illegallysmooth

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To those medical students and graduates who have participated in NHSC scholarship:

The only thing keeping me from making up my mind to apply is the nagging fear in the back of my brain that I might really fall in love with EM, neuro, anes or radiology during med school. How did you know you were absolutely, positively set on primary care before doing your rotations?

I'm aware that you can do a fellowship after meeting your service obligations, but there are obviously limits on the available options (ex. - I've only found 1 EM fellowship for FP or IM and 1 fellowship for FP only. Only one leads to board eligibility). I have 4 years of experience working in an ER and have been giving EM and primary care equal consideration thus far. However, my debt is going to be enormous, and I can't count on IBR with public service loan forgiveness to bail me out.

Ack. :(
 

smq123

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I really think that you should not apply. If you have that much EM experience, and seem to love EM that much, the chances that you will ultimately NOT choose primary care are high.

I always knew that I loved primary care. But, after I did my surgery rotation, I fell in love with surgery too. I was literally heartsick when I realized that I had signed up for this scholarship and had lost out on my chance to be a surgeon.

I'm lucky in the sense that I'm in a primary care field, and have come to realize that I love this as much as I thought I loved surgery. But there is no guarantee that you will be so lucky.

If you DO end up in a primary care field, you can apply for loan repayment. But don't let money (or fear of debt) mislead you into talking yourself into primary care when you don't really want to do it.
 

illegallysmooth

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I really think that you should not apply. If you have that much EM experience, and seem to love EM that much, the chances that you will ultimately NOT choose primary care are high.

I always knew that I loved primary care. But, after I did my surgery rotation, I fell in love with surgery too. I was literally heartsick when I realized that I had signed up for this scholarship and had lost out on my chance to be a surgeon.

I'm lucky in the sense that I'm in a primary care field, and have come to realize that I love this as much as I thought I loved surgery. But there is no guarantee that you will be so lucky.

If you DO end up in a primary care field, you can apply for loan repayment. But don't let money (or fear of debt) mislead you into talking yourself into primary care when you don't really want to do it.
You're totally the SDN expert on NHSC :)

I agree with everything you've said. I am really torn right now, though. I also work in a peds clinic and I think I would love peds. The idea of IM is very attractive because I could potentially find a specific interest and pursue a fellowship later, and there are several IM fellowship options all over the country. And I have an odd fascination with pregnant women, lol, so OB is a possibility too. Basically, I have an interest in IM, Peds, OB and EM. I highly doubt I'll want to go into gas or surgery. I will really kick myself if I wind up in primary care and didn't apply for the scholarship.

Maybe I will shadow a few more docs if possible. I know I shouldn't do anything for the money, but my debt is going to be 300-360 depending on where I go. Yes, seriously (due to undergrad + grad school + med school). The scholarship would save me 240-300k, and that doesn't even factor in interest down the line. Repayment would pay back 50k with the potential for additional years at 25/year, so you can see why repayment is not as attractive of an opportunity. It is definitely something I will keep in mind though.

I will definitely hold off for now, but I don't think I write it off completely. Maybe I'll wait until next year and try to define my interests a little more during MS1.
 

montessori2md

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I would add to this that if you aren't totally in love with the idea of working in underserved communities, or are attached to a particular geographical place, you should not apply. You could decide you love OB, and then realize you are only going to be able to find a position in Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska.