MD considering AF Active Duty

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Dr4Hire

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I'm a recent US allopathic MD grad and I unfortunately did not match into any program this year. I tried searching for research in my desired specialty, but there were no positions available (funded or non-funded). Now, I find myself looking for another way forward in my career and want something to show for my "year off." I am going to take STEP 3 before December, 2010 and am planning to reapply for the 2011 Match. However, if I don't find something outstanding to do this year, then I don't see how my candidacy for next year's Match would improve. I had considered military service while in medical school; but, I deferred my decision until I graduated, hoping that the civilian route would work out. Now, I want to know how viable an option it would be to join the AF and work my way into a residency of choice while having the opportunity to serve. I am not looking for a career in military medicine-- I just figure that now would be my chance to serve, gain valuable leadership/technical training, and become more marketable in the civilian sector once I complete my obligations in active duty.

Is there a way to do an "internship" and earn a residency position in my specialty of choice based on performance? Do USMLE STEP scores and medical school transcripts carry the same weight in military programs once you are in the system?

Can anyone please lend me some objective advice on what would be the wisest thing to do in my position?

I plan on contacting a recruiter soon. What questions should I ask? Is there a better "deal" entering the AF already an MD as opposed to an HPSP medical student?

I appreaciate your help.

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I'm a recent US allopathic MD grad and I unfortunately did not match into any program this year. I tried searching for research in my desired specialty, but there were no positions available (funded or non-funded). Now, I find myself looking for another way forward in my career and want something to show for my "year off." I am going to take STEP 3 before December, 2010 and am planning to reapply for the 2011 Match. However, if I don't find something outstanding to do this year, then I don't see how my candidacy for next year's Match would improve. I had considered military service while in medical school; but, I deferred my decision until I graduated, hoping that the civilian route would work out. Now, I want to know how viable an option it would be to join the AF and work my way into a residency of choice while having the opportunity to serve. I am not looking for a career in military medicine-- I just figure that now would be my chance to serve, gain valuable leadership/technical training, and become more marketable in the civilian sector once I complete my obligations in active duty.

Is there a way to do an "internship" and earn a residency position in my specialty of choice based on performance? Do USMLE STEP scores and medical school transcripts carry the same weight in military programs once you are in the system?

Can anyone please lend me some objective advice on what would be the wisest thing to do in my position?

I plan on contacting a recruiter soon. What questions should I ask? Is there a better "deal" entering the AF already an MD as opposed to an HPSP medical student?

I appreaciate your help.

Huh. Interesting. First question is...there are always a lot of unfilled positions left after the match, particularly in primary care. Did you have your heart set on a particular specialty that's filled? I mean if you want to do an internship, there are oodles of PGY-1 prelim IM/transitional/surgery/FP internships out there that would allow you to get your foot in the door at whatever complete residency that university offered.

"Working your way" into a residency in the military means doing a PGY-1 internship anyway, plus usually at least a 2-year GMO tour before you can even apply for that residency. Expect years of pain before getting another crack at it, and your chances may actually be lower than the civilian match.

Furthermore, well...in a few years there may not be military residencies. The DOD hates the fact that it has to dump billions into health care infrastructure - after all, the military's purpose is to drop bombs and kick ass, not provide prostate exams to retirees - and has been tearing down its medical system for years. It can barely sustain the residencies it does have: call up residents at Wilford Hall and Wright Patt, and you'll find that they do many of their rotations at nearby civilian hospitals because the military hospital has already farmed out most of its difficult learning patients.

Combine that with ObamaCare, and the DoD will realize that it can dump its entire population into the ObamaCare safety net and save itself enough cash to buy a few dozen more F22s...do you really think they'll spend those billions on healthcare anyway just to save a few fading training programs?

The military isn't a way to mark time or try and build a resume for a year my friend. If you sign up, be prepared to be wearing a uniform, deploying, moving to places you don't like, etc. for a decade. Be very very very careful before you sign anything.
 
Thanks for your reply AF M4. I want to go into Ortho. I'm not looking to serve for just one year to fill my resumè. On the contrary, I'm willing to take as much time as it takes to get into Ortho. I was told by an AF retiree that by beginning as an intern/flt surgeon I could possibly earn my way into an Ortho program by my performance. Does this hold any truth? I would like to believe that I could join, get my debt paid, work as a fp/flt med for a couple of years, then apply for Ortho and then complete my obligation. I just don't want to be stuck reapplying year after year without any significant Improvement in my cv as a civilian. My question is: will joining the AF (or military in general) improve my candidacy for any program, military or civilian?
Thanks again.
 
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Thanks for your reply AF M4. I want to go into Ortho. I'm not looking to serve for just one year to fill my resumè. On the contrary, I'm willing to take as much time as it takes to get into Ortho. I was told by an AF retiree that by beginning as an intern/flt surgeon I could possibly earn my way into an Ortho program by my performance. Does this hold any truth? I would like to believe that I could join, get my debt paid, work as a fp/flt med for a couple of years, then apply for Ortho and then complete my obligation. I just don't want to be stuck reapplying year after year without any significant Improvement in my cv as a civilian. My question is: will joining the AF (or military in general) improve my candidacy for any program, military or civilian?
Thanks again.

This model is most likely to work in the Navy, because its what everyone does. But, ortho is competitive everywhere and there's no guarantee you'd get it.
 
Thanks for your reply AF M4. I want to go into Ortho. I'm not looking to serve for just one year to fill my resumè. On the contrary, I'm willing to take as much time as it takes to get into Ortho. I was told by an AF retiree that by beginning as an intern/flt surgeon I could possibly earn my way into an Ortho program by my performance. Does this hold any truth? I would like to believe that I could join, get my debt paid, work as a fp/flt med for a couple of years, then apply for Ortho and then complete my obligation. I just don't want to be stuck reapplying year after year without any significant Improvement in my cv as a civilian. My question is: will joining the AF (or military in general) improve my candidacy for any program, military or civilian?
Thanks again.

The answer is, unfortunately, a big "maybe".

For what it's worth, one of my buddies just separated after serving four years as a GMO/Flight surgeon in a remote location. Despite this and good recommendations within the military, he was turned down for an AF ortho residency when he applied. So please don't go committing your time to the military for something which is definitely NOT guaranteed.
 
"Working your way" into a residency in the military means doing a PGY-1 internship anyway, plus usually at least a 2-year GMO tour before you can even apply for that residency. Expect years of pain before getting another crack at it, and your chances may actually be lower than the civilian match.

Furthermore, well...in a few years there may not be military residencies. The DOD hates the fact that it has to dump billions into health care infrastructure - after all, the military's purpose is to drop bombs and kick ass, not provide prostate exams to retirees - and has been tearing down its medical system for years. It can barely sustain the residencies it does have: call up residents at Wilford Hall and Wright Patt, and you'll find that they do many of their rotations at nearby civilian hospitals because the military hospital has already farmed out most of its difficult learning patients.

For anyone reading this thread that isn't locked into the Air Force, the information above should not be generalized. This info is not accurate for the Army.
 
For anyone reading this thread that isn't locked into the Air Force, the information above should not be generalized. This info is not accurate for the Army.

Lol, it's not information it's pure speculation on my part after hearing various non-attributed rumblings. But never underestimate a government's ability to slash major programs at the drop of a hat, despite most people's opinion on how "crazy" such cuts may be or how indispensable the cut programs are. For instance, if you're a doctor working for the state of California, you haven't been paid in awhile:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/03/BA8U1E8QJQ.DTL

Caveat emptor.
 
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