Aug 4, 2017
7
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Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hello Everyone,
I am posting in the military medicine forum because firstly, I am a veteran with some issues that I think military people could understand. Second, I am undecided with which direction I would take medicine, but the military is not something I would take off the table. I ask forgiveness for my ignorance but am just looking for some general guidance so I can narrow down my research on this subject.

I left the military in 2014 after doing a stint in an infantry unit. I first developed an interest in medicine after being involved in a number of casualty incidents in Afghanistan, including a serious mass casualty incident. After witnessing experienced combat surgeons, PAs, and medics working on casualties I was very intrigued by the medical field, which I hadn't considered before. My training consisted of basic combat trauma aid, and I usually handled a litter or just gave medical supplies to the medical personnel when needed in these situations. I always wished I had been able to play a bigger part in the process.

After I was discharged, I made a series of mistakes like a lot of veterans. For the sake of brevity, I will say that my post service aimlessness didn't do me any favors. I attended three different community colleges and one university. I was only pursuing general education at the time. My first community college I left after one semester with a 3.5. Second community college I attended for art but mostly didn't attend classes and racked up a very bad GPA. I then attended a liberal arts college and withdrew, so not as much academic consequence there. I then attended community college (trade school) for welding and did OK, but got one F because of lack of attendance.

Anyways, sorry for the long story but just wanted to properly explain my academic history. I also did horrible in high school (Graduated with a 2.4). I know some will read this and assume I wouldn't have the discipline to re-attack school. Understandable. I merely want to know a couple of things from those with more knowledge than me on the subject.

First, can I recover from this poor record if I decided to pursue becoming a doctor? I would be interested in trauma medicine. Second, can one pursue medicine without immediately deciding to pursue military medicine? For example, could I decide after/during medical school to pursue this path? Is it possible to transition from being a civilian doctor to a military doctor? Third, what would my best course of action be to pursue medicine from my current position? I understand the basic steps of College-Med School-Residency, and then beyond for trauma medicine. However, are there any details I should be aware of? I appreciate any advice on this matter.

Sincerely,
California752
 
OP
C
Aug 4, 2017
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
sb247,

I calculated my GPA to be 2.89 overall, with 55 credits. One caveat to that is that 35 of those credits are for welding classes. Not sure if that matters. Do medical school boards care either way, or is a high GPA one of the first screening methods, regardless of where the credits were from?
 
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sb247

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sb247,

I calculated my GPA to be 2.89 overall, with 55 credits. One caveat to that is that 35 of those credits are for welding classes. Not sure if that matters. Do medical school boards care either way, or is a high GPA one of the first screening methods, regardless of where the credits were from?
Minimum gpa is a screening tool for many places that literally will not even open your app if the gpa/mcat doesn't meet their "floor"

With DO schools dropping grade forgiveness it's harder to rehab a gpa. But with all As for another 70-80 credits you can be in the 3.3-3.4 range (i think doing math in my head) which will have sone schools actually opening your app
 

psychbender

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If you can pull your GPA up and manage to get into a school (apply very broadly), there are two ways to get into the military, without committing yourself before med school. First, is FAP, the Financial Assistance Program. Check the forum stickies for details, but in a nutshell, you sign while in residency or fellowship in the civilian world, and once your training is done, you'll come on active duty. You'll be commissioned and receive the normal pay for a military physician of your specialty, but you'll also receive a bonus for loan repayment. The other way is to just direct commission in once you're through with training. Doing it this way opens you to a one-time critical wartime specially bonus, if applicable to your especially. I don't know off the top of my head what the service obligation would be for those two paths.

Also, if you haven't used you GI Bill benefits already, you can use them for med school to help defray the significant costs.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

pgg

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You may also wish to consider other non-physician careers in medicine. That MD or DO degree may be the peak, and everyone likes to reach for the stars, but there are lots of cool jobs. Everything from paramedics to nursing (which opens doors to lots of advanced practice nursing fields, for better or worse) to physican assistant to respiratory therapists to cardiac perfusionists to ultrasound tech to surgical scrub and so on. The medical field is a massive chunk of the economy and there are lots of ways into it.

Many of which are shorter / easier roads than medical school, with more forgiving gpa cutoffs, with comparable (or better) hourly economics when viewed from a lifetime career perspective.

Medicine carries a huge opportunity cost, which is only worsened for non-traditional applicants who are entering a decade or more later than the people who follow the usual HS to college to med school pathway. Look at all your options and think about how badly you want to climb (or die on) the MD/DO hill.

And be sure to check out our non-traditional forum. Lots of people there facing similar questions and challenges.
 
