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Military Pay

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Jet915, Sep 28, 2002.

  1. Jet915

    Jet915 Shi*ter's Rule
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    I just found a website that says an active duty second lieutenant going to Uniformed Services makes 37,500 dollars a year. Is that true???? That seems like alot of money for someone to get going to med. school!

    Actual sentence:
    If your grades are high enough and you do well on the Medical Candidate Aptitude Test (MCAT), and the Army has an opening, you may be selected to attend the fully-funded medical training offered by the Uniformed Services Health University as an active duty Second Lieutenant making over $37,500 per year. At the end of medical school, you would be a Captain in the Medical Corps and be (or nearly be) debt free. At that time your pay will be nearly $55,000 and you would also receive incentive pay of up to nearly $40,000, for a total starting pay as a doctor of nearly $100,000. Oh, by the way, military doctors don't have to pay malpractice insurance - that's worth a lot of money!!
     
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  3. UCLA Paratrooper

    UCLA Paratrooper Senior Member
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    Yes, you do make an 2LT pay while attending USUHS, but you do also end up owing the Army 7 years after residency. There are many benefits of going to USUHS, but there are also some things that aren't so great. Its great for some, but its definately not for everyone...

    UCLA Paratrooper
     
  4. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    Actually it's $42,000 a year, and a third of that isn't taxed. Your right USUHS isn't for everyone. It's only for those who want to make a career as a military physician. In that case those 7 years will turn into 20, when you can then retire.

    later
     
  5. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child
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    Lets have a Pro / Con discussion about becoming a military physician, I'm interested in seeing what some of you have to say.
     
  6. UCLA Paratrooper

    UCLA Paratrooper Senior Member
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    Let me try...

    PRO:
    - Decent pay
    - No school debt (with USUHS or HPSP)
    - Serving the country
    - Medical deployments most doctors will never do
    - Work with people (patients & staff) who are in the military
    - Special training opportunities (Airborne school, etc)
    - Generally healthly patients
    - No malpractice
    - 30 days paid vacation a year
    - Tremendous amount of responsibility early on (good for development)

    CON:
    - Moving around too much
    - Possibility to go into a medical field that you don't want
    - Possibility to practice in a location you might not want
    - Having the military controlling your life (where you go, what you do, etc.)
    - Military atmosphere (if you're not into that stuff)
    - Military training (if you're not into that stuff)
    - Might not be allowed to pursue Medical Fellowships


    That's all I can think of for now...

    UCLA Paratrooper
     
  7. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    I'm afraid some people will rip into my opinions here. So I'll just list some reasons why I chose the military.


    1.) For starters I want to some day become the White House physician. I know this is far fetched but it's my goal. There's a great chance that this summer I'll be able to shadow the White House physician and his staff during my USUHS summer experience.

    2.) Get to meet important people. I've already met the Navy Surgeon General and the PHS Surgeon General. I've also seen not met the President coming and going for his usual physicals at the National Naval Medical Center.

    3.) Get to do cool stuff in addition to becoming a doctor. I'm Navy so I get to do a tour of duty after I graduate. . I'm sure some of you find this a set back but I find this fascinating. Such as working in Special Operations or working on a carrier. BTW they don't put physicians on subs.

    4.) Learn additional instruction in medicine. Such as wilderness survival training and tropical medicine. USUHS also has additional training in emergency medicine.

    5.) Guaranteed a job. At USUHS we are guaranteed an internship after we graduate.

    6.) Get paid to go to class. Need I say more.


    I could go on and on but won't bore you.

    Negative aspects.

    1.) Chicks dig me in my summer whites. Oh wait this is a positive point.
     
  8. srabulldog

    srabulldog Member
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    Hi- my husband and I have seen it posted in the USUHS catalog as a pay of 35K for med students with no military background. Rotares, is it really 42K? Why this discrepancy? By the way, do you know anything as to the difference in standard of living between army and air force? most people opine that the air force offers the best living conditions, especially for married with kids... just wondering if you have an opinion on this...

    thanks much!
     
  9. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    Sorry don't know much about the Air Force or Army living conditions.

    As far as the pay is concerned the discrepancy is due to the fact that the pamplet you are referring to was made about 5 years ago and since then we have gotten an increase in pay. If I had dependants or prior enlisted exp. then I would get paid more.
     
  10. cdreed

    cdreed Senior Member
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    Hi all! I'm active duty Air Force applying to USUHS for the second time. My MCATs weren't competitive enough last year, although I did interview. The school is great if you want to pursue a military career. Physician pay is good, as well. While in the military, you're entitled to base pay (taxable), housing allowance and food allowance (non taxable). You can find military pay charts at the Air Force Personnel Center website. But to commit to the military, you really should be considering more than salary. The military is a different way of life that comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. You will be the guardian of the America. You will learn to take pride in our Flag and in our democracy. You must be willing to lay down your own life for the benefit of greater cause. If not, tread lightly. We all depend on each other in the Armed Forces.
     
  11. i have asked this question numeorus times but people seem to be avoiding me ! what are the requirements for the HSPS program or to apply to the USHS(spelling) school, in terms of citizenship and background (national background, sexual background, criminal back ground), where do u do ur residencies and exactly how many years do u owe the military, pls pls pretty pls!

    thanks
     
  12. UCLA Paratrooper

    UCLA Paratrooper Senior Member
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    I'm not 100% sure about all the details, but this is what I know. While at medical school (if you take the HPSP) or at USUHS you have to put X amount of military residencies in your top choices. Lower on your list you can also put civilian residencies. I also heard that if you want to do a residency in something that the military doesn't offer, you can go to a civilian residency program. Basically, you'll be going to a military residency. Some of the major places to do these medical residencies are in Washington, Georgia, Hawaii, Washington D.C, and a few others. Contrary to what most people might think, doing your residency in the military is quite good. The pay is much better and I heard its much more relaxed.

    As for the time you owe to the military, it's basically one for one if you take the HPSP. A four year scholarship woud mean would owe the military four years of active duty after you complete the military resideny program. One thing to watch out for is if your resideny is over four years. A recruiter won't tell you this, but if you do a resideny that's over four years, like Neurosurgery or something, you end up owing more years to the Army. Why? I have no idea.

    For USUHS, they pay for EVERYTHING. And you get a 2LT salary while at medical school. Not a bad deal, but you owe 7 years after residency. If the military is for you, this is a great way to go about it.

    Hope this helps...if any of this information is wrong PLEASE correct me.

    UCLA Paratrooper
     
  13. Alli Cat

    Alli Cat Flygirl
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    immediate spring:

    This is from the USUHS school bulletin.

    Applicants must:
    -be U.S. citizens.
    -be 18-35 years old.
    -meet physical and security requirements (see www.usuhs.mil to look 'em up in the bulletin. They ask about your criminal background)
    -be of sound moral character (don't ask, don't tell re: sexual orientation)
    -be motivated for medical military career
    -meet academic, intellectual, and personal qualifications of the school.

    I assume it's the same for HPSP.

    HPSP grads owe 4 years and USU grads owe 7 years, both after residency. USUHS students do their residencies in the military, but a lot of HPSP students do civilian residencies. There is no guarantee to get a civilian residency, though, so don't apply for HPSP unless you'd be happy doing a military one.

    I guess I should start applying for HPSP in case I don't get into USUHS (knock on wood) Good luck with your decisions, everyone!

    ~Alison
     
  14. Caffeinated

    Caffeinated Army Strong
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    UCLA,

    I have to take issue with one of your "PRO" statements regarding "generally healthy patients." While it is true that most active duty patients are pretty healthy, that does not imply that military residencies are lacking in training to care for those with poor health or multiple medical problems. There are LOTS of retirees out there that have serious medical problems, and military residencies are equal to or better than civilian residencies in this regard. Maybe I am biased because I am currently at Watler Reed :)

    As for choosing a specialty, there is an upside to the military. I have a friend that REALLY wanted derm, but there are only a few slots and they are tough to get. So, he did a 2 yr GMO rotation at the Pentagon, and will be in a more competetive position to get the derm slot. It may seem like postponing what you really want to do, but GMO's get paid pretty well (better than residents) and this is almost unheard of in the civilian sector. As an intern, you re-apply after your internship year, so if you were all set to do psych, and then decided you hated it, you could apply to a different program and you wouldn't lose any time. This happens quite often.

    UCLA, are you applying this year?

     
  15. Thanks you guys and good luck!:)
     
  16. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Also, (specially if you are at Walter Reed) during war, conflict times you will get to treat many soldiers that have been very seriously wounded (amputations, head trauma, burns, etc.) I cannot say enough good things about Walter Reed it is one of the greatest hospitals for those in active duty or retirees. Good luck to all applying but remember that being in the military as a physician will entail much more than treating patients, you may be called to work in a combat zone for one, are you willing?
     
  17. Lt. Ub

    Lt. Ub Senior Member
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    I'm a 4th yr on Army HPSP and applying to FYGME (internship) right now. The rules for application go like this (at least in the Army):
    - You must apply to the Army match which takes place in December (civilian match is in March).
    - In the Army match you must rank 5 programs - even if your specialty has fewer progams (i.e. Peds has only 4 in the Army - but this usually doesn't come into play as the vast majority get one of their top 3 choices).
    - If you match in the military in December you must withdraw from the civilian match.

    The chances that you'll match in the Army is great. I think this year there will be around 320 applicants for some 300 spots. Therefore, you should not get your hopes up for trying to slip quietly into a civilian residency (unless you know you're a really poor candidate). This was the only real drawback of the program for me. Military residencies are very strong, but they won't build your academic reputation. Since I'm excited about being a career military physician, this matters little, and I'm thrilled about my training next year.

    If anyone has any questions on this issue, since I know how difficult it is to get good information, I will try to help.

    [email protected]
     
  18. srabulldog

    srabulldog Member
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    throwaway- i have a question- do you know anything about matching to a orthopedic residency program in the army? I know that there are about 5 Army medical centers that offer the orthoped residency, but I also know that it's pretty competitive. Also, if you don't get it the first time around, are you forced to go into one of your second (or third, fourth...) residency options, or can you opt to serve as a GMO until a residency spot opens up... If you could answer this, that would be tremendous!

    thanks!
     
  19. UCLA Paratrooper

    UCLA Paratrooper Senior Member
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    Caffeinated,

    Hi! How are you? I COMPLETELY agree that the medical training in the military is just as good if not better in some aspects than the civilian counterpart. I was just saying that generally, the patients are healthier. This is after speaking with an orthopedic surgeon and a neurologist in the Army. The neurologist used to be a full time professors at USC's school of medicine. He told me that he doesn't get to see as many interesting cases as he used to, so he goes to the local civilian hospital to supplement his learning. And especially since I want to go into emergency medicine, I will probably not get too many of those this guy was beat to death or shot at by gang members cases as a civilian emergency medicine doctor would. All in all, I would like to start off my medical career in the Army.

    And yes, I'm currently applying...but I'm waiting for my August MCAT scores (fingers crossed)

    UCLA Paratrooper
     
  20. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine
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  21. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    I'm undecided between optometry and medical school for the OMD or ODO ( I want to become an "eye doc"), but regardless of which way I go, I plan to pursue a career as a practitioner in the military for the following reasons:

    1. Immediate responsibility (leadership and managerial duties, in addition to regular duties)

    2. Exposure to a large variety of ailments (the military treats active duty members, their families, and retirees)

    3. No malpractice insurance

    4. The opportunity to serve my country

    5. Opportunities for additional education (PhD or other advanced degree)

    The only down side I see is when you get deployed or change duty stations. But then again, that may be an up side if you do not like where you are. Of course, if you have a family, the separation issue will have to be a serious consideration.
     
