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All Branch Topic (ABT) What type of people end up happy they accepted HPSP?

MeatHeadMed

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Title really says it all. I have read a lot of disgruntled accounts of people who took the HPSP scholarship. Just wondering, what type of people are HAPPY they took the scholarship? What are some characteristics of a person that most likely wouldn’t regret taking the scholarship?

I plan to apply next cycle. I am currently in the process of studying for the MCAT which I take in September. To kind of give you my mindset, I want to take this scholarship for various reasons:
1.) I want to serve my country. I want the “prestige” of being a U.S. soldier. I grew up admiring those who served our country and from a young age it was engrained in me the importance of supporting our troops. If not for an athletic scholarship, I almost enlisted out of high school. Nobody in my family has served although I am from the rural south and we are very patriotic.

2.) Money. I have never been in debt my entire life. All 4 years of college were covered in Athletic scholarship and the thought of taking out loans and going thousands into debt makes me nauseous. Also, the stipend could cover my living expenses and could remove that added stressor.

3.) I was a NCAA athlete for 4 years and live an extremely active Lifestyle. I have zero problems with the thoughts of the mandatory PT, going to basic, etc.

If anything, I believe I would doubt Medicine before i doubted military. I wanted a career that I could be financially secure, and help people. And I’m relatively (very relative) smart. So I chose medicine. Military was an option to me before Medicine ever was.

Are the majority of people that give negative accounts simply not know what they were signing up for?

Really just worried I have a false sense of what the military is like. Hoping someone with a lot more experience than me can just come shove the “ugly sides” of being involved in military medicine down my throat and “burst my bubble.”
 

TheEarDoc

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Title really says it all. I have read a lot of disgruntled accounts of people who took the HPSP scholarship. Just wondering, what type of people are HAPPY they took the scholarship? What are some characteristics of a person that most likely wouldn’t regret taking the scholarship?

I plan to apply next cycle. I am currently in the process of studying for the MCAT which I take in September. To kind of give you my mindset, I want to take this scholarship for various reasons:
1.) I want to serve my country. I want the “prestige” of being a U.S. soldier. I grew up admiring those who served our country and from a young age it was engrained in me the importance of supporting our troops. If not for an athletic scholarship, I almost enlisted out of high school. Nobody in my family has served although I am from the rural south and we are very patriotic.

2.) Money. I have never been in debt my entire life. All 4 years of college were covered in Athletic scholarship and the thought of taking out loans and going thousands into debt makes me nauseous. Also, the stipend could cover my living expenses and could remove that added stressor.

3.) I was a NCAA athlete for 4 years and live an extremely active Lifestyle. I have zero problems with the thoughts of the mandatory PT, going to basic, etc.

If anything, I believe I would doubt Medicine before i doubted military. I wanted a career that I could be financially secure, and help people. And I’m relatively (very relative) smart. So I chose medicine. Military was an option to me before Medicine ever was.

Are the majority of people that give negative accounts simply not know what they were signing up for?

Really just worried I have a false sense of what the military is like. Hoping someone with a lot more experience than me can just come shove the “ugly sides” of being involved in military medicine down my throat and “burst my bubble.”

I think the people who are happy are a combo. 1. Those who have realistic expectations and 2. Those who are lucky.

The people who go into the military knowing what that lifestyle entails (less freedom, less decision on your specialty, moving every couple of years, being deployed randomly, lower pay than your private sector civilian folks, doing a lot of mundane tasks to check a box on some officer's OER, etc.) are usually better able to embrace the suck when it comes. They are human and will not like it when bad things happen, but they suck it up and drive on.

Those who are lucky and have little sucky things happen to them (they match in their specialty of choice, less GMO tours, less crappy tours to crappy places, less crappy base assignments, etc.) are usually pretty happy with their decisions.

So if you're realistic and realize 1. you will be a soldier first and a medical provider second and that you will deal with many of the crappy things a regular soldier with barely a high school education will experience and 2. You get some of what you want specialty wise or assignment wise

then your military career will not be that bad.
 
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RE-Tired

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I agree with TheEarDoc for number one, realistic expectations. In my 20 years I had good luck some of which was in my control. I never put Ft. Carson on the list, only those with some connections got that desirable assignment and I had some bad luck, the worst of which was getting a sociopathic boss for two years who was acquired from the reserve (not HPSP). I went HPSP because of debt aversion which to some is not a good reason but to those who are debt adverse this is close to the top of the list. Considering the current climate I would advise you not to pick any of the residencies that are being "phased out". But that's the rub isn't it, you have to sign the contract 3 or 4 years before you decide that. In my time alas all specialties were open. It is a very tough decision.
 
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SirGecko

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I think if you are talking about “the prestige” of being a soldier and comparing the activity required of a medical corps officer to being an athlete you do have an unrealistic idea of what it is like to be in the medical corps. You specifically mention not minding mandatory PT because you are an athlete but unless you are with a high speed unit (read: probably not doing your main medical job) the people that are most likely to be annoyed at mandatory PT are the athletes because it’s not enough for them to count it as their workout but it still takes time. The problem with mandatory PT is the mandatory part not the PT part.

