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Pro Military Medicine posting - read with caution!!

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by helo doc, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. helo doc

    helo doc Get to de' choppa... now!
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    It seems this forum generally has three types of members:
    1. Seasoned military physicians who have been there, done that and think the whole thing is SNAFU.
    2. Doe-eyed pre-med/HPSP'ers who think military medicine is all fine and believes group number one has borderline personality disorders.
    3. Pre-meds/HPSP'er who are thinking "WTF did I get myself into now?" and are considering dabbling in a same-sex relationship or self-multilation to get out of their commitment.

    I haven't seen too many current AD physician types (or any for that matter) on SDN waving the flag for military medicine. With that being said, I must share a brief encounter with a patient that occurred this morning. He was a flight surgeon who had originally came in the Navy over 10 years ago, then got out to pursue fellowship training. He practiced several years as an interventional cardiologist and decided to come back on active duty because he missed the comaraderie of the Naval aviation/FS community. He also missed the sense of adventure and the pride that comes with service to country.

    I know that several of the super posters are cracking open the cartons of electronic rotten eggs and are going to pelt this thread with comments such as "He must have been a malpractice magnet" or "what an idiot", etc. However, I thought I'd try and give some hope to those out there in group number 3 before they put the rainbow sticker on their car's bumper.
     
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  3. R-Me-Doc

    R-Me-Doc Now an X-R-Me-Doc
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    What an idiot! He must have been a malpractice magnet. :laugh:

    Yeah, OK, I'll grant you that cameraderie, adventure, and pride are present in the military. In fact, one of the very, very few things that I truly will miss about the military is knowing that wherever they may send me, I'd probably know someone there from some previous posting -- you don't have that in virtually any other field.

    Plus, he probably made enough dough in his civilian cards practice to offset the salary cut he's going to take coming back into the military.

    And BTW, you won't find too many pro-military active duty doc types posting here because:
    #1. There aren't many to begin with;
    #2. It's a basic rule of customer relations that complaints always vastly outnumber compliments in any kind of feedback forum.


    RMD 0-7-9
     
  4. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    So, what is this guy's malpractice history?
     
  5. chickendoc

    chickendoc Member
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    I am currently on active duty and recognize that most of the complaints in the forums are things that I have had issue with...on the flip side I will never regret my time here. I have learned a lot, mostly about myself, and have done some amazing things with the best people I will ever know. It's not all bad...at least not all the time.
     
  6. island doc

    island doc Senior Member
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    Here, have some electronic rotten egg containing vomitus.

    :barf:
     
  7. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    As a Navy PGY1, I don't really fall into any of the above categories, but I'd like to finally chime in here, after months of watching the negativity on this forum rise. First, although new to Navy medicine, I am not new to the military. I was an enlisted Marine from 89-95. My wife was a Navy Corpsman for 11 years, and so through her friends (many of them docs and PAs) I have years of indirect exposure to Navy Medicine.

    My experience as a Navy Intern, thus far, is probably no different than those of my civilian colleagues, with the noted exception that I make a butt-load more money. My 03E > 6 status has me pulling in roughly 72K/yr. I complain incessantly about internship (as every intern should), but the one thing I do NOT complain about is my salary.

    I have to say that in reading this forum for the past few months since starting internship, I've been shocked at the negative slant of the posts. I certainly won't argue with any of those posting who have had negative experiences in military medicine. In fact, I think that the negative posts are extremely helpful to potential HPSP'ers trying to make a decision. They certainly won't get anything resmebling this kind of honesty from their HPSP recruiter.

    However, to read these forums you can't help but to think that the overwhelming majority of military physicians are counting the days until their EAOS. This is simply not the case.

    In fact, the opposite appears true. Most of the military docs I work with every day absolutely love Navy Medicine. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to have no ambition to ever get out of the Navy, stating that they have no desire to practice "civilian medicine." One of the topics that is often brought up a a "negative" on these posts - GMO tours - is the one thing that I almost universally hear nothing but positive things about. Every single person I have met that has done a GMO/UMO/FS tour is downright nostalgic about it, many of them vying to be back in operational medicine.