  22. Caffeinated

    Caffeinated Army Strong
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    Rose,

    How far along are you in the education/application process? My advice to you is that if you decide to pursue optometry, make sure you understand the limitations of how you will be allowed to practice (in both civilian and military settings). If you are ok with these limitations and with making less money, then optometry is a good choice. But if you are going to have a problem with the scope of practice of optometry, take it from me (a current optometrist applying to med school), it doesn't get any easier to swallow over time. Although you get pretty decent training in systemic and ocular disease, and you will have some therapeutic privileges, most of your patients will be coming to see you for new glasses and contacts. Don't delude yourself into thinking that the mix of disease and optical will be 50/50 or even 20/80. It's more like 10/90 at the most, and in private practice, it's more like 1/99 in favor of optical. Sure, you may pick up a disease condition now and again, but you know what happens to most of those patients? They go bye-bye, and they are not your patients anymore. You have to refer them for the big stuff, and then some opthalmologist takes over their care, and then they only come back to you when their glasses need updating. At that point, you become even further removed from the ocular health standpoint, because that part is already being managed by the MD or DO. So they come back to you for the glasses Rx only.

    I don't tell you all of this to discourage you, but just to give you the reality of it. Optometrists make less money, and most patients see the care that optometrists provide as more of a commodity than care. Furthermore, in some circles, and possibly in your own family, you will not be called "doctor." Lots of people will see your practice setting more as a "glasses shop" than an eye clinic. Again, that's reality. You can try to change the system or the public's perception, but it's bigger and more entrenched than one person can handle.

    Best of luck with your decision. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

    Aaron
     
  23. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member
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    Actually, there are six Army ortho programs: Washington DC, Augusta GA, San Antonio, El Paso, Tacoma and Honolulu. They are very competitive -- I believe that there are about 19 slots. In past years, applicants could improve their position by doin a GMO tour. Unfortunately that is unlikely now. Here's why: Starting in 2003 the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons will require that all those seeking board certification do a catagorical orthopaedics internship rather than transitional, general surg or ortho. Since the army has a PGY-2 match in addition to the internship match, ortho interns had to compete with general surg and transitional as well as those comming off of GMO tours. In fact, the GMO tour could enhance your application -- especially if you did a hardship tour. The Army will conform its programs to the AAOS requirements and this will mean that the competition for slots will come at the first match rather than the second. Since the number of first year ortho slots will equal the second year slots, there will be no competitive advantage to the GMO tour.

    Thus, if you don't match Army ortho, you will be deferred to the civilian match. Ortho is very competitive in the civilian world. I think it would be tough to match there if you are not competitive in the military.

    One final note. A previous poster noted that members of the military get 30 days vacation a year. However this counts weekends. Thus if you take a vacation of five weekdays, its counted at nine by the military.

    Ed
     
  24. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    Sorry Ed but I've got to correct you on the vacation days. It would only count for nine days if you start your vacation leave on the friday before and didn't check in until after working hours on the next friday. In other words, you wouldn't ask for leave to start until monday and just return before the end of working hours on friday. Sorry if that doesn't make any sense. It's kinda hard to explain.
     
  25. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Military Pay

    Many are afraid of the military due to lack of control of residency choices after graduation. I have had an interest in the military since college. I didn't join during medical school because I was pursuing an MD-PhD degree.

    There is a new program called the FAP (Financial Assistance Program). The military has reduced the number of residency spots within their training system. In order to fill the military's needs, they are now recuiting residents from civilian training programs. The big advantage of the FAP is that you join the military as an O-3 (Captain in the other branches or LT in the Navy) AND you get to pick your residency program and career path. The military will decide if they need your speciality. You finish your training at the civilian training program and then work for them afterwards (1 year plus each year they support you). The pay is nice. You get about $39,000 per year from the Navy on top of your resident's pay of about $40,000. You can use the extra money to enhance your quality of life or simply pay off loans. Hence, if you're a neurosurgery resident with 7 years of training... you could potentially leave residency debt free assuming your debt is not greater than $250,000. In addition, if you decide to pursue fellowship training to become further specialized, the military will send you off for training and pay you at the level of your physician's pay. When fellows are making less that $30,000 in most programs, you can be trained and receive over 6 figures salary! The only disadvantage is that you must be willing to live the military life and not collect the big pay check. Each field receives "bonuses" from the military, and I think an O-3 will make about $130,000 starting in the surgical specialities and about $95,000 in the primary care fields. This pay will go up but will max out at about $30,000-$50,000 more towards the end of your career.

    For instance, ophthalmology training in the Navy has been reduced from 30 or so spots a decade previous to only 6-8 positions now. This year, they were recuiting up to 6 civilian ophthalmologists. I flew out to Bethesda for the interview, and I found the military life to have many advantages:

    1) Job and pay security
    2) If you serve 20 years, then you receive a big pension. Many doctors are receiving $3500+ per month at the age of 50 (assuming they started working at 30) until they die. You can work after military retirement and receive double pay essentially. The director of cornea surgery at my program is a retired Navy captain after 23 years of service. He's an awesome man and describes the extra pay as "over time pay". :)
    3) There is no medical malpractice or HMOs.
    4) You practice medicine the way you want to with the latest medical advances at your control.
    5) You get 30 days paid vacation each year.
    6) I'm interested in academic medicine and research; and, there are opportunities to do this at Military teaching and research facilities.
    7) You have the opportunity to serve our country and be a physician to help those who serve.


    I thoroughly researched this option, and I am glad to answer any questions you may have about the FAP. After I finish my training at Iowa, I'll be a Navy Ophthalmologist and aim to stay for the full 20. Hopefully I'll find an academic position at the Naval Hospital in San Diego! :)
     
  26. BlueAvocado

    BlueAvocado MD/DO Hopeful
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    Hello Guys,

    I didnt have time to read all the posts, i have a stupid Chem test tommorow but what paratrooper said was pretty much on the dot about pros/cons. I just got out of the air force and pretty much the biggest advice that I have is it's a wonderfull experience, it was really worth the time and experience, but a warning... You must be down with the military. YOU MUST BE FLEXIBLE!!!! If you are not then Military is not for you, In Medicine, as a paratrooper, Towel boy at the gym or anything for that matter.

