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Rudy

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People are hammering MilitaryMD for being "negative" in his views, but the reality is that most military physicians feel the same way. As a transitional intern rotating through the various depts at the military institution where I am training, I saw (and heard) firsthand that most share similar frustrations and are counting the days until they can separate.

The best advice I never heard while contemplating signing up for military medicine is that it is a good thing to do only if you if you think you would enjoy being in the military anyway. If you have concerns about deployment, spending several years living in undesirable places far from family, or military unique aspects, do yourself a favor and do not sign up. The job market for physicians is strong and most are able to pay off debt without much difficulty.

If you are really having a tough time deciding on whether or not to join, take the time to visit a large military medical center that actively participates in GME and talk with actual staff physicians in payback. This is the only way to know for yourself what it is really like in military medicine. Talk to them and ask them if they would join the military if they could do it all over again; whether the answer is yes or no you will likely gain valuable insights. Don't blindly trust a recruiter who has never set foot in a hospital when making a decision that will have such huge long term impact on your life and career.
 

Homunculus

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Originally posted by Rudy
People are hammering MilitaryMD for being "negative" in his views, but the reality is that most military physicians feel the same way. As a transitional intern rotating through the various depts at the military institution where I am training, I saw (and heard) firsthand that most share similar frustrations and are counting the days until they can separate.

The best advice I never heard while contemplating signing up for military medicine is that it is a good thing to do only if you if you think you would enjoy being in the military anyway. If you have concerns about deployment, spending several years living in undesirable places far from family, or military unique aspects, do yourself a favor and do not sign up. The job market for physicians is strong and most are able to pay off debt without much difficulty.

If you are really having a tough time deciding on whether or not to join, take the time to visit a large military medical center that actively participates in GME and talk with actual staff physicians in payback. This is the only way to know for yourself what it is really like in military medicine. Talk to them and ask them if they would join the military if they could do it all over again; whether the answer is yes or no you will likely gain valuable insights. Don't blindly trust a recruiter who has never set foot in a hospital when making a decision that will have such huge long term impact on your life and career.

what installations? i rotated through BAMC and Walter Reed and most people there seemed fine with their situations. maybe they were just putting on a happy face for the medstudent, lol.

good post, and good points. there's nothing like getting your information first-hand.
 

militarymd

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Perhaps it is very service specific. While trying to remain anonymous (per my PM to H), I must admit that I have not spent time at BAMC, so maybe they are content there.

But I have spent time at Walter Reed in the mid-ninties, and I know people who are there now, who certainly wishes they were somewhere else.

Finally, there may be specialty specific issues. My experiences and view points relate to surgical/surgical subspecialties...so perhaps primary care folks are treated differently, although I know my cardiology friends can't wait to get out....I guess cardiology is not primary care...although they start out as internists first.

Certainly the optho folks are happier than me where I am right now.

Just remember, I'm here to be the counterpoint to the recruiter!! Think of me as a public service annoucement!!
 
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Navy Dive Doc

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Just remember, I'm here to be the counterpoint to the recruiter!! Think of me as a public service annoucement!! Military MD

Thanks MilMD, we all need your good dose of negativity. Seriously, you're an excellent asset for those contemplating HPSP. I wish this had been around when I was applying, though in hindsight I'd still sign up. Folks know I've had a great experience, but keep your side coming.

My experience has been mixed, and very specialty dependent. The surgeons are bitter because their case load is heavy but routine, they deploy frequently, etc. The primary care folks are mixed, the pay is comparable so it depends on their initial motivation, I think. OB folks are just happy to be outside of the malpractice nightmare that is private practice. The radiologists all just want to get out an take advantage of the current job climate. Who can blame them, and I'll probably be singing a different tune in 4 years when I owe the Navy 4 more for payback. With me, though, the bottom line came down to trading a comfortable life during residency for a few more years in the Navy. The difference between $82k and $38k a year as a resident makes a much bigger impact on lifestyle than the difference between $140K and $280k as an attending. Plus, I already like the Navy so I can make decisions based on economics at this point. Don't sign blindly for HPSP just for the money, you'll hate it.

