy plan to comply?
    5. I've also applied for the Air Force HPSP. Are there any reasons why I should choose the Air Force over the Navy (or vice versa).
    6. Do doctors enjoy their GMO tours?

    The whole GMO things seems fishy and as far as I can tell only the Navy utilizes it.

    Last week I was confident that I would accept this scholarship. After discovering this forum, I am not so sure anymore. I believe that what I believed military medicine to be is greatly different from the way that it actually is. For myself, the money would be nice, but it wasn't my primary motivation for joining. I wanted to serve my country, but the posts on this site make it sound like the military is a terrible experience for the majority of those who signed up. Right now I'm very confused and would appreciate some help. I am not rich, but could certainly sustain myself during medical school. In addition, I don't plan on making it a career. It was my hope to join, to serve the US doing something that I love, have a unique (and hopefully exciting) experience that not many doctors have, and then to move on with my life.

    Thanks,
    Worf
    UMDNJ-SOM 2008
    :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
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  3. r90t

    r90t Senior Member
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    1. As a GMO are you adequately trained? Without a residency, how much knowledge do physicians possess? Is it enough?

    I know MilMD will blast me for this. Adequately trained to do primary care, yes. Basic Doc in a Box medicine is what GMOs are expected to do. Your knowledge at the end of internship is the same as your civilian colleagues who are moonlighting in ERs/PCCs starting their R2 year. You are credentialled to do certain things, go outside those bounds and you screw up, you will be in trouble. Does a flight surgeon do surgery? No. And, they aren't qualified to do any. Know your limitations and you are fine. I think surgery/peds/gyn interns have problems due to the structure of their internships and FP/transitional/psych do better as a whole.

    2. Following GMO are you allowed to complete residency training?
    Yes. You have to apply to for inservice residency or out service programs. It's kind of like doing the NRMP match process except at military bases.

    3. Will the Navy ever force you into a residency program that you have no interest in? No. You have to apply to a program. Say you want IM in San Diego, they may offer IM in Norfolk and you can turn it down.

    4. I've heard that GMOs are to be phased out by order of congress. Is this true? If so, does the Navy plan to comply? That rumor was floating around 10 years ago and we still have them. They had to phase out restricted medical licenses for all navy physicians. There currently are not enough FPs to fill all ashore/afloat FP billets, then have them fill GMO billets, as well. They would always be deployed and very unhappy.

    5. I've also applied for the Air Force HPSP. Are there any reasons why I should choose the Air Force over the Navy (or vice versa).

    Air Force matches straight through in residency. That can be an advantage or disadvantage. Many GMOs change their residency choice while they are out doing operational stuff.

    6. Do doctors enjoy their GMO tours?
    I will speak for myself on this one. I didn't want to do a GMO tour. I didn't "enjoy" being deployed to the Gulf and away from my family. It was worthwhile and 20 years from now, I won't have to explain to my kids how I dodged going to the Gulf because I thought others should be there in my place. I am enjoying the GMO tour now that I am back stateside. Hours are good and lots of time with the family before residency starts back up. My specialty leader (Radiation Oncology O-5) is currently doing an operational tour with the Royal Navy voluntarily because he said he had the rest of his life to do Rad Onc but only a few more years to do diving medicine. I'd do it again.

    Navy Dive Doc can put some more input for the USN.
     
  4. Worf

    Worf Junior Member
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    Thanks r90t,

    Your insight is greatly appreciated.

    It seems that your experience in the Navy has been positive. Is there anything you can tell me about Navy life in general (ie what is it like to be an officer). Basically, does the Navy take good care of its docs? So often on this forum, training is the main discussion topic. Rarely do "quality of life" questions ever come up, and I think they're important too.

    Thanks,
    Worf
    UMDNJ-SOM 2008
    :clap:
     
  5. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    If a GMO tour is a big concern for you, just go Army! The Army rarely makes their personell do GMO tours after intership anymore.

    However, in order to fill the GMO numbers, licensed doc's will be ordered to do GMO tours. This is much better then the Navy style though b/c you get paid more for your GMO tour since you're licensed. And much more importantly, it doesn't extend your commitment like a navy GMO tour will.