    It's just that in reality they own you and for the most part you are a piece of property owned by the US government. That's exactlly what they tell you when you get in. But that's the drawback from the military, for people who are flexible and are people who go with the flow then military is very good.

    Another thing that I have noticed from my time being in is that quality of life is great, you are always taken care off but as military cuts have been increasing over the past decade that means that the manning has decresed because of lack of funds. My wife is working in a Finance Office in Air force and she is doing 3 peoples jobs because they are critical on manning. This might be a problem because when you become a doctor for the military and they need you to work 16 hours a day, you can't JUST SAY NO. That's something that really needs to be inbeded in people who are interested in pursuing this path. If you are ok with that then you wont be sorry cause it's really a great place to be.

    I plan to as soon as I am ready to apply to the Medical Comissioning program for med students. One other thing that I noticed in the military (Air Force, can't speak for other branches) is that the only place that it seems to be a really relaxed atmosphere, almost a non military is in the hospital. Most doctors don't know how to salute, I had one guy salute me with his palm facing out(hehe) and they really dont push the whole military barring on anyone, so if anyone doesnt like the whole military crap, you may not get that much of it in the medical field. Ok sorry for writting so much I just have a lot of personal experiences from the military.
     
  27. abw

    abw Senior Member
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    Dr. Grkovich,
    I was just curious as to how much/often you were moved around while in the air force and the percentage of doctors who are moved to a base outside the U.S. Also, how hard it is to have and raise a family in the air force? Thanks!
     
  28. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    How often you move around depends on the speciality and needs of the force. One of the faculty members at my program is a retired Navy Captain after 23 years. He served 1 year on a ship as an intern and moved a total of 3 times.

    The ophthalmologists in Bethesda have been at the Naval Hospital for 6-7 years. They didn't seem to move around that much. It's not hard to raise a family in the the military as long as your family can adapt to change. Many kids grow up to be well adjusted people. Physicians in the military live a great life.
     
  29. bafanculo

    bafanculo Member
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    I interviewed at Uniformed services and i loved it, only thing they did not mention, and has me a little anxious is how they pay their physicians...does anyone have specifics on what each specialty might make during their 7 year post residency commitment, and how long it takes to move up the financial ladder? ( Just doing a cost-benefit analysis of Uniformed Services vs Military scholarship with only 4 year commitment).
     
  30. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    If you have the military pay for your medical school, there are several things you must realize. First, you'll likely end up doing a GMO (general medical officer) tour (in the Navy, 75% do GMO tours and the other 25% go onto residency). What is a GMO? GMOs are people who graduated from medical school and complete one year of internship. After that, they're a primary care provider for a base. You have no other training than that. Because you have no speciality, you will not receiver Board Certification pay nor will you receive speciality bonuses. I think your pay is about $60,000-$70,000 per year. If you're lucky and good, then you'll get to do a residency and then work with all the special bonus pays. For ophthalmology, this means about $110,000 per year starting. Paying back as a GMO, in my opinion, is horrible because you only have an internship under your belt and after you're done paying back, you have to go apply for residency. After paying back, you don't have enough certification to practice on your own.

    This is why I think the FAP is great. You pick your speciality and then ask the military if they want you, and then you enter the military during your residency. So you could do your residency at Hopkins or Harvard and have the military send you a yearly salary of ~$40,000 per year.

    You can go to http://www.staynavy.navy.mil/
    and use the pay and compensation calculator to see how much you get paid at different points in your career. As a physician, you're an O-3 for pay grade.
     
  31. FERDOC

    FERDOC Junior Member
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    Is anybody in here prior Air Force who got out (or was given the chance to get out) for the purpose of going to school and earning a commission?

    abw,

    I know you directed this question else where but I just wanted to give you my two sense... :) Like what was previously said, how often you move depends pretty much on the needs of the Air Force. I've known people that have stayed at one base their entire 20 years and I've know people that have been to 8 different bases in 10 years. While these are the two extremes, as an officer you can expect to move generally every 3 years. As for the percentage of doctors outside the U.S... I can't give you the figure but I can tell you that if you want to see another country you will deffinetly get the opportunity. If your expecting to stay in one spot and never leave the US, then with all due respect, the Air Force (or just about any other service for that matter) is not for you. One of the great things about the Air Force is the ability to interact with other cultures. I spent 7 years in Japan and loved it. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Moving onto Family's... I don't have a family but I was a military dependant and had my fair share of moving. Basing my answer on my point of view and from what I've seen from peers and other folks alike it isn't too hard to raise a family in the Air Force. You do have a few obstacles (such as 3-6 month deployments to the desert, called to go to war, or just plain moving every 3 years) Most wives are fully supportive of this because they knew what they were getting themselves into. Most children and teens don't mind moving at all either... especially overseas. Yea, you have to leave the comfort creatures of 7-11 and WalMart behind but how many people can say they've been here, here, here and here and the amount of friends that you meet, for life, is great. Some people will find it rough at first and there are even those people who will not leave the base if they are overseas (why??? I have no clue) but if your family's a supportive one then it shouldn't be a problem. I don't know what else your looking for but if I can help just let me know.

    Thanks!!!
     
  32. johnstoner

    johnstoner Ben Franklin on Hashish
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    Whats really confusing is that some people say that the training is excellent while others say its terrible and they are "unemployable" after their residencies after commitment b/c they don't have the adequate training compared to civilian...what is really going on here and why are there a decent amount of dissatisfied military physicians who are opting to get out of military medicine?:confused:
     
  33. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    This depends on the speciality. Military residency is sub-par in general. It really can't compare to the top quartile. However, not all physicians are opting to get out. For instance, there was a glut of ophthalmologist in the Navy for the last 20 years. Most of them stayed in for the full 20 years and then collected retirement. The Navy's solution was cutting back their residency program from about 30 positions per year to only 6. Now they have to recruit from outside. I talked to many of them when I interviewed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. They were all very happy.

