HPSP Question?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by yankpak786, 09.25.14.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
  1. yankpak786

    yankpak786 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    05.06.12
    Messages:
    292
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    I am really looking forward to applying and hopefully getting the HPSP. Now, my question is if I choose the Air Force, what are the chances of being sent to an overseas battle ground? Lol sorry if I sound ignorant, but I really have so many questions! My parents are always concerned that it wont be safe, but dentists wont exactly be placed on the battleground, right? What is it like to be the in the Air Force/Navy/Army HPSP? Is it worth it? Most importantly, is it safe?
     
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. DATtestTho

    DATtestTho

    Joined:
    06.17.14
    Messages:
    268
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Decent chance with all of them of being deployed somewhere (more likely for Army tho) but its anyones guess. What you need to know (based off what my recruiter has told me), as a dentist in any branch, is that you are on the bases not driving out on convoys into battlezones. Think about it, if someone gets hurt what are you going to do? Give them a braces consult?
     
    krdeuce and ktbb like this.
  4. CraigHack

    CraigHack 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    04.29.13
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    GA
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Verified
    Navy
    Disclaimer: I am not in a HPSP program.

    I'm currently active duty with the Marine Corps (Captain, 5+years in service). I'll give you my opinions:

    1. Anyone who puts on the uniform should be prepared to die for their country. Not in a Saving Private Ryan, meaningful kind of way either. Servicemembers are killed, sometimes in unceremonious and meaningless ways, and it is hardly a thing of consequence to 99% of Americans.

    2. The likelihood of a dentist being deployed in a 4 year period is reasonably high. If we are not engaged in a protracted war somewhere, you'll still be screened for dental clinics all across the world, including some not so desirable places.

    3. The likelihood of a dentist being deployed, and finding themselves in harm's way, is low. You represent a significant investment for the military. You also don't provide any tactical advantage in combat. You support the dental readiness of the fighting forces. There is always danger associated with serving in the military, but as a dentist, it would be fairly low. I do not know the last time a dental officer died in combat, but I suspect it is a very rare occurrance. So to answer your question: it's reasonably safe.

    4. Is it worth it? You have to weigh the value of the HPSP program against the deployment(s), work environment, quality of life, etc. As a servicemember, you'll have to do a lot of things that seem like a waste of time. There is an oppressive amount of bureaucracy in the government and military that makes simple objectives into painful endeavors. You will have very little influence on where you end up living. Many decisions affecting your life will be beholden to "timing" and luck of the draw, regardless of your performance or dedication to duty. Many dentists leave the military because their quality of life is lower in the service than in the private sector.

    5. I see people argue that four years is a small price to pay for free schooling. However, consider that as a military dentist, you may be underutilized and experience an atrophy of skills, setting you up for decreased performance as you transition to the private sector. You'll also be 4 years behind your peers in setting up your practice(s) (if that is your ultimate goal). Some military dentists say they got much more than they put into the military in their 4 years. You could very well be one of them. However, you don't control whether the service will help you, or hurt you, in your ultimate goals. You only choose whether you want to "sign on the dotted line".

    6. I am getting out and transitioning into dental school because I am tired of the issues listed above. Dentistry provides a great deal of autonomy (as a practice owner), which is a huge benefit in my eyes. Military dentistry does not provide this opportunity.

    7. One last thing: there's a military dentistry sub-forum located here http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forums/military-dentistry.178/. There are plenty of people there willing to give you their impressions of the HPSP program. That said, I have been over there, and certain individuals paint a unrealistically cheery picture of what military life is like. I find the general attitude over there fails to capture the frustrations and hardships of military life. Just take this to heart, and you'll be all right: "military service is just that, service".
     
  5. pinkster

    pinkster 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    04.26.14
    Messages:
    322
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    This seems fairly accurate, but I would question the "atrophy" of talents, as well as the "behind in setting up a practice". Generally, most students who graduate dental school are NOT ready for private practice, let along setting up their own. Most do a GPR. So I would argue that someone in the military for four years will actually not be too far behind their peers in terms of setting up their own practice. I would also argue that in the military, if a patient needs a procedure done, it gets done. There isn't the red tape that comes with insurance and a patients income in private practices. I would argue that you will gain a lot a great experience in the military, just as you would setting up your own practice right out of school. Are there people who may not get as much practice? Sure. But generally speaking I view the four years after school as a chance to get more practice, get a decent salary (and not have any debt), and practice without having to deal with the finances and red tape that come with a private practice.
     