    I just want to provide some balance to this thread/forum. I encourage those contemplating HPSP to read and take heart to everyone who's posted on these forums. However, please know that there are MANY physicians (at least in the Navy) who have enjoyed their careers immensely. The sample of people posting on these forums is no way near representative of what I see everyday (in one of the big three Naval Medical Centers).
     
  8. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    teufelhunden,

    You're at NMCP, right? Go to the anesthesia department and ask around to see who wants to stay.
     
  9. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
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    Will being "doe-eyed" get me chicks? :confused:
     
  10. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Go to cardiology also, and ask around....with one noted exception, Dr Sumption, who I'm trying to convince to come to a practice near me....I'll bet no one is staying.
     
  11. bogatyr

    bogatyr Senior Member
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    I'm a PGY-1 and I complain everyday about the guy next to me making twice as much just because he's old and has prior service. Equal pay for equal work, that's what I learned from the feminists back in school.
     
  12. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    Yes, I am at NMCP. As a psych intern, I have (luckily) had no exposure to the surgery or anesthesia, so I haven't talked to anyone in gas. Most of the positive things I hear are from my home department, Psychiatry, but also from the folks in Neuro (a very gung-ho bunch here, most of them former UMOs) and believe it or not, the internal medicine folks seem pretty upbeat about Navy Medicine.
     
  13. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    Haha! So, you want to abolish time-in-service pay increases? You won't be singing that tune in 2 years when you're about to go >2.

    I tell you what, if you want the paltry 15K more a year I make, you can do 6 years enlisted (do it in the USMC like I did for maximum fun!) and come back in ;)
     
  14. helo doc

    helo doc Get to de' choppa... now!
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    I sense an untapped current of pro-military medicine that is growing strong in the forum. Rise up, brothers and sisters!! Take back the military medicine page!! Now you see the violence inherent in the system!! Help, I'm being repressed!!

    Ooops, sorry about that. The point I'm trying to make is that it ain't all bad all the time like some would have you believe. For those in school now on HPSP scholarships awaiting your "death sentence" on active duty, don't let others' opinions become your own. The same for those thinking of signing on the dotted line. Open your eyes to all the facts, good and bad, and decide for yourselves after examining all sides of the issues. Hell, I consider myself to be generally pro-military medicine, but examine some of my old posts. I can be rather bitter at times about the whole situation, but I would probably do it all over again and not change a thing. There... done.. could someone help me off this soapbox?

    BTW, being "doe-eyed" will help you score like a rock star!!
     
  15. bobbyseal

    bobbyseal Boat boy
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    Yeah, the former umo's who are staff neurologists are certainly gung ho. Probably got some brain damage from their non-decompression dives or something.

    However, one of the neurologists left over the summer from the dept and is now in private practice. He was a FAP person.

    It seems fairly typical. Those who were prior enlisted, were line officers, or fell in love with an operational tour tend to be the ones who are pro military. Those who have no prior experience tend to be the ones who aren't happy.
     
  16. USAFGMODOC

    USAFGMODOC Attending physician
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    I too am prior enlisted 10 yrs USAF, prior AF officer x4 then med school and now a GMO... I also believe prior service (in general) are usually more inclined to rate military medicine as "OK or tolerable". That being said, I am 4.5 yrs from retirement and unless I'm at the sweetest assignment ever or get RADS GME acceptance--- I'm punching out @ 20 and seeing how the other 1/2 lives....

    I am also awaiting GME results in Dec 05 so good luck to all Flight Docs out there in waiting.. :)
     
  17. haujun

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    4. Prior enlisted who realizes that the military medicine has much room for improvements and desires to take part in improving its function to accomplish its mission without losing hope.
     
  18. island doc

    island doc Senior Member
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    That's odd, I had 6 years time as an AF line officer before HPSP, and thought it insane that I would be forced into practice as a GMO before completion of my medical education (residency being an essential component). Military medicine as a GMO is never "OK". No matter how you slice it, there is no acceptable excuse for a physician not to become board eligible before entering practice. No excuses....

    Good luck getting GME at this point, I fear they may be more likely to give it to someone who will be around for alot longer (someone with less time in service).
     