    As for being unemployable, I think this also depends on speciality. The chairman of anesthesiology at U of Iowa is an Air Force physician. The head of cornea at U of Iowa is a retired Navy Captain of 23 years. I know of several others who completed their service and then did very well afterwards. One good thing about the military is that if you're interested in more than clinical medicine, there are numerous opportunities for leadership roles, e.g. being head of a department. This leadership responsibility makes these physicians highly marketable for academic and admin type positions at civilian and university hospitals.

    I spoke with several ophthalmologist at small bases, and they do EVERYTHING. The pathology is very diverse too. As a general ophthalmologist, you may do more in the military than as a civilian because you'll be one of the few on a base who can address ocular problems and disease. These eye doctors are doing strabismus surgery, cataract extractions, plastic work, lasers, glaucoma surgery, and managing diverse medical problems.

    If you want to speak with physicians in the service, email or contact your local recruiter and find the name of the speciality leader. I was able to speak to several physicians before I signed by agreement.

    One last note, if you do the FAP (which I know you're considering it), then you have nothing to lose. You'll get money during residency and have that training under your belt. You go serve your time. If it's horrible, then you'll leave with training from a civilian institution AND military experience. You'll be employable with that background. If you like the military, you'll stay in for 20 years and then collect about $3500-4000 per month starting at age 45-50 for the rest of your life. You find another job and this extra money will be your vacation fund. One ophthalmologist I spoke to plans to work part-time after his service is over. He'll be 48. :)
     
  34. mindhealer6

    mindhealer6 New Member

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    I am currently active duty considering applying to the clinical psychology program prior to the deadline this January. I meet alll requirements, even pretty good GRE scores. However, I am 38 years old. I have done so much high tempo operations while I was young that I just now have had a chance to work on my education. Is anyone aware of a waiver policy?
     
  35. Caffeinated

    Caffeinated Army Strong
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    Mindhealer,

    Go for it. All they can do is say "no." The thing about a waiver is that it is an exception to policy. I know that military medicine does waivers for lots of things. I talked to a USUHS student last year who said that his class had several people in their mid-late thirties and even a few in the forties, despite the fact that they say the oldest you can be is 30 at matriculation. All of them were competetive enough to be considered under a waiver. If you, too, are competetive, then hopefully you can be considered under a waiver for your program. Just be persistent, make lots of phone calls, and if someone tells you "no" the first time, keep trying.
     
  36. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    As far as the waivers are concerned, you can only get one for age if you have prior military experience.
     
  37. Lebesgue

    Lebesgue Senior Member
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    You can get a waiver for USUHS pretty easily if you're prior service and competetive, other situations depend.

    Air Force vs. Army (vs. Navy):

    Air Force spends money on planes and their base facilities which means you will live in much better housing in the Air Force and I feel they treat their families better. The housing is nice for both enlisted and officers. The Air Force is the closest you'll feel to being a civilian in any of the branches of the military. And as a flight surgeon, you can occasionally fly in F-16's and F-15's.

    Army spends money on bullets and equipment which means facilities take a back seat. Many enlisted Army live in what I would consider horrible housing, as an officer, you'll probably live in conditions comparable to an Air Force enlisted family. The Army is much bigger, so it's just a different animal and mindset. There might be more opportunity to get closer to combat and combat oriented training in the Army which can be a good thing.

    I'd be careful joining the Navy without talking to several Navy physicians first. Living conditions on a ship can be unpleasant. It's much more confining (think about it) and can be frustratingly miserable. Shore duty is fine, but you could end up doing a 6 month float.

    Going TDY and getting reassigned every 2-3 years is not bad... You can certainly make the most of it, and you'll probably never get that opportunity as a civilian to see nearly as much (without paying a lot). If you don't like to travel and you want to live in one area your whole life, perhaps it's not for you.

    Many of the issues people raise regarding being a number and giving up personal freedoms are just silly. If you're smart enough to become a physician, then you can deal with any of the minor downsides to the military and have a great time while your in. Also, if you want to raise a family in the military, then you will, and if you want to raise a good one, then you'll do that also.

    Good Luck!!! :) :) :)
     
  38. FERDOC

    FERDOC Junior Member
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  39. CaptainAmerica

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    In response to the question about the quality of life between Army and Air Force, here's my two cents:

    Air Force:

    1. The Air Force DOES spend more money on quality of life issues. In general, their on-base housing is usually better than the Army's.
    2. The Air Force also tends to have nicer bases, with better clubs, sports facilities, etc.
    3. Air Force folks get to be stationed at really cool places, like Iceland.
    4. The Air Force has lots of loud airplanes.

    Army:
    1. The Army is the best employer in the free world.
    2. Who really needs a nice house on post? Use your housing allowance to buy a nicer place on the civilian economy.
    3. I have served as a Medical Service Corps officer for 7 years, and loved every minute of it. I worked at Madigan Army Medical Center (Tacoma, WA), Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Wash, DC), Munson Army Health Center (Leavenworth, KS -- actually a pretty good place to be stationed). I have met some of the greatest people to work with, both civilian and military.
    4. The Army's graduate medical educational opportunities are outstanding. I have a good friend who completed his internal medicine residency, decided he didn't really want to do that, and went on to complete ANOTHER residency in Emergency Medicine. Granted, he's not the norm, but the Army can be very accomodating if you're learning a skill they need.
    5. We have doctors in some pretty cool places (Kenya, Thailand, Puerto Rico, etc.).
    6. We have lots of loud artillery, many loud helicopters, and a whole bunch of very cool armored vehicles. With loud guns.

    Regardless of the service you choose. USUHS is a great school. I am knee-deep in my first year and can't imagine being anywhere else. Keep in mind, though, that I was planning to complete a career before I ever thought about attending USUHS. So, the 7 year committment was no biggie for me. It may be, though, if you are uncomfortable with military service.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Go Army, Beat Navy!