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Shikima

10+ Year Member
Oct 15, 2006
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Hello Everyone,
I am posting in the military medicine forum because firstly, I am a veteran with some issues that I think military people could understand. Second, I am undecided with which direction I would take medicine, but the military is not something I would take off the table. I ask forgiveness for my ignorance but am just looking for some general guidance so I can narrow down my research on this subject.

I left the military in 2014 after doing a stint in an infantry unit. I first developed an interest in medicine after being involved in a number of casualty incidents in Afghanistan, including a serious mass casualty incident. After witnessing experienced combat surgeons, PAs, and medics working on casualties I was very intrigued by the medical field, which I hadn't considered before. My training consisted of basic combat trauma aid, and I usually handled a litter or just gave medical supplies to the medical personnel when needed in these situations. I always wished I had been able to play a bigger part in the process.

After I was discharged, I made a series of mistakes like a lot of veterans. For the sake of brevity, I will say that my post service aimlessness didn't do me any favors. I attended three different community colleges and one university. I was only pursuing general education at the time. My first community college I left after one semester with a 3.5. Second community college I attended for art but mostly didn't attend classes and racked up a very bad GPA. I then attended a liberal arts college and withdrew, so not as much academic consequence there. I then attended community college (trade school) for welding and did OK, but got one F because of lack of attendance.

Anyways, sorry for the long story but just wanted to properly explain my academic history. I also did horrible in high school (Graduated with a 2.4). I know some will read this and assume I wouldn't have the discipline to re-attack school. Understandable. I merely want to know a couple of things from those with more knowledge than me on the subject.

First, can I recover from this poor record if I decided to pursue becoming a doctor? I would be interested in trauma medicine. Second, can one pursue medicine without immediately deciding to pursue military medicine? For example, could I decide after/during medical school to pursue this path? Is it possible to transition from being a civilian doctor to a military doctor? Third, what would my best course of action be to pursue medicine from my current position? I understand the basic steps of College-Med School-Residency, and then beyond for trauma medicine. However, are there any details I should be aware of? I appreciate any advice on this matter.

Sincerely,
California752
I did the same. I needed to move out of California to improve my academic standing.

To pursue my dream, I started from scratch at a place far, far away and did the rest.
 
OP
C
Aug 4, 2017
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
You may also wish to consider other non-physician careers in medicine. That MD or DO degree may be the peak, and everyone likes to reach for the stars, but there are lots of cool jobs. Everything from paramedics to nursing (which opens doors to lots of advanced practice nursing fields, for better or worse) to physican assistant to respiratory therapists to cardiac perfusionists to ultrasound tech to surgical scrub and so on. The medical field is a massive chunk of the economy and there are lots of ways into it.

Many of which are shorter / easier roads than medical school, with more forgiving gpa cutoffs, with comparable (or better) hourly economics when viewed from a lifetime career perspective.

Medicine carries a huge opportunity cost, which is only worsened for non-traditional applicants who are entering a decade or more later than the people who follow the usual HS to college to med school pathway. Look at all your options and think about how badly you want to climb (or die on) the MD/DO hill.

And be sure to check out our non-traditional forum. Lots of people there facing similar questions and challenges.
I had considered the PA route but wasn't sure of the difference. I did meet a couple of military PAs in the service that seemed to do the same job as our battalion surgeon would. Is it easier to attend PA school?
 
OP
C
Aug 4, 2017
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I did the same. I needed to move out of California to improve my academic standing.

To pursue my dream, I started from scratch at a place far, far away and did the rest.
Moving isn't an option for me unfortunately.
 
OP
C
Aug 4, 2017
7
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Shikima,
I probably have as many issues with California in general as any other person, but I am stuck here. It is what it is.

sb247,
Can you enlighten me on this subject a little more? My first experience with PAs was seeing one accompany my unit during missions, and I thought that was what they did. After I spent more time in garrison I realized they were more administrative in nature. I was always confused by how the system worked. I was in a special operations unit (Rangers). Does this mean the PA needed to have some sort of special operations medical training such as SOCM to tag along on missions? Is it voluntary for them to go on missions? Also, what are the differences in duties between a battalion PA and a battalion surgeon? And how do civilian PAs get treated differently?
 

Gastrapathy

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This isn't the right forum for your questions. Its not that we aren't willing to help but there is a wealth of information in the premed and nontrad forums. You need to volunteer in a hospital, see all the various roles, understand what they are and then look at what each entails. Your status as a veteran is nice but its far less important than your GPA and MCAT score for admissions. Most people who are curious about this career figure out that it isn't for them (I can't argue with that conclusion although I am happy in my profession). If medicine is really your future, your GPA is your major barrier. Don't go back to school until you can get As, you can't afford a warm up semester.

Nursing is a better profession than we give it credit for. 6 figure income, flexibility, opportunities to move into management or advanced practice nursing if desired.
 
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