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Reserve / Guard Duty During Residency

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by triclimb, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. triclimb

    triclimb New Member

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    Hey- Had a question for any reservist / guardsmen out there. I am considering a commission with the National Guard, and will be starting a civilian residency in the fall. Does anyone have any experience balancing residency obligations with the "one weekend a month / two weeks a year" deal?

    It seems like the Guard might be a good compromise between getting to serve your country, yet still being able to train at whatever residency you want to, live where ever you want to, etc - a nice balance with both a civilian and military life. Any thoughts?
     
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  3. st0rmin

    st0rmin Unregistered User

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    Interesting question. I used to think that if you were involved in graduate school (medical school) or doing some other type of professional training (ie. residency) you would be exempt from deploying. My assumptions were recently shattered when one of my co-workers was telling me of his experience in medical school. He was a prior service PA in the Army, got out to go to med school, but stayed in the Reserves. Two years into school his Reserve unit got called up and he deployed for a year, came back and finished school, and is now in residency. I would be very careful about signing up during your residency. There is no guarantee that you will be allowed to continue with your training if you get deployed. Finish residency. Then if you want to serve your country go for it.

    Of course this did not answer your original question, with regards to that, I can't tell you. Good luck.
     
  4. triclimb

    triclimb New Member

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    It is interesting that you brought up your friend. I have been told that as the policy stands today, med students and residents are non-deployable. Not sure if it is different because your friend was prior service, and perhaps still serving as a PA in the Army?
     
  5. usnavdoc

    usnavdoc Senior Member

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    Med students and residents in one of the military programs are non-deployable. ie HPSP, FAP, FTOS, etc. If you join under the auspices of another program then you are just as deployable as the guy next to you.

    IMO I think the uncertainty of the reserves makes it a poor option for physicians. If you want to join and want a civ residency then join FAP. At least you will know where you stand with deployments. Joining the reserves gambling on not deploying is a disaster waiting to happen.


    Remember you're not only thinking about a practice that may sink with you gone. You have to think about personal financial obligations you have which you may not be able to afford in the military. The house, cars, family continue to live at whatever level they are accustomed to. Those are real things that the reserves may inflict damage on once you are deployed at half your regular salary for 6-12 months.
     
  6. st0rmin

    st0rmin Unregistered User

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    Exactly, it doesn't matter that my friend was prior service, it doesn't matter that he was a PA in the Reserves. All that mattered was that he was in and they were deploying. The rest of the story (as Paul Harvey would say, does anyone remember him?) is that as soon as he got back from his deployment he signed up for a 2 year HPSP contract, because that is the amount of time he had left in medical school, and thus became non-deployable. As usnavdoc said above, if you are already in one of the military health professions programs you are non-deployable, if you are just some guy in med school or residency and the Reserves, you are a soldier first when it comes time to play in the sand.

    Good luck.
     
  7. bruinwang08

    bruinwang08 New Member

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    I was interested in this issue as well and did some online sleuthing (focusing on the Navy, so not sure about the other services). It seems that, according to official Navy policy, Navy Reservists who're medical students, interns, or residents but not in one of the health programs (i.e. enlisted or officers of another field) can potentially be mobilized, but can also submit a request for exemption from their mobilization. The policy also suggests that those who are ultimately activated, do so as volunteers. Here's the website for reference:

    http://www.npc.navy.mil/NR/rdonlyres/9885C69C-E693-4EA7-A4E8-EEE9B202ABEF/0/DDE.pdf

    I guess the question, then, is whether the requests for exemption are usually approved. My impression was that they would be.

    Bruin
     
  8. dpill

    dpill Senior Member

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    If you are serving as a GMO in your unit (for example as a flight doc in the ANG or Reserves) and your unit is activated, you will likely be activated as well. I met a flight doc at a unit I was interested in joining who was in his final year of residency and was activated during the beginning days of Iraq. His unit never deployed but he had to work full time at his base for about 6 weeks getting the members of his unit ready to deploy. Eventually everything was turned off, but he wasn't very happy about the delay in training. Most of the time units depend on volunteers but you are still vulnerable if your unit gets activated for whatever reason. In the Air Force, your chances of being activated vary by the mission of your unit- as a general guideline: heavy units get activated frequently, while fighter units are activated less frequently (some haven't been activated since Vietnam). AETC (training command) is probably the safest bet. The fact the unit I was interested in had a history of being activated weighed into my decision to not join the ANG during training.
     
  9. asilvey

    asilvey Member

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    I am currently serving in the NJArNG as a 2nd lieutenant in the state's Medical Command. I received my direct commission in July 2005. Before that, I was a drilling enlisted member.
    During my first year of medical school, and while I was enlisted, war with Iraq broke out. My unit got activated and I was scheduled to go, even though I was in medical school at the time. At the last minute I was exempted from deployment because my position was "double-slotted" (there were two people doing my job and my unit was only authorized one person), and my commanding officer knew I was in medical school and let me stay behind. I was not exempted from deployment as a direct result of my enrollment in medical school, because I was a regular drilling member of the guard.
    Shortly after this, I applied to the Guard's direct commissioning program for medical students. Once accepted, I became non-deployable until after my internship and residency obligations are fulfilled. Even then, guard and reserve physicians are limited to being deployed no more than 90 days "in-theater" per fiscal year (this does not include a 2-week in-processing and a 2-week demobilization time, resulting in 120 total days of activation). Although every single physician in my current unit has served at least one tour in Iraq, they have only done one 90-day OCONUS deployment each since the war began. A few have volunteered for multiple tours, but this was on a strictly voluntary basis.
    I believe the Guard has a great program. Students are now eligible for the STRAP stipend program (~$1,300/month), annual Federal Tuition Assistance ($4,500/year) and some states (such as New Jersey) even waive medical school tuition! Although it depends on your commanding officer, most are very flexible with drills and summer training. I have never been denied a request to skip a drill or make it up some other time if it conflicts with exams or rotations.
    During internship/residency, all units have the authority to use your residency time in lieu of summer training and IDT's. This is called the "Flexible Drill Policy" and is utilized at my unit. The residents are big fans because they don't have to give-up their one weekend each month to come to drill, or take 2 weeks of vacation in the summer for annual training.
    Of course there are obvious disadvantages, so it's not for everyone. I just wanted to clarify the deployment policy for those in the guard's medical program.
     
  10. Tiger26

    Tiger26 Senior Member
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    Just wanted to echo what was said above. I'm doing the exact same thing and all the info above is accurate. In my opinion it's a great deal. Of course, I was also enlisted and later commissioned via ROTC so it was an easier transition.
     
  11. Tulesipu

    Tulesipu New Member

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    asilvy, I was wondering how I might find out more info. I am a third year in AZ and the guard recruiters have no idea what I am talking about when I ask about a direct commisioning program for medical students. I tried to get in contact with a AMEDD recruiter in the area but no response (not sure if they work w/ the guard or just the regular army anyway). I've also looked on the AZ guard website along with many other sites. Just frustrated trying to find someone who really knows what they are talking about. Also, I was wondering if you or anyone knows if as a physician in the guard you can take time to go to other schools within the guard....for example sniper school or apply for selection in on e of the special forces groups. Thanks.
     

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