So, what's the military like?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by MiesVanDerMom, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. MiesVanDerMom

    MiesVanDerMom D.o. or Die

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Messages:
    1,454
    Likes Received:
    14
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I got an email from the army telling me about their scholarships for med school. What is the sacrifice you make for this scholarship? Can anyone give me a few positive and negatives? I'm a mother of two and married, so it seems like a bad idea for me I would think. But we're broke, so... thought I'd ask to make sure...
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
    Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Messages:
    9,050
    Likes Received:
    139
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Hi there,
    We have a whole forum on military medicine so thread is moved there for expert replies.
    njbmd :)
     
  4. IgD

    IgD The Lorax

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Messages:
    1,901
    Likes Received:
    6
  5. Pemberley

    Pemberley Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2005
    Messages:
    1,078
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Like we tell everybody, make sure that there's something about the military that appeals to you on a non-financial level. If you dislike everything but the money, you'll be miserable.

    Also like we tell everybody, try to shadow a military physician if you can. Reading about the military on the internet will only get you so far. It's a whole other world.

    That being said, here's are some issues to consider, focusing on female- and family-related military lifestyle issues. I'm trying to avoid other issues, notably bureaucracy and command structure, that have been discussed at length on this board -- several of us have had bad commanders, and exactly how typical those experiences are, and how they should translate into future decisions about entering the military, are subjects of long and frequent argument. Just click on any thread in here to learn more about all that.

    Physical toughness: doctors are not expected to be as tough as infantrymen. That being said, I personally am disinclined to enter the army based on my complete inability to keep up with the boys. I'm just not a running, hiking, field conditions kind of girl. That's just my inclination, though; there are lots of female Army doctors who might disagree with me.

    Gender-based discrimination: never saw even the smallest bit during seven years in the Air Force. I haven't worked with a large number of soldiers, but the ones I worked with were uniformly more interested in the fact that I did my job well, than in the facts that I would have done their job like c**p and that my plumbing was different from theirs. I've never worked with the Navy, but runningmom has and danjo's wife has, so they might be good people to talk to.

    Family separation: this is the real toughy. When I separated, Air Force deployments were at 4 months. You might want to ask one of the Navy types about shipboard deployment lengths and Iraqi deployment lengths -- I've heard 6 months, but I could be totally out to lunch. If you're in the Army, you'll be in Iraq for a year at least once, which may be a factor influencing mothers toward other services. My 4-month deployment was actually the highlight of my career -- but I didn't have a family then. People with families told me that deployments are actually tougher on the spouse than on the military member -- we get the tough and new, and if we're lucky worthwhile and interesting, jobs that can make time go by quickly. Spouses get the single parenthood; their old jobs PLUS everything we ordinarily do around the house. Make sure your husband understands the sacrifices involved for him.

    Moving Around: Expect to move every 3 years or so. Some people love it, some people hate it. I loved it, especially as I got the chance to live in Europe. Make sure your husband's employment is compatible with changing cities every so often.

    Duty Hours: This is something I can't tell you about, as I was non-medical when I was in. I suspect that the hours might be more family friendly in the military (when you're not deployed) than in many specialties in the civilian sector, and quite possibly less in others. There's a list of military physicians here; I recommend you ask the ones whose speciaties you might be interested in pursuing.

    That's just a partial list of important issues. I strongly recommend talking to, and preferably shadowing, some actual military physicians in person.

    Have you considered USUHS? If you decide you're really interested in military service, and want to take the "in for a penny, in for a pound" approach, it could relieve some financial stress, depending on what specialty you want to end up pursuing.

    Hope this helps
    -Pemberley
     
  6. former military

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    If you would like to be called Captain or Major rather than doctor..... for example your phone message would be "Hi, Major Smith, pediatrics" the military is for you... if you think of yourself as a doctor first.... you are in for an absolute living hell. I spent 11 years active duty... got out at the first opportunity....

    Today's military is very family unfriendly... it has a 1950's mindset where a spouse doesn't need to work and everybody is happy moving for no reason.
    Peace
     
  7. JA_Perez

    JA_Perez Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Wow...this is so true... :thumbup:
     
  8. dexadental

    dexadental 1K Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Dental Student
    Why is everyone who dismisses the HPSP as a ludacris program talking about the length of service being an issue? I could maybe see a medical student having to be tied down for more then 4 years but for a dental student, the moving is not such a huge issue if only signed up for 4 years max (like myself). Most who do the HPSP do not want to continue to be a military doctor, and those who are concerned about their label (Major, Captain, Doctor...whatever) probably are a little conceited as well. Look at the long term consequences in making a decision to join, I'm not advocating joining or not joining, I'm just stressing the small commitment for dentists that is required.
     
  9. Human Condition

    Human Condition New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
  10. Human Condition

    Human Condition New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
  11. Human Condition

    Human Condition New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Being called by a title is not the real issue. The real issue for many medical profressions the title indicates how they are perceived. Most doctors who I know did not come into the military to be called Major or Commander. They came into to pay for school and serve their patients. What former military is talking about is how there are many who look at the right side of the collar and not the left. You will have non-medical admin folks who view you only as a Captain (O3) and not as a physician and will treat you like they would an O3 without any professional respect and courtesy. I am a physician, and then an officer, despite what the military tells me. It has nothing to do with conceitedness or anything like that. I personally would be fine if my staff called me by my first name, just as long as they rendered me professional courtesy. However, that courtesy is lacking in all the branches of military medicine as evidence by the numerous posts on this forum. I actually was one of those who really wanted to stay in, but I cannot justify doing it based on my experiences and what I have seen. Four years is a long time (from a professional standpoint) so make sure you take the HPSP for the right reasons. Otherwise, as former military said, it will be unrewarding.
     