As always, HOOYAH, keep the dark side spin coming Military MD.
DD
 

chillin

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The way I see it I could spend the rest of my career after residency doing case after case after case of the same old hoopla, or I could spend 3 or 4 or more years learning about the military like flying or diving, whatever, and then go on to practice for 20 years doing case after case after case. I could stay in the military if I love it though. Not having a $200,000 debt in school and residency to worry about paying off is pretty nice too. It's all about attitude. You can easily block out the positives around you when all you do is focus on the negatives. Not that anyone on this website ever does this though.
 

r90t

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When I was in med school the kids from BYU were all on Air Force HPSP with the idea that..."we are in the Air Force, we won't deploy...we will have time with our families." That is bad to misrepresent their future service. People need to know what they are signing up for in a 4 year contract.

Keep up the counterpoints so we have people well informed of military medicine before signing up. I'd rather work with someone who joined the military to be a navy physician, rather than one who signed up to avoid med school debt.
 

Spang

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I second the opinion that it's good to present all sides of an issue and militaryMD does a fine job of that. r90t also makes a good point that everyone will be happier if only folks WANTING to be a military doc choose the HPSP, after being fully informed.

I left the Navy after 13 years of active duty to go to med school, even turning down a USUHS acceptance because I thought I'd had enough. Six months in the real world I realized that I'd spent 5 or 6 years working to get into medical school because I wanted to be a NAVY doc, not "just" a doc. So I took a 3 year HPSP even though I already had a (nearly) full ride scholarship through my state's veteran's grant.

I want to be a Navy doc, for better or for worse, and I'd be happier serving with others who made the same decision for similar reasons!

Keep the info coming!

Spang
 

r90t

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Spang, you AD right now? Prior...??? The navy is a small place, we may have crossed paths someplace. Rob
 

Globus P

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r90t & Spang,

What did you two fly and where? Like yourselves, I left Naval Aviation to go to med school on the HPSP. I was an EA-6B NFO with CAG-5 in Japan, then time at BUPERS before coming to Arizona. 14 years on AD, 6 enlisted and 8 officer.
 

Spang

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Todd & Rob:

CODs, east coast. Two cruise, Saratoga and America, Bosnia, etc, with dets to Sig and Souda Bay, then C-12s in Key West followed by a TAR tour at Willow Grove. 13 years AD now on 3 year HPSP.

The Navy is a small world.

r/

Joe
 

r90t

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I had a twisted career path.

Enlisted in 85, naval academy 86-90. Sub officer 90-92 and got dinged on my pre-com physical.
Jumped to MSC doing radiation health until 98. Left for med school and came back on active duty in 2002. I was AZCOM 02 and did my internship at NMCSD. Great place. Put on O-4 in Jan, 6 months after finishing internship.

I'm not sure how others with longer commissioned time have done it, but there are O-4 interns walking around. I eyeballed on in the incoming class and thought WTF???

GMO now. Matched Radiation Oncology in 2005 University of Southern California for another 4 years of training while on active duty, 4 years payback and I am over 20 years AD.

Todd E, do you know Dick Stockton? He is my boss right now. EA-6B NFO, was XO of Kittyhawk a couple of years ago. Great guy.
 

Globus P

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CAPT Stockton, sure do. I was onboard when he was the XO. Fortunately I didn't have to "accompany" any of our sailors to his Captain Masts, so I only knew him by recognition and an occasional passing in the passageways. What is his position now?
AZCOM 02? Cool deal. I'm 2007 and we have 15 Navy HPSP'ers here. One was a former Navy Intel officer on VINSON for OEF, another a former SWO, cruiser in Japan, plus myself....so we often share our sea stories. Plus we have many highly motivated straight-up scholarship folks who will make great Navy officers/docs. AZCOM will continue to put some great docs out into the fleet.
I'm enjoying reading your posts, welcome home.
 

r90t

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He's CO of USS BRIDGE. He screened for command of the Kittyhawk out of Japan, but has chosen the green golf courses instead. Capt. Stockton, is by far, the best CO that I have had. Thank God for aviators commanding deep draft vessels!

Our class had about 20 HPSPs, a prior SWO, myself, USMA guy, AF physiologist and about 9 BYU kids that the recruiters signed for USAF. Our HPSP group was a great group.

I will be in AZ at the beginning of April. I'll drop you a PM on how to get hold of me if you have any questions on how to work the system in your favor.
 

Globus P

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Yes, please do. It would be great to meet you and to snag a few pointers too. I know several of our Navy HPSPer would be anxious to hear what you had to say. Maybe we can work a little dinner meeting. I think you'll be shocked to see how much the school has grown in a short 2 years as well as the local area. I look forward to your PM.
 
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