    :D
     
  40. BlueAvocado

    BlueAvocado MD/DO Hopeful
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    Yeah you guys have Doctors in some pretty cool places like Kuwait, and Bahrain which happen to be within the scud range of Iraqies launch sites. I was never in the army but one thing I can tell you is that we have a lot of prior army people swarming over saying they love the respect they get in the Air Force. Personally I think different branches suite different personality types. If you are looking for adventure and like the whole boyscout camping type of life style then "go army of one" any day but if you want to be treated with more respect and dignity go to the Air Force, it's no coincidence Air Force is refered to as Coutry club of the military.
    I mean prior experience of working under a tent will suite you fine if you have to set up a temporary hospital when your Primary hospital has to be evacuated for some reasons but working in the Air Force hospital is like any other civilian hospital.
     
  41. CaptainAmerica

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    Actually, as far as tentage goes, the AF deployed hospitals look a lot like the Army's. As far as fixed facilities go, AF hospitals look a lot like the Army's. The real difference is forward of deployed hospitals. When our units move beyond the corps support area, the medics have to follow them. Treatment and evacuation of forward deployed units is our bread and butter. In which case, you may be slightly out of your comfort zone if you're disturbed by working from the tailgate of Humvee. However, our soldiers at the pointy end of the spear deserve the best treatment they can get. They and their commanders absolutely will respect you for taking care of them. The Air Force is more cushy in many ways than its sister services, but the idea that you will somehow receive more respect and maintain more dignity as an AF doc is a rather dubious assertion.
     
  42. republicandr

    republicandr Senior Member
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    I was just reading that the Army has recently put a lot of $ into renovating outdated houses on base and building more housing as well. This should help with the image of the housing is awful at Army bases conception, perhaps...

    Also, isn't the military as a whole becoming more interchangeable? Isn't it possible that one could choose Army out of USUHS, but actually do some payback time with the Air Force or whatever other branch as needed?

    One thing about the Army, is that it is much bigger than the other branches, so wouldn't this help one's chance of getting a residency program of choice???

    One other thing- the GMO tour keeps popping up. I was under the impression that this option of taking a GMO tour to increase your chances of getting the residency program of choice within the military system was being eliminated. Does anybody have any clarification on that??

    Finally, as far as family life is concerned, I have a family with small children. Any medical career will most likely require us to move, at least for medical school, then residency, then starting a practice and perhaps again to find a better practice, etc... So the problems with moving around a lot go with the career, whether it be military or civilian. It is true that during the military payback time, they can move you around at their will, but as has been pointed out before, to move a family *at the military's expense* is expensive and they won't do it probably more than once every 2-3 years... Plus, the perks the military offers benefit the other members of the family greatly- good travel deals, free healthcare (WOW for those of you out there struggling with skyrocketing insurance premiuns around 1K a MONTH), paid vacation, help with home loans, etc. It is also my understanding, correct me if I am wrong, that at the end of the payback time, especially, the military will go out of their way to accomodate where you want to be based, etc., so that you won't just retire into the civilian sector. THey want to keep their docs happy, is my understanding.

    As far as being employable in the civilian sector, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have a MD and are Board Certified, etc., the years of experience working in the military will be an asset! There is a shortage of physicians, after all. And anyway, lots of DOs are hired (nothing against DOs), but many MDs would prefer to hire a military trained MD over a DO...
     
  43. cheeb

    cheeb Junior Member
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    Several of these posts have mentioned waivers.I have been told(on line) by Air Force/Army/Navy recruiters that physical conditions which normally disqualify regular active duty personell (particularly asthma,colorblindness) are waiver for physicians/HPSP?FAP applicants.Is there anyone out there that knows of someone who recieved such waivers?
     
  44. Hey everybody,

    I've been quite interested in the Army HPSP for two years now, and in that time have done my best to educate myself regarding the choices that I face. What follows is a somewhat lengthy (and hopefully helpful) compilation of my findings and comments (in no particular order).

    I have to concur with all of the statements made previously by prior military/current HPSP students. Although this sounds weird, you'll find that the majority of HPSP students do NOT know what they've signed on for (and thus are setting themselves up to be unhappy??).

    Second, the myth that "dumb" people consider (I've heard this elsewhere) this is patently absurd. At any top institution, you will find (verify this by checking residency placements as only HPSP kids can attend military residencies) at least one or two students entering one or more branches of the military. During my visits to Vandy and Emory just recently this was confirmed because at each school there were HPSP students. So, with that little factoid, it seems reasonable to assume that your potential future colleagues will be top notch.

    Third, and this is my conclusion from reading articles, talking to former service docs and even COL Maschette (deputy head of the Army HPSP..and incidently a great person to talk to about any doubts you might have, or to verify what your recruiter is telling you) is that YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN THIS ONLY FOR THE MONEY. What is sad is that the recruiters mostly sell it like that...but I'd be willing to bet on one's eventual misery if they walked down the military medicine path with the mirage of a pot of gold staring them in the face. Personally, I'm going to do it because I want to serve my country, jump out of airplanes and get a good education (oh yeah, and the money doesn't hurt). It's so important not to do this only (or primarily for the money) because you give so much up (location, possibly specialty and maybe even catching a bullet or a bomb).

    Fourth, the training is generally very good. I'm very interested in orthopaedics, and fortunately the Army is very good at this particular area. Look at the board pass rates for Madigan, Tripler and Walter Reed....all 96%+. That's on par with the best in the nation. There are, however, specialties that are not the best because of the nature of the beast. For instance, I wouldn't personally choose to do a trauma surgery res. inside any branch because none of them see enough. Yes, I know that Brooke is a trauma 1, but so what?? It's not a Grady or a Cook County, that's for sure. Also, as it pertains to the "healthier patient" comment from before: despite the diversity of the patients inside the military, they are not indigent, and therefore you will miss seeing a lot of diseases that you may encounter later in your career. Bottom line: have some idea of what you'd like to do and see if the military is any good.

    Lately, at least the Army, has been moving towards putting people straight into residency programs after medical school. This is a double edged sword. One former Army orthopod I wrote to said that his fav. memories of the Army were while a battalion surgeon for the Rangers. That's a GMO ONLY position. If you're into the "blowing stuff up" catagory, those positions are generally only for GMOs. However, there are exceptions like the Army Forward Surgical Groups which are the closest any Boarded doc is going to get to combat...and they're pretty close.