  6. yankpak786

    yankpak786 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    05.06.12
    Messages:
    292
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Thanks for a great reply, I guess you're right, there's a lot that doesn't meet the eye as of right now. Would contacting the air force be the best way to educate myself on this? Thanks again.

    And is true that they would essentially pay for everything? or is there fine print, say I want to attend NYU, would they cover all the tuition, fees, books, and boarding?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Bis-GMA111

    Bis-GMA111 5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    11.07.10
    Messages:
    1,919
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Verified
    Army
    if you choose the air force? there were 18 scholarships available the year I applied. 18. you don't choose them, they choose you (this goes for all branches). these scholarships are getting extremely competitive.

    and if you get deployed yes you get sent to war theaters. you won't fight per se, but you'll be treating soldiers who have to fight.
     
  8. Bis-GMA111

    Bis-GMA111 5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    11.07.10
    Messages:
    1,919
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Verified
    Army
    my opinions on the matter are underlined. @CraigHack makes some very valid points here

     
    Last edited: 09.27.14
  9. CraigHack

    CraigHack 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    04.29.13
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    GA
    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    Verified
    Navy
    The 2014 ADEA guide states that 5,769 dental students enrolled in the Fall of 2013 (p14). 1,736 dental students enrolled into a GPR/AEGD that year as well (p9). This is about 30% of graduates, which does not qualify as "most" by anyone's standards. If you head over here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forums/dental.18/, I think you'll find that there are plenty of dentists who had success starting a practice with only a year or two of associate work, or even going straight into practice ownership. That puts you 2 to 4 years ahead of your military peers, with better training if you opt for the GPR/AEGD. Some military dentists will fully endorse their experiences, saying that they got to practice a wide range of procedures and exercise freedom. Others will give you horror stories of mismanagement and restrictive practicing guidelines. Let me reiterate my point from before: I'm not saying you will experience an atrophy of clinical skills in the military, I'm saying you might, and you don't control whether that happens to you. When a private practice guy is unhappy with his situation, he can leave any time he wants. When a military dentist is getting a raw deal, he has no options. People can argue how much you are really at risk of ending up in an undesirable situation, but I think it's fair to say that you can't argue with the point I'm trying to make here.

    Now for the other issue: debt. First, let's make sure we're working with the right numbers:

    The average dental student graduates with $241,097 of debt. For public school dental students, that number drops to under $200K (Source: http://www.asdanet.org/debt.aspx). You certainly can dig yourself a much deeper hole than that, and for some aspiring pre-dents, they will have no other choice. If you find yourself in this situation, then the argument for HPSP becomes much stronger. And oftentimes, when you look just at the numbers, the HPSP seems like a superior option. My goal here is to impress upon the SDN community that the military lifestyle comes a cost that cannot be quantified in dollars. For some, that cost is relatively low, because in a lot of ways, they enjoy the service. For others, like myself, it is very "expensive". I could explain all the little intricacies of how military income adds up to less than the numbers will bear, but for a lot of people, it doesn't make sense until you experience it for yourself. That's why military dentists have such a high turnover rate. It's why the military offers such a generous scholarship to fill the churning void of dentists.

    Ultimately, I just want pre-dents to go into the HPSP with a better understanding of what they're gaining/sacrificing. I think too often individuals look at the raw numbers without the proper context to make an informed decision. And I do want to make it clear that some HPSP'ers will be glad they did it; but for others, it'll end up being one of the worst decisions of their life. I just want to help maximize the former and minimize the latter.
     
  10. Bis-GMA111

    Bis-GMA111 5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    11.07.10
    Messages:
    1,919
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Verified
    Army
    my responses are a bit scattered, but all there nonetheless.

    agreed. people should look at the whole package. in life you're going to have to make sacrifices. you can't expect your military experience to be all 'rainbows and sunshine'. they invest a little less than half a million dollars in you for your education. you've gotta be willing to give a little.

    lastly, thanks for your service @CraigHack
     
    Last edited: 09.28.14
    tons_of_fart likes this.

About the ads

Similar Threads
  1. ztaw15
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    965
  2. DemonDoc
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    922
  3. eldirty
    Replies:
    22
    Views:
    3,522
  4. eldirty
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    1,005
  5. edcampbe
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    886
Loading...

Share This Page