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Resident Moonlighting Restriction

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by Doctor Bob, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Doctor Bob

    Doctor Bob EM/CC
    Physician Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Attending Physician
    Why does the AirForce (and other branches I presume) forbid residents to moonlight when they are on deferred status at a civilian hospital?

    As a senior resident, my civilian program encourages moonlighting on a limited basis as a way to sharpen your skills. But in the yearly status update form I have to complete for the AirForce, it reminds me in large bold letters that I am not allowed to moonlight and to do so could result in my being taken out of training and immediately returned to active duty.

    I'm sure there's a reason... I just can't come up with it.
  2. AF M4

    AF M4 Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Always figured that it was a no upside/possible downside situation for them. For instance, to moonlight you generally have to get a full license in addition to the training license that covers you under your residency. Something bad happens while you're working as a resident, you are generally OK - the state takes your place in the lawsuit, and so on, and you complete your training without a black mark on your record.

    There are of course stories where this didn't happen, but in general unless you are ridiculously negligent or actively smothering your patient with a pillow instead of doing CPR, you're going to graduate residency and return to the Air Force as a newly minted attending. Moonlighting though, does not fall under your residency's umbrella. That can theoretically screw things up for you in getting licensed and fulfilling your Air Force obligation. A very small chance sure, but it is there.

    So why should the Air Force take this risk in an asset they've paid for? They aren't getting a cut of your moonlighting paycheck. It's better for them to simply go for the guarantee and say no moonlighting period, and if you want to practice independently so badly that you're willing to disobey us - fine. You've got an independent license already, so you can work on federal property starting right now. Be on the base at 0700 sharp, you're manning the GMO clinic.

    There are some residencies out there that offer internal moonlighting in the program that may or may not be covered by their residency's malpractice umbrella. But then again, what's in it for the Air Force to take the trouble to sort out which program has which coverage and whether they can allow moonlighting for this resident here or that resident there?
    #2 AF M4, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

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