    Also worth noting are that docs can get some of the "fun" military schooling (http://books.army.mil/cgi-bin/bookmgr/BOOKS/P351_4/CCONTENTS) that the combat arms people get. This is, again, only for some people. Docs do go to air assault/ airborne schools, and some are special ops or ranger tabbed. You might even run across a "marksman" doc or one with an EFMB (http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/dts/efmbhome.htm). If you're wondering what the career lifecycle might be like: http://www-perscom.army.mil/OPdc/DCLCYC.HTM . Like most parts of the military, it can be high-speed if you so desire (it just can't be TOO high speed).

    One side note regarding residencies: there are ways to get out of having to do a military residency. Though less than scrupulous, they are legal and basically involve not filling out paperwork/showing up to interviews. Some people are really afraid of not having a civilian choice, but it stands to reason that a fairly easy way to ensure your civilian choice would be to list very difficult residency programs and just fail to match. I personally know one internist who did this, and it worked for him. However, be reminded that you will NOT be getting out of your statutory obligation to the Army for 4 years of active service. But, to be honest...if you really want to pick your training ground just do FAP.

    Oh, that wonderful retirement everybody keeps talking about is roughly half of your ending BASE pay. Somebody posted a PDF of the pay grades...use ONLY that. MSP and board pay don't count in the retirement equation (at least as far as I've heard). So, if you retire at COL, it's a descent amount but nothing commensurate with your previous active duty pay.

    As far as promotion is concerned for those who are at least playing with the idea of a career: the AF is the smallest and the Army is the largest. Therefore, there are the most Generals and COLs running around in the Army. HOWEVER, this doesn't mean that there are a lot. A very large medical center might be commanded by a Lt. Gen (like Tripler, I believe), but there are very few centers this big. So, one could very easily spend their entire career in the Army and never earn a star. Also be forewarned that the higher in rank one gets, the less they act like a doctor and the more they act like an administrator. The civilian sector mirrors this sometimes, but just be forewarned. The Army generally will rip you away from the OR (or burden you down with admin responsibilities) as you increase in rank (this is another reason people leave). Like most things in the Army, this two has a good side: civilian hospitals will love you for your metric based management style...and the armed forces DO love their metrics.

    Medical conditions and physical fitness:
    For those who don't know, you have to go through MEPS and it sucks. I was a USMC Officer Candidate once upon a time and therefore have had to endure the agony twice. Yes, you have to turn your head and cough...yes, you have to have somebody watch you pee into a cup and yes you have to get stuck with a needle. However, since HPSP kids are not combat arms, there is no EKG (yay). So, if you have a minor heart condition but are still OK to run and work out hardcore, it won't come up and you may not even have to disclose it. There is also no maximum eye prescription limit (within reason, like below 10 diopters or something, and 1 whatever the unit is of astigmatism). This was an issue when I was considering the USMC (and ultimately DQed me) but it wasn't a problem with the HPSP. I did have to get an eye consult (read: outside eye exam for exact prescription numbers), but that was it. If you've had broken leg/foot bones or other major bone breakages you'll need an ortho consult. Basically, the consult is just to make sure you're OK. Even though MEPS is designed to get rid of people, the Army and Navy (and AF to a lesser degree) really want you as a doc, so they will bend the rules somewhat. I'm not sure about colorblindness, but I don't remember doing the "lantern" test or the hidden number test with the Army physical (though I did have to take them with the USMC physical, so Navy might require them).


    So, that's a whole lot of typing in a really disordered mess...but maybe (hopefully) it will help somebody. I do know more, but I just wanted to hit on some key ideas. I'll do my best to answer any questions anybody has. Best of luck with your decisions!

    Sincerely,

    Neil


    Useful websites:

    Need to find that mysterious AR ???-???:
    http://www.adtdl.army.mil/atdls.htm
    http://books.usapa.belvoir.army.mil/cgi-bin/bookmgr/Shelves

    Read about OBC:
    http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/obchome


    Why Military medicine is bad (get all the opinions):
    http://semmelweissociety.tripod.com/dueprocessoflawinpeerreviewandmedicine/id51.html
    http://www.usmedicine.com/article.cfm?articleID=60&issueID=16
    http://www.usmedicine.com/article.cfm?articleID=61&issueID=16

    The caveats, of course, to the above articles are:
    a) GMO tours are on their way out, esp. in the Army/AF (this could be good or bad dep. on your perspective).
    b) Whiners tend to post more often, and with more vigor, than happy people.
    c) Military medicine is changing...supposedly for the better.

    Items that should be considered "true" or valuable from the above sources:
    a) All branches of the military hemorrhage mid-grade officers (i.e. the bread and butter of the medical corps). http://www.usmedicine.com/column.cfm?columnID=16&issueID=12 Why? Mostly because of money and a lack of fulfillment. Esp. for surgeons, 120k pales in the face of 300k or 600k salaries.
     
  45. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Thanks for the response Neil.
    But if you want to "blow stuff up" or "go airborne", then medicine is not for you. Even if you do go to the airborne school, the most you will do is just jump from an airplane several times. You can do this and more in a civilian parachute club. Doing any combat jumps (or even simulation-i.e. jump at night and "hike" a few miles) is not part of your job. Neither is blowing stuff up. The only way you can be "special forces tabbed" is if you did this before going to med school. If you're looking to shoot, you can also do it at a civilian range, though in military they provide ranges as well, i suppose.

    Of course the positive thing is you can be friends with people who have interesting stories to tell.

    Also as I posted in another thread, i dont know why people are afraid of the GMO tour? i.e. you can sign for 2 years of hpsp and then do internship and a flight surgery tour or "battalion surgeon", and get out. You get to serve the country, do something you dont do in the civilian life, but in the end you dont lose as much financially.