  19. RichL025

    RichL025 Senior Member
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    They're paying us more for our experience ;)

    Truth be told, when I was a young, single, enlisted man, I was pretty pissed that guys who knocked up their high school sweetheart got paid more money for marrying her.
     
  20. MoosePilot

    MoosePilot Y Bombardier
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    Nice!
     
  21. deegs

    deegs Member
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    Hey, us prior-zeros might be in this category too!
     
  22. EvoDevo

    EvoDevo Forging a Different Path
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    Great post. As a former Marine myself, I had a couple quick questions for you if you don't mind:

    1. Were you an HPSPer? If so, did that have an effect upon your specialty choice?

    2. One of the things that I miss most from the Marines is the camaraderie and the "sense of purpose." I know that may sound cheezy as all Hell, but anyway...do you feel that you have that being in the Navy Med Corps?

    And maybe someone else can answer this last one.... I am seriously thinking about some sort of surgical specialty that's both fun and exciting and that also is something that has real-world benefit for soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Perhaps Otolaryngology, gen surg, or maybe plastics. Anyhoo, does anyone know if there are any excellent milmed programs in these areas [i.e., would I have a shot via HPSP?] or should I just do FAP if I'm still interested in caring fo those who serve? Thanks in advance.
     
  23. usnavdoc

    usnavdoc Senior Member
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    Just my two cents.

    As far as a sense of purpose no one needs the military for that. Everyone becoming a doctor already has that. Its your patients. That is why the broken medical system in the military works. B/c Doctors do everything in their limited power to take care of the patients.

    As far as the real world benefit for soldiers, sailors, and Marines. You can be a "real world benefit to your patients" from any specialty. Pick your specialty based on what you want to do with the rest of your life. Be the best doctor in that specialty that you can be. That is the best way to take care of your patients regardless if you are in the military or in civilian land.

    Just my opinion but I think the civilian programs out there are far better than the military residencies especially in surgical fields. I would get into the best civilian residency you can get into and finish my residency prior to joining if I were you.
     
  24. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    Remember that your "commitment" is a long way away. So considering that HPSP's benefits aren't much better then FAP's, why severely limit your options with it when you could just keep them open by doing FAP?
     
  25. EvoDevo

    EvoDevo Forging a Different Path
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    Good point, Sledge. Thanks.
     
  26. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they?
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    Here's one more.

    I had no prior military service, went to USUHS, did a transitional internship at Bethesda, didn't get picked up to go straight through to anesthesia.

    I was initially disappointed that I'd have to go out to do a GMO tour, even though every single former GMO I talked to at Bethesda had nothing but positive (often giddy) things to say about their time as GMOs.

    So I asked for a spot with the Marines at Camp Lejeune, preferably an infantry unit. They gave me one. I did two years and a deployment to Afghanistan - loved it so much that I volunteered to extend for another year to go to Iraq with my battalion. I'm in Al Anbar province right now, sitting in my room in the COC typing this as today's election unfolds.

    Despite the family separation (which sucks, no doubt about it) my time as a GMO has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding periods of my life.

    I agree. Count me as one of the pro-military guys who fell in love with an operational tour.

    Sure, there's still plenty of time left for me to get beat down and bitter (counting the non-payback years of residency, I'll be eligible to get out around 2013) ... but I'm optimistic. The Navy has been good to me, and I like to think that the people who really matter (the 19-year-old E2s carrying rifles a few miles from me right now) need people like me to stay in, complete a residency, and come back to man the echelon 2 facilities here (or wherever they'll be needed 5 years from now).

    That's not to say that military medicine doesn't have problems, and that we should suck it up and tolerate them ... just that the problems sure as hell won't get fixed if we jump ship for the civilian world. But I'll admit my career is still young, I have not yet experienced life as a Navy anesthesia resident or staff anesthesiologist, and that the stay-or-go debate is a purely academic one for me at this point.
     
  27. USAFdoc

    USAFdoc exUSAFdoc
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    EVERY doc from my base chose and would continue to choose being deployed over being in our SE US USAF Primary care clinic. Your + experience goes right along with what I experienced and discussed with 100% of other docs.......medicine in the clinics is terrible for the patient and the staff, medicine overseas/deployed is much MORE ENJOYABLE and rewarding.

    Problem is most slots are for the clinic.
     

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