    You might think you're signing up for 4 years with the navy. But if you get a three year GMO tour and then do a residency, you'll re-accrue commitment time during residency and will end up paying back much more then 4 years.

    Keep in mind my opinion is slightly biased since I'm in the army myself.
     
  6. r90t

    r90t Senior Member
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    Navy has to have unrestricted licensed docs out there as well, so we get our annual bonus, plus monthly specialty pay.

    I agree. GMO tours extend your active duty time. The navy gets extra miles out of us. Most GMO tours are 2 years, occasionally 1 year. You can extend out to 3 if you are enjoying it. You can apply for training during internship and during the 1st year of your GMO tour.

    In my experience, navy physicians are treated very well on the operational usn tours. I have no USMC experience, however, my corpsmen who have been with the marines, agree that they are commodities in the field. You get all of the perks of being an officer, but not expected to know all of the line officer knowledge.

    The greatest hardships that I can think of, is the unplanned deployments with short notice. This has been increasing since 9/11, however, you aren't out in the ocean turning circles for training. We were supporting our guys on the ground in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

    I like the Navy. It has been good to me. Others have had different experiences with it, but I don't think that I am the only one enjoying it.

    If I get another surge deployment in the near future, ask me how I like it then....
     
  7. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    W,

    You have very legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, there are no straight answers to a lot of your questions.

    You want to know what military life is like, well, that depends on a million factors, including "the price of tea in china last month"....if you know what I mean.

    Some people will have a great experience, others will be unhappy. The worst part is that the factors that affect how your career will turn out are 99.99% not in your control.

    Senior leadership changes every few years, so the tone of how officers are assigned and utilized is changed every few years....detailers, specialty advisors, commanding officers....

    The only factor you have control over is your attitude. If you go in with the attitude that you will most likely be screwed at some point in your career (in my case on a continual basis) , but thats' ok, then you will most definitely be happy.

    Prior service military members are more likely to enjoy their time because they know what they are getting into. The majority of HPSP recipients with no prior service....are unhappy because they have no idea what they are getting into....you can blame your recruiters for that.

    In my 11 years of service, the majority of HPSP recipients can't wait to get out, and wish they had not signed.

    Read over the posts...there is a lot of info, and I think both sides are well represented.
     
  8. Spang

    Spang SDN Angel
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    With all due respect, I don't think most HPSP recruiters could accurately convey "what they are getting into" even if they were inclined to do, which they aren't! They aren't docs, most are MSC, and have little experience similar to deploying GMOs or even practicing docs.

    Spang
     
  9. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule
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    Just wondering, what is the pay like being a GMO in the navy?

    Jetson
     
  10. Worf

    Worf Junior Member
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    I didn't realize that a three year GMO can cause you to accrue more payback time. It would be great of the recruiters would tell us about such things. Well, thanks for all of the feedback, but now I have more questions:


    How does a GMO tour cause you to accrue more payback time? If you complete a three year GMO tour, followed by residency, doesn't that mean that you owe only one more year of payback?

    What about two year GMO tours? Do they cause you to accrue more payback time also?

    Thanks,

    Worf
     
  11. yeeester

    yeeester Member
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    the answers are all on the site. use the search feature. GMOs dont actually make you accrue more time, it's just that when you go back to residency, you owe either

    a) 4 years (or however long the military pays for you to go to school) minus your GMO stint

    OR

    b) the length of your residency


    you owe whichever of a) or b) is longer. so you could go to school, do internship, do a 3 year GMO, then go back for a general surgery residency (4 years), and you would still owe 4 years after residency.

    that sounds about right.
     
  12. bucasiabeach

    bucasiabeach Junior Member

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    Worf,

    You need to ask yourself another question. That is, would you join the military regardless of being a doctor and the bills they are paying for you? Think hard about making a decision for yourself 4 years down the road. You might find yourself handcuffed with your specialty options. weapons training, Chem Bio weapons training, and mandatory smallpox vaccinations may be in your future. Feel free to PM or ask any additional questions and I would be happy to answer for you.
     

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