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umass rower

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I just received my AFHPSP acceptance yesterday. Money for medical school is not my most serious consideration, because my school offers an excellent program to defer a good deal of the costs until after residency. Also, the bureaucratic issues aren't such a big deal in my opinion, because as far as I can tell the military just trades some annoyances for others. As it stands right now, I definitely want to take this scholarship.

My remaining doubt is whether I will feel the same 7 years from now. I have been interested in the military for a while, but I don't plan to make a career out of it, and so I am realizing that it is in my best interests to get my experience early. I realize that 7 years from now I may be married or engaged or in a very serious relationship, and I want to know how that has affected other people in this program. Let's say for the sake of argument that the female would be another doctor, give or take a year from me, and non-military. Can anybody lend me some words from experience about this? Was the SO able to get a civilian residency close to the base? I think that this is my last remaining doubt; I know that there will be positive and negative aspects of military years, but I don't want my service to become a burden on me beyond my professional life.

If anyone can help me out on this (and the sooner the better) I would appreciate it. Thanks a million in advance for any advice for or against taking this.
 

R-Me-Doc

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Good point to bring up. The effect of military life on spouses is often overlooked. Obviously, there are a lot of uncertainties in your particular situation (for example, you might NOT end up with another doc, etc). But in general, military life generally wreaks havoc on spouses with careers. I can tell you from experience that in my 7 years active duty, my wife (with a masters degree and good experience on her resume) could find work in her field only 2 of those 7 years. Now, obviously there is a lot of variability depending on what your spouse does; some jobs (health care, education, waitressing) are more "portable" than others. But given the military's proclivity for moving people around, your spouse can bet on a bunch of interrupted jobs, moves, and frustrating job searches.

If you do end up with another doc, there are other complications: finding a residency near yours (not by any means a guarantee), relocating and relicensing if you move to a different state, not being able to get established in a practice for any length of time, etc.

Overall, I know full well that my wife would have been far more satisfied career-wise had I not been in the military. It's one of the major reasons I plan to get out after my comittment is up.

With regard to another comment you made, if you really have no financial need to be in the HPSP program and are only "interested in the military but not planning to make a career of it," I STRONGLY suggest you not do it at all. You are right that the military "trades some annoyances for others," but one of those annoyances is that they more or less control every aspect of your life. That is one big annoyance, and if that thought at all troubles you, you are better off not putting yourself in the position of having to deal with it.
 

ek6

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umass rower - I PM'ed you.

Did the recruiter say how much time you have to accept the scholarship?
 
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militarymd

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There are many active duty couples who spend most of their careers separated...myself included. A minimal amount of effort is given to stationing active duty physician couples together....and I do mean minimal....100 miles apart is considered co-location.

If your SO is civilian...then they don't care at all. There are a few people who are lucky, and their spouses get residencies, jobs, etc. near where they are stationed, but your spouses happiness is not a priority for the military. If you sign, you are rolling a pair of loaded dice...maybe you'll be lucky, but let it known that you have been warned.
 

r90t

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I'll second it, that the military life can cause problems with a spouse's career. My wife is taking time off to raise the kids, rather than work a year here and a year there. She is happy to have the time with the kids right now, while they are young.

I have seen co-location at NMC San Diego, and NH Camp Pendleton. It is about a 60 mile drive between the two. Friends of mine who were aviators, spent about the first 4 years of their marriage on opposite coasts.

Deployments also cause stress on the spouse/self/girlfriend/children. They have another program where you can join post residency, but I don't know the name of it.

I've had ups and downs. More ups and am enjoying my time. Signing on the dotted line is a gamble.

I'd do it again.
 

umass rower

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I decided not to take it. It was a tough decision, but I think there are too many question marks to be betting on something that won't happen for several years. I'm still planning to keep the military in mind, perhaps along the lines of the FAP, but I think I'll be able to make a more informed decision when it gets closer to the time when I would have to complete my obligation.
 
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