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Radiologist for Air Force in 2008

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by TRT, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. TRT

    TRT

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    My husband will be done with his civilian radiology residency in the summer of 2008. We have found that our initial decision to sign up for the AF scholarship hasn't proven as wise of an action as we perceived it nine years ago (but hey, we were young and clueless :)). We made our decision to join the AF largely for financial reasons (not wanting to go into debt). We had no idea what kind of physician he would end up wanting to be and we really were oblivious to the salaries that physicians made so the AF scholarship seemed very attractive. Radiology as it turns out is one of the highest paying jobs in the medical field (paying off our medical debt would have been quite easy) and hence making the AF scholarship decision a poor choice. Despite that we have decided to make the best of what laid before us. We thought that we could go overseas and live somewhere in Europe for 4 years....you know, enjoy living in another country, learn another language ect sounded like fun and the military is a great way to get that experience.

    Anyway, we are now trying to do research on the likelihood of getting matched where we want to be and we are getting very nervous. We still have yet to meet anyone in the AF that is in radiology and could fill us in on what to expect. Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?.....

    Does anyone have any idea how many bases we get to rank? Can we mix overseas bases with stateside bases in our rank list or do they limit you to one or the other? What is the likelihood is to get what you want? Since radiologists are badly needed in the AF (there is a shortage of them if I understand correctly) can we assume that we will be more likely to get the spot we want? Is there anything we can do to increase our likelihood of getting what we want? When do we typically find out where we will be assigned? Any info would be greatly appreciated!!:)
     
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  3. USAFGMODOC

    USAFGMODOC Attending physician

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    I am currently in AF rads residency. I understand your apprehension about the assignment process after your spouse finishes residency. Let me give you a couple of tidbits (having just watched our seniors get their assignments).

    1. There is no shortage of radiologists in the USAF (though there was about 6-8 years ago), in fact, with the USAF bases scaling down over the last decade or so, there are bases where there are "overages of radiologists".

    2. Don't expect to know your final assignment until next March/beginning of April (that's when this years graduating class found out). Even then, they still haven't received their orders yet (I and everyone else agree this sucks).

    3. Not every base has a radiologist, in fact there are some small bases with telerads now (if you send me a private message I'll let you know some of the choices out there)

    4. As far as "matching", our seniors did OK (two got first choices, 1 is going to fellowship in Peds, and 1 got his 6th choice.... You can list up to 20 places on your match list, but be prepared to go to anyone of those listed... In fact, if you don't think you can actually live somewhere for 4 years, I wouldn't put it on your list....

    5. Agreed, HPSP isn't a great deal for Rads or some of the other specialties, but I hope you guys make the best of your 4 years (most rads people without prior experience do seem to separate after their ADSC time is up.

    6. Radiologists do deploy to the war, for USAF rads there are some better places to go (but some are in Balad) so just giving you a heads up, if no one has told you about this. There seems to be some misnomer that rads guys don't deploy much --not true!
     
  4. TRT

    TRT

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    Thanks for your response!! It is so nice to be able to get some answers to our questions.

    Is the work load pretty much the same at each base (due to telerad) or do some bases have significantly heavier loads (for instance, do some take call or work weekends and others not?)?

    When ranking bases do you get to put overseas bases and stateside bases mixed in your list or do you have to choose one or the other?

    Does coming from a civilian residency but you at the bottom of the totem pole as far as choosing where you want to go?

    P.S. By the way....I did PM you several days ago.
     
  5. AF Anesthesia

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    Having just been through this process....

    You do get to mix overseas and CONUS bases in any order you like. For anesthesia, I had 15 bases I could rank. But, I know that when it comes time for them to give you your assignment - some of the bases may not have an opening (or the hospital may actually be closing) and an opening may come up at a base that was never on your list. So, what you get is completely unpredictable. We also wanted overseas and when completing the rank list (did that back in September), I indicated that my wife and I had been married for 10+ years, marriage was stable and she was very motivated to take on the challenge of being overseas. I put that because I'd heard the military is reluctant to put families overseas for their first assignment due to the strain it can cause. Apparently it worked, there ended up being 2 oversease openings and we got one of them (Lakenheath AFB). We'll be moving in July. We've encountered a whole new problem though trying to get them tickets to go over on the same flight with me. The AF has already booked my ticket and won't book theirs without govt passports that they can't get until I'm active duty. We're trying to work something out and I've been talking to people all over the Air Force and am still hopeful but it's a big mess.
    That aside, the assignments guy was helpful and did make an effort to match us with somewhere we wanted - he even called in March to double check and give us a choice between 2 bases - Lakenheath and Andrews.
     
  6. TRT

    TRT

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    Wow! That is great! So where did you get a chance to make personal comments? Did you do a civilian residency? We also would like to go overseas to Germany or England (we would like to rank Aviano, Italy too but have heard that it is a pain to live there with a family....have you heard such things?). We have been married 11 years and it will be 12 years by the time we are active duty. We have three kids and would just love to have them live in another country (I grew up in a foreign country and know several languages....I think it is a great expereince for the kiddos).

    So do you have to have military passports?? Getting regular passports is no big deal and usually costs around $80. I hope you get that figured out so you can all depart together. Best wishes to you and maybe one day our paths will cross!
     
  7. AF Anesthesia

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    There is a place to make personal comments on the rank list form. It's a place to put information about any special needs your family has, but we used it to show we were serious about the overseas request. Yes, I am now finishing a civillian residency. I don't know if Aviano is an option. I was given England, Germany, and Japan (Yokota, outside Tokyo) as options but not all of them ended up having openings.

    Getting the family over there should be simple, it could be simple, but it's turning out to be very difficult. They do need govt passports and visas. They have tourist passports but the Air Force will not book their travel with only tourist passports (again they've already booked my ticket and I would really like for the Air Force to book us together on the same flight). I suppose if it comes down to it we can pay for our own tickets and "sneak" them in on tourist passports but they would have to say they are just entering for pleaure travel - UK will otherwise not let them in without a govt passport and visa as military dependants. Apparently all this came about sometime in 2002/2003 as a post 9/11 regulation, and prior to that families didn't seem to have so much trouble getting travel for overseas as a first assignment.

    I hope it works out for you guys and I'll be glad to provide any info that I can, I know how difficult it is to not have information and how difficult it is to get information.
     

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