Going GMO, help please

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StarboardMD

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So, I've finally decided to give up on Army GME. Still hoping for gen surg, it's just going to be waaay down the road. I'm currently an intern, will begin GMO later this year, plan to do my four years, then I'll be done and try to get a residency in the real world. This GMO-out plan shouldn't be a problem, right? I heard through the grapevine that Big Army can give you a hard time if you do this and try to tell you you have to stay and do a residency, but it should be totally legit according to HPSP contract, right? (it is as far as I can tell...but I'm no good with Army speak and legalese)

Meanwhile, I figure I've got the next four years to make myself look better on paper so I can score a civvy residency when I get out. My board scores suck, but there's not much I can do about that now. Seems like about the only things I can do at this point are to do some research and get good LORs. Any advice about how to go about doing this in the Army. I'm hoping to deploy ASAP after starting GMO and then come back and try to get involved in some research. So here's my theory: I'll have more of a chance to get in on some surgery research at a hospital that doesn't have a residency. (???) WBAMC and Madigan are my options for MEDCENs with surgery residency, but I figure their residents will get dibs on any research, right? Obviously, those are going to be the places with the most opportunity for research, but if they won't let me in on it, what's the point? Does my reasoning make sense, or do you guys think I'm way off?

Anything else I should be considering when I rank my location/position preferences for GMO? Any help is greatly appreciated. Clearly I know nothing about working the milmed system.

WTF. This is not what I had in mind when I signed that HPSP contract. Ugh.

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Bueller?

No one has any thoughts? I asked the surgery PD here, and he figured it was sort of a wash regarding my research opportunities at WBAMC or Madigan vs. a smaller hospital. Since my rank list is due tomorrow, I guess I'll just list locations based on how nice of an area they seem to be to in.
 
How bad are your board scores and overall application competitiveness in the civilian world?

I ask, because if you are going to have problems matching at civilian programs, then it would be better to continue pursuing Army GME, where being a GMO, deploying, and potential personal contact with PD's will mean a lot. My guess is that WRAMC, BAMC, and to a lesser extent Madigan would be far and away the best places for research, and I can't imagine that you would be "competing" with the residents for projects. In any institution there are always more projects than there are residents with time to pursue them.

If you feel like you might be competitive in the civilian match, then doing GMO time and getting out would probably be best for your career. Army programs, particularly those at the bigger medical centers, are fine, but the volume and case diversity will never compare to a busy civilian center. I spent several years as faculty at one of the Army programs (allegedly one of the best programs) and there were significant issues with the training. And the chance of getting stuck in a residency at a smaller AMC with very limited case volume and lots of away rotations would be significant.

There are other threads discussing the pro's and con's of surgical training in the military, so you can probably do a search and get a feel for it.
 
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My board scores are passing, but only just. My med school was pass/fail, so there's no help there. The problem is that I want to do gen surg, which has been the most competitive specialty in the Army match for the past two years. According to the PD here, based solely on my board scores, I stand a much better chance in the civilian match, although that is also getting more competitive by the year.

I owe at least four years, and at this point, it looks like I'll be paying them back as a GMO. I suppose I may try to reapply for GME, but right now I'm just going to focus on improving my application. The only thing I know to do is to add some research to the resume and pray a lot. :-/
 
I am trying to decide between AF or Navy, I am waiting to talk to an AF recruiter, but I want to be in an branch that will allow me to be a flight surgeon for sure not send me to the ground in Afghanistan and/or Iraq and tell me to work in a Army/Marine hospital where I will have to dispatch with units in combat. I have heard of M.D.s in the Navy going with special forces and SEALs into combat as part of their GMO tour, and even Marines, but that is not of interest to me, but I think I will have a stronger chance of seeing ground action with the Navy than the AF, but the AF has a growing ground force unit that probably is going to need some M.D.s on the ground. I want to serve, but I also want to fly. Is there some kind of signed contract I could make that will make sure I get a flight surgeon billet? Are there any doctors out there who have deployed with units into combat, I mean legit real combat like going on patrol where people have come under fire? Are there any AF flight surgeons or Navy flight surgeons, I would LOVE for your to describe your tours of duty and what kinds of stuff you did.

Thank you for any responses or helpful information, I appreciate it.
 
I am trying to decide between AF or Navy, I am waiting to talk to an AF recruiter, but I want to be in an branch that will allow me to be a flight surgeon for sure not send me to the ground in Afghanistan and/or Iraq and tell me to work in a Army/Marine hospital where I will have to dispatch with units in combat.

Stop right there, if the bold is a dealbreaker, don't join the military.

I know med school is expensive (DO schools especially) but HPSP is joining the military and if you have a problem with the thought of being near the dirt and grunts, we don't want you.


Your post is full of misconceptions and misinformation; I hardly know where to begin. Spend a week or so reading this forum, start with the stickies.
 
I do not mind being on the dirt or serving with Marines, especially a Marine squadron. I just want to do the flight surgeon thing first and would like to know whether the AF or Navy route would be better?
 
I am trying to decide between AF or Navy, I am waiting to talk to an AF recruiter, but I want to be in an branch that will allow me to be a flight surgeon for sure not send me to the ground in Afghanistan and/or Iraq and tell me to work in a Army/Marine hospital where I will have to dispatch with units in combat. I have heard of M.D.s in the Navy going with special forces and SEALs into combat as part of their GMO tour, and even Marines, but that is not of interest to me, but I think I will have a stronger chance of seeing ground action with the Navy than the AF, but the AF has a growing ground force unit that probably is going to need some M.D.s on the ground. I want to serve, but I also want to fly. Is there some kind of signed contract I could make that will make sure I get a flight surgeon billet? Are there any doctors out there who have deployed with units into combat, I mean legit real combat like going on patrol where people have come under fire? Are there any AF flight surgeons or Navy flight surgeons, I would LOVE for your to describe your tours of duty and what kinds of stuff you did.

Thank you for any responses or helpful information, I appreciate it.

No ones going to send you to kick down doors. They may deploy you. They may put you in bases that come under mortar fire. They may even try to send you out to do provide medical care to the local population to build good will. But like any of the other folks with too much invested in their education and experience, they're going to do whatever is possible to keep you safe.

Frankly, if a minuscule fraction of the risk taken by the 18 year olds you would be patching up is so completely unacceptable, you're looking for money in the wrong place.

There's no contract for flight surgeon, but it's not the most difficult position in the world to get. If you want to fly, go get a private pilot's license. That's the most expedient route to flying...
 
I do not mind being on the dirt or serving with Marines, especially a Marine squadron. I just want to do the flight surgeon thing first and would like to know whether the AF or Navy route would be better?

AF better.
 
Can you please explain why you think the AF is better? (Especially for AMP route flight surgeons, not interested in RAM, the 3 year program).

Well the AF needs flight surgeons more than any branch (clearly). And so it is the position they have most trouble filling. From what I've heard from a variety of sources, if you can pass the flight physical, you can be a FS.

I have heard it is a bit more competitive in the Navy.
 
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