Military scholarships

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by RyanCole, Apr 21, 2001.

  1. RyanCole

    RyanCole Junior Member

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    Just wanted to get some feedback from anyone with experience on the HPSP scholarship route for school. I am finishing my first year and seriously considering it (Air Force to be precise) but am weighing the pro and cons. Like residency for example. Any thoughts either way on this? Is it me or does the list of available residency locations seems pretty po-dunk locations?
     
  2. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Think long and hard about it. The military really controls your life. You will have to do a military residency which will not count toward the years you owe them. And, some of the services are requiring the docs to do "GMO" years before they can go to the specialty that they want. GMO=General Medical Officer. I would say about half of the people in my class that are going the military route are unhappy now. Also, alot of the salary figures they give you are based on re-enlistment incentives, so unless you think you want to do it as a long term career, I would say don't do it. Why not just take out loans, that is what most people do. And, the diff. between civilian and military salaries is great enough to make it worth your while and more to stay a civilian. The only place that a military doc makes more is during residency. They pay about 10,000 more. But, personally I don't think that nearly makes up for the hassles that you could be subject too. Just think if thier is a conflict while you are doing your residency. Could be bad news. You could be camping in the desert for months. Believe me I know. US Navy six years. Parked in the red sea and med for 11 mos. during desert storm/shield.
     
  3. RyanCole

    RyanCole Junior Member

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    Thanks for the insight, I am thinking about all those issues. I understand the decreased pay after residency is over. Honestly I am just so in debt starting med school that the future looks grim. I am in the upper upper bracket already with loans I have, so just trying out my options. I have a wife and will have kids before school is out, so the Navy was not my first choice given the required 6 months at sea every 2 years. I am looking into Air Force where I will at least be able to be with my family.

    Thanks again for you input, and thanks for being in the gulf, I know that must have been hard.

     
  4. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    Absolutely the Airforce is a better choice than the navy. But, one of my friends is going into the Airforce residency this year let me tell you his situation. He wants to do ortho, which you probably know is a very competitive specialty. He could not get a residency spot in Ortho right out of med school in the airforce instead they gave him a general surgery one year internship. Then they are going to make him do 2 years as a general doc somewhere then they said he can maybe go back and do ortho or he will be brought back for a general surgery residency. Had he not been required to go into the military. He would have easily matched in the regular ortho match. He is AOA, and has a very high MCAT. And, considering the salary of the military vs. civilian ortho surgeon he is really missing out.

    Maybe, if you are absolutely positive that you do not want to specialize the military is not totally ridiculous.

    I personally owe about 120,000, but many of my classmates owe 170-180 grand or so. Our debt will be paid over 20 to 30 years. So don't worry you will pay it. I really believe that docs salaries have dropped as far as they are going to at least for the near future. There is a big backlash against HMOs and medicare is actually starting to pay better.

    And, just remember no matter what branch of the service you go into you are very likely to be spending time away from your family, esp. with all the deployments that our servicemen are going on these days. And, things are not over with Iraq or the middle east in general. Airforce docs went to Iraq just like the rest of them, also lots of reservists. Talk about being screwed, if you have a private practice and have to leave for deployment. A lot of those docs had serious financial losses.

    Sorry if I sound so negative, but I don't believe that anyone should choose the military for financial reasons, it just doesn't make sense. And, those people are the ones that will hate every second of it. Go in the military if that is what you want to do as a career, as a lifestyle.
     
  5. JD*

    JD*

    Sad story: Gay physician kicked out after 18 years. Better not be gay, I know your not..JD

    [This message has been edited by JD* (edited April 23, 2001).]
     
  6. Big Bill

    Big Bill Senior Member
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    There is a program in the military called STRAP which is for reservists. If you take it they pay 1200 a month the whole time you are in and when you get out you only owe time in the reserves. True you may have to go on active duty during war yet if the war is big enough there is a chance that you might be drafted. If it is small then it will be quick. I dont think there is anyone out there going to challenge us anytime soon due to desert storm. you could take that 1200 and put it away every month and then when you get fifnished pay off a large portion of debt. That is what Im thinking about doing if I get in. Each service has a web site that will tell you the benfits of the service. The army has all the information you need. Hope this helps. Big Bill.

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  7. Big Bill

    Big Bill Senior Member
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    To correct myself they pay during your residency. 1200 a month during residency will help and if you put it away after five years that could roll to a nice sum if it was in mutual funds or something like that.

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  8. RDJ

    RDJ

    Ryan:

    I have been in the military for over 10 years. If I were you, I would try to hunt down a military doctor or two, and talk to them about military life, as well as medicine. There are lots of pros and cons. I would like to think there are more PROS however. If you have any relatives who have served, that would great as well. Watch the advice you get from other students if they have never served. It is limited by their lack of experience. Even though I have served for so long, I am a senior NCO. My perspective would not do you a whole lot of good either. Check with a local recruiter and ask them how to get into contact with a military physician (preferably one that is not too far removed from their residency...or is well into their residency...they will have a little fresher perspective).