  12. i want out

    i want out Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Dexa,

    The primary issue with the Title of Rank as opposed to Doctor is that pretty much anybody that outranks you believes they know more than you do about everything including medicine. That includes all the Nurses, Dentists, admin weenies, and even the line officers.
    If your fairly confident in your ability then you can overcome this to some extent, but you have to be prepared to be persistent in making sure your sailor, or soldier gets the care they need, not just whats best for the CO to pass the next inspection.

    i want out
     
  13. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they?
    Moderator Physician Faculty

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Messages:
    11,302
    Likes Received:
    6,026
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    This is a gross exaggeration. Regarding non-physicians who have outranked me:

    Admin weenies - I'd say maybe 1/4 of the ones I've had to deal with made my life or a patient's life unnecessarily and inappropriately difficult by attempting to dictate what I could or couldn't do/order/buy/etc. This sucked, but medically ignorant admin weenies and bean counters exist everywhere. This is not a military specific problem.

    Nurses - I'm a resident and recognize that there's plenty for me to learn from nurses, especially as an anesthesia resident surrounded by experienced CRNAs. I've never had trouble with a clipboard nurse getting in my way. Even though I lack the rank and the kind of admin duties where a O5/O6 clipboard nurse might try to boss me around, I just don't see nurses attempting to pull rank on physicians on matters of medical decision making. Ever. The only specific instance where I've seen something like this happen consistently was a few years ago when the NNMC CO was a Nurse Corps admiral. That was truly an abomination and I don't think any physicians there were happy with it.

    Dentists - Are you kidding? They're professionals, and they don't dictate medical care to me any more than I would dictate dental care to them.

    Line officers - Over 3 years with the Marines, I worked for two LtCols and 6 or 7 Majors; with ~15 Captains (staff officers & company COs) and more Lieutenants. This was in the infantry, where anything medical is usually a low priority. I had exactly one Captain (Company CO) who gave me **** about medical decisions concerning his Marines. I knew other GMOs who had problems with their COs overruling their recommendations, but I personally had more frequent problems with NCOs and some SNCOs disregarding my recs. Even that was uncommon ... and usually the result of some NCO who thought the guy on light duty was malingering.


    I think the military's problems have far more to do with a bunch of high ranking admin-track career-building clinic-avoiding physicians failing to lead, rather than high ranking nurses and medical service corps types making power plays. In that sense, I think this whole "title vs rank" debate is an overstated red herring.
     
  14. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
    Moderator Physician

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2000
    Messages:
    3,528
    Likes Received:
    289
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    i never answer the phone with my rank in clinic. not only that, but i'm addressed as "doctor" in clinical settings on the ward as well. this is an easy fix-- and as far as i know we're not mandated to introduce ourselves as CPT such-and-such.

    the only time i'm called captain is by the people checking my ID at the front gate. (and the occasional random person asking for directions)

    --your friendly neighborhood doctor caveman
     
  15. i want out

    i want out Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Attending Physician

    My experience, which has been entirely operational, has been as noted above.
    And I probably should also mention that my operational experience is all blue side, I haven't spent any greenside time. I also haven't spent day 1 in any of the major military medical facilities (since I was a med student).
    Yes, that probably has had a significant influence on why my experience has been what it has.

    Line Navy persistantly and repetitively over ruled or tried to impede good care.

    Nurses (small percentage of nurses are operational, and I would exclude the CRNA's since they are really midlevel providers) considering this, my sample size is probably to small to draw any truly valid conclusion.

    Dentist's- yes, now that we are in the medical dental merger, and we have a CDR Dentist in the chain of command, he tends to question medical decisions. I presume this probably has more to do with his lack of medical knowledge than it does a desire to impede care.

    Admin weenies- I agree, that they aren't limited to the military.

    As I mentioned, my experience is probably significantly different than yours because I have been almost entirely operational.

    i want out
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. Croooz

    Croooz Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Messages:
    612
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Post Doc
    pgg & i want out are both right. I was both, albeit enlisted, however there was never a situation that a Marine officer questioned the doctor's orders. There were plenty of times that the corpsmen were questioned but if it got to the physician the Marine did whatever the doctor said.

    HOWEVER in 3rd Medical Battalion where nurses abound that was not the case. The nurses who were of junior rank would "ask" about dx. Same rank nurses would go toe to toe with why they believed the dx was wrong or inappropriate. Nurses that outranked the doctor wouldn't give it a second thought to order the doctor to change x or y.

    You want crazy power trips? Go see nurses assigned to operational billets. It is rare, IME, to find a high ranking nurse who knows the limit to their medical knowledge and can put aside their rank. I have met some great ones but 5-7 in 10 years. Let's not forget the med school rejects/dropouts who join the MSC. They are more than a handful. If stupid is as stupid does.....well I'm sure you see where I'm going with this.

    Just my experience on both sides of the fence.
     

Share This Page