    As i see, the biggest problem with military is raising a family. Im sure any family would prefer to "travel the world" as civilians. Some people wouldnt mind military life, some would. But if you dont like it, it's best to take just 2 years of hpsp. The longer you serve in military, the harder it will be to fit in back in the civilian world. You will make more professional contacts if you do a civilian residensy.
     
  46. Ouch. Watch out with that "medicine is not for you" stuff...you might hurt yourself.

    It's a well documented fact that surgeon-type people (including wannabes or hopefulls like myself) do have a propensity for blowing things up and creating what could best be described as general mayhem. While military physicians will never actually get to "blow things up," there are opportunities to partake in some of the "fun stuff" like jumping out of a plane or being a flight surgeon and flying.

    FWIW: I do shoot competitively (.22 rifle, prone, indoor).

    Now, to dissuade you from this idea that military medicine is only operating in a hospital with a BDU on, I dug up two emails from that Ranger orthopod and have pasted them for your reading pleasure. They also contain other nuggets of wisdom (and spelling/grammar errors) for everybody elses benefit:

    "I very much enjoyed my time with the 1st Ranger Bn. I spent a total of about five years on jump status. I expect there will be a significant need for people interested in serving in that capacity. The advantages are interesting job with more dedicated people. Also physical challenges and deployments with interesting training. The downside is being away from home and family and of course the inherent risk. Very few significant injuries occur with jumping under ideal environments, however, the Rangers have been in combat and hazardous enfironments on a fairly routine basis.

    As far as accepting a scholarship, I think it is a great idea to get school payed for but realize that the Army does not treat people well and is a very beaurocratic and frustrating organization to work for. They tend to keep people by increasing obligation not by offering benefits to make you stay in voluntarily. If you accept the HPSP you are not signing on for 4 years, you are actually (at last count) signing on for 13! They will require you to go
    where they say for residency and incur additional obligation. You will experience a very high operations tempo in the current downsized Army. They will move you and any family you have wherever and whenever they want and in general invade every aspect of your life. Retirement and benefits aren't that good.

    I have no regrets and had great life experiences but it is a big commitment for the next decade and a half you are contemplating. You would undoubtedly come out financially ahead to just take loans and work on doing research and
    making good grades to insure your acceptance into the residency of your choice.

    You can't really stay in the Army and ge a good surgeon. CME (continuing medical education) budget stinks. Don't believe any recruitment junk about conferences yearly. Withing 2-3 years out of your residency, you would have to forsake surgeon competency to maintain your staff officer training to make rank.

    I left as a LTC being promoted early largely because of my combat arms skills rather than being a good surgeon. I would have gone to CGSC ( Command and General Staff College) for a year residence course to make rank.
    I did not want to be away from medicine for a year. After that, I would have either commanded a small hospital or been a staff officer for a Division, either of which would take me away from my family more than I was commited to do.

    The point is if you take this scholarship, it entails a lot more than you might be expecting. You should be informed and accept the good and bad that goes with it. Either way, I wish you luck." (he went to VMI for undergrad BTW)

    "I do not know the current numbers regarding how many residency slots are available for how many applicants. When I was in, a GMO tour was required. Actually, that was the most enjoyable part of my time served. Most of the
    neat jobs as fight surgeons or in SOCOM back then were for non-residency trained people.

    I think in a competitive specialty like Ortho, your odds were better in the Army than in the civillian sector. I imaginge that would still be true.

    Can you maintain your clinical skill while in the Army, sort of. They will limit your scope of practice to what serves their needs. I probably do more total joints as a general practice orthopod than fellowship-trained guys in the Army. You do not have to go the admin route but that is where the promotions and pay etc. are. By the time you are out of training, you will be a major and due for CGSC.

    IN summary, if you join, at least you have given reasonable thought to the idea. I thoroughly enjoyed being a Ranger for two years. I partially enjoyed running my own clinic for about three more while being a part time 82nd paratrooper.

    I despised the ineficiency and lousy treatment in general of most of the rest of 13 years. In retrospect, I had great life experiences and a good education. I got to train in a competitive specialty. Two years of private practice has almost brought me up to speed on some of the procedures and technologies denied me in the Army.

    Would I do it all again, depends. You will have to decide where your priorities are. Good Luck.

    Note, I just today recieved one of many letters from the Army I have alegedly resigned my comission in. They are so disorganized, they still have me in the reserves and it wouldn't surprise me if they called me back up if they got desperate. Its not legal, but when you've been done wrong by the government, who will you complain to?"

    So, you know, even though I was just kidding about the "blowing stuff up" part, you can see that there are (or were, when he was in during the early 90s) SOCOM doctors. I'm not trying to start any type of acrimony...but one ought to be careful about judging whether medicine is for somebody or not for somebodybased on one post.

    Neil
     
  47. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member
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    I got an Army waiver for asthma, although I really don't have it. I had one episode of wheezing at age fifteen following some pretty heavy industrial exposure. This was no problem for the Army, but it kept me out of the Navy when I applied to the JAG corps in 1992. According to one Navy doc I spoke to, they have had a few recruits die of asthma and became very shell shocked by it. I don't know if they have recovered from it yet.

    Ed
     
  48. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Hi,
    Those are very intersting letters. I am sorry i missworded this sentence about blowing stuff up. I meant to say that doctors dont get to work closely with the rangers, just stay in the hospital.. But i guess i was wrong.

    These GMO positions do sound very interesting! It would be interesting to know about battalion surgeons, flight surgoens, and diving medicine docs in more detail. What is their typical day? Do they get to go to Ranger school or go on tdy's with the teams? Which of them is closer operationally to the rangers, seals, or pilots, etc?

    Thanks.
     
  49. exigente chica

    7+ Year Member

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    The army has an MD/Ph.d program?
     
  50. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

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    No. I decided to go into the military after the MD-PhD program. There's several military teaching hospitals and research facilities that I hope to work at.
     
  51. phil413ru

    phil413ru Senior Member
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    The army has an MD/Ph.d program?


    Yes. At USUHS. see www.usuhs.mil

    Please note- it does entail a greater committment
     

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