    Another option you may want to check into is the Army National Guard. Their benefits are pretty decent. http://www.1-800-go-guard.com/lines/medical/doc_inc.htm
    ...and the commitment is only guard time--one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer...and of course WAR or state emergencies. Check with the Air National Guard as well, I am not as familiar with their benefits, but I think they are nearly the same. ...and of course, if you can find someone who is currently serving in the Guard that would be a good source of advice.

    Good Luck

     
  9. RyanCole

    RyanCole Junior Member

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    Thank you to eveyone for the thoughts.
    I agree with you GP that going into it for purely financial benefits would be a great disaster waiting to happen. I have always had a respect and "drawing" toward armed forces because of a family history, so it was never far from my mind. I have been talking this over extensively with my wife and we are both saying that if we do this, we will look at it as an adventure, wherever we end up we end up, kind of thing.

    One of the things that I am wondering about is the quality of the residencies offered. I have no doubt that they are good, but I just never hear anything about them. I am personally interested in emergency medicine or internal med, but then again I am only a first year and things change. But like your friend GP, I don't want to be forced to do a residency that I never would have done because of lack of positions. And I guess I'll never hear that kind of stuff from a recruiter, it is always roses with them.

    Thanks again for the input, it is helpful. The decision is so hard, but what important things in life are easy, right?
     
  10. dcpayne

    dcpayne Member
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    I have been investigating the HPSP as well, and for similar reasons (financial plus family history of military service). According to students and the recruiter that I've talked to, as well as the print info I've gotten on the program, there is nothing necessarily locking you into a military residency (at least in the army.) If you don't get into the military residency you want or have a good reason for wanting to do a civilian residency, you can do so. I've never heard anything about being forced into a different specialty if you don't get accepted into a particular military program either.
     
  11. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    This topic has come up several times now and I came across this website from someone elses reply about this exact same topic from previous postings.... Try visiting it.

    http://www.shrmedquest.com/tablets/tablet5.htm

    This probably shows some of the "cons" of being a military physician. Hope that helps.

    GreatPumpkin is right though... Don't do it just for the money. Time and time again, you will always hear that the MILITARY is FIRST.... If you want to lead a military life, then HPSP is for you. Good luck in your decision RyanCole. Think long and hard before you sign on that dotted line.... [​IMG]

    Popoy
     
  12. GreatPumpkin

    GreatPumpkin Mystical Treatbringer
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    To do the civilian residency, though I am not totally sure, you have to have permission from the military. And, I believe it is very hard to recieve. They want their members to go to military residency. I will ask my military buddies, and get back to you.
     
  13. GeoLeoX

    GeoLeoX Ancient
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    For the Army you must specify 5 Army programs as your first 5 choices for the NRMP.

    Geo
     
  14. DocHunter9

    DocHunter9 Senior Member
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    I just recently visited with Col Mascette, Deputy Director, Medical Education and Chief of the Undergraduate Medical Education Division for the U.S. Army. She related the figures for this years match and approx 85% of all HPSP grads received their 1st or 2nd choice. About 2% recieved deferments to attend civilian residencies. 10% got their 3rd or lower. When I asked her about the "bottom of the barrel" segment of these stats she said that the main mistake made by these people was that they put all their eggs in one basket and that their situation was similar to someone with a mediocre MCAT and GPA applying to only one med school (Harvard?)
    Educational delays are given to attend civilian residencies but they must meet a strength need and cannot be in lieu of an offered military residency.
    DCPayne, guess who your recruiter is. [​IMG]

     
  15. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    I don't know about the Air Force, but the Army's residency centers are in far from "po-dunk" places-- Seattle, Washington, San Antonio, Hawaii-- that's just a few of them. If you don't recognize the base name, try finding out what city it's close to-- most bases with a decent hospital with residencies are near at least a medium sized metropolitan area..

    take it easy

    homonculus
     
  16. Zero Cool

    Zero Cool Senior Member
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    Homonculus: The Army Base in Seattle, WA you mention, Is that really in Tacoma, WA?? Or do they have one in Seatlle also?
     
  17. DocHunter9

    DocHunter9 Senior Member
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    You can check out locations at this site www.armymedicine.army.mil/armymed/default2.htm click on the hot topics drop down in the upper right hand corner and click on medical facilities. Every base has its own web site where you can get tons of info on the surrounding area.
     
  18. GeoLeoX

    GeoLeoX Ancient
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    The quick answer is that Madigan Army Hospital is closer to Tacoma (12 miles south) than to Seattle (which is only about a half hour north of Tacoma).

    Geo
     
  19. strider

    strider Member
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    I've been a pilot in the Navy for 8 years. The greatest drawback to the military from a non-medical standpoint is lack of control. You have to consider how much you will mind the lack of control you will have over issues such as where you live for the duration of your commitment. Also, in the Navy, and I assume the same for the Air Force, your choice of residencies can be limited by "the need of the Navy", meaning that if the service is short of a specialty, you could be forced into it, regardless of your desires. Just realize that once you sign on the dotted line, you give up the right to certain choices, and have no legal recourse. That is all worst case, but something you have to be prepared for. I know many military docs, and some like it, some don't. It depends on you personality and famility status (much harder if you have a spouse).If you have any more specific questions, let me know. Strider
     
  20. dcpayne

    dcpayne Member
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    First of all, Dochunter9 the site you linked to is great. I've been checking it out a little at a time (there is a lot on there).

     

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