As for the money that is entirely dependent on your emotional relationship with debt and the financial specifics of what school you are attending/ your family life. It’s definitely the smarter financial move to stay out of the military but that said you can do just fine on a military salary. (Especially if you take advantage of the fact you are getting your money upfront and start saving early) Just don’t decide purely because you want to avoid debt unless you have really looked in to the details. I’ve never really regretted my decisions from a financial standpoint but I know I’d probably have made more money by now as a civilian. I just don’t mind that. Individuals will vary on how they feel.

I think the biggest attribute to make someone happy in the medical corps is flexibility. There will always be stupid things that are either a small inconvenience or life altering that will come up in the military. If you have a clear vision of what you want to do and will be upset at big changes to it that isn’t going to work. You will get sent somewhere you didn’t want to go for years at some point. You will be given jobs that you weren’t trained for and maybe not utalized for the job you were trained for. You could have your training delayed by years or they might decide they don’t need the thing you wanted them to train you to be. The patient population is generally good but being associated with the military hardly makes you a saint or an athlete so it’s not like you are avoiding problem patients entirely or anything. If all that truly doesn’t bother you and you still want to serve maybe the military is for you.
 
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HighPriest

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EarDoc has it, I think.

You’re a soldier first. The big military honestly doesn’t know anything about medicine and doesn’t want to. It’s not the focus. You’re a tool in a toolbox. If they need to screw a screw, then that’s why they bought a screwdriver. They don’t even realize that there are different kinds of screwdrivers. They don’t realize that you have to keep your tools maintained. They don’t have a problem pounding in a nail with a screwdriver. And if you break, well, NBD they’ll just buy another.

If you end up training where you want to train, and if you end up at a duty station that can actually support your specialty, it’s not half bad. If you end up training for 9 years to do a highly specialized job and then end up stationed somewhere where you can’t actually do that job and you just watch your skills wilt away or end up in a completely operational spot right out of training, with a command structure that absolutely does not care, then it’s extremely frustrating.

Most people don’t go through 4 years of medical school and then 3-5 years of residency to just throw it all away because they need meat in a seat in BFE. So the people who end up in those positions tend to be upset. They are not the majority, but they are a (reasonably) vocal minority. If they just wanted to serve, and the medical degree was just window decor, they could have just joined and not gone to meet school.

A lot of the other frustrations are just the extreme bureaucracy and inefficiency inherent in working for the federal government. It’s shockingly amazing that anything at all gets done, and it’s solely due to about 10% of federal employees who take up the slack of the other 90%. There’s just no comparison to even the most inefficient civilian facility with which I’ve worked. Even in the best circumstance (training, duty station, command) you will spend a large portion of your time working on an endless deluge of menial, redundant box checking and paperwork. Don’t get me wrong, medicine at large is burdened more and more by this every year, but it is unquestionably worse in the military from my experience. I bet I spent 30% of my tome doing non-clinical nonsense that meant nothing to anyone except the guy with the clipboard who’s sole paycheck amounts to making sure all his boxes are checked. And I get it, that’s not the end of the world. But one of the top reasons for physician burnout -in general- (civilian and military) is the mountain of paperwork. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that doubling or tripling the amount of paperwork makes people unhappy.

I was never upset about the money. I agree that the money is commensurate with the amount of work. PT never upset me at all, although I agree it’s more or less another check box for a doc. Essentially meaningless. But I did sign up to be a doctor. I was told repeatedly by everyone along the way that the military wanted me to be a doctor. I don’t feel like I was a doctor. I feel like I was a multi-tool who spent only a portion of his time doing what he trained (for a long time) to do. And in my first two years post-residency I feel like the military was a direct threat to that skill set and all of the hard work it represented, as well as being a threat to my future post-military.

If I had the mindset that I was a soldier who happened to be able to do some doctoring, then that would have changed my perspective I think. I did want to join. I wanted to serve. I have a ton of family in the Army. I just thought I would be a Doctor in the military. When I got out of residency my primary focus was being as busy as I could be clinically to try to hone and solidify what I had learned in residency, and that was not what the Army had planned.

If I had ended up at my second duty station first, I’d probably have a different view.

There were very good aspects too, which I have mentioned in other threads. But your question was why are people unhappy.
 
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Perrotfish

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Title really says it all. I have read a lot of disgruntled accounts of people who took the HPSP scholarship. Just wondering, what type of people are HAPPY they took the scholarship? What are some characteristics of a person that most likely wouldn’t regret taking the scholarship?

I plan to apply next cycle. I am currently in the process of studying for the MCAT which I take in September. To kind of give you my mindset, I want to take this scholarship for various reasons:
1.) I want to serve my country. I want the “prestige” of being a U.S. soldier. I grew up admiring those who served our country and from a young age it was engrained in me the importance of supporting our troops. If not for an athletic scholarship, I almost enlisted out of high school. Nobody in my family has served although I am from the rural south and we are very patriotic.

2.) Money. I have never been in debt my entire life. All 4 years of college were covered in Athletic scholarship and the thought of taking out loans and going thousands into debt makes me nauseous. Also, the stipend could cover my living expenses and could remove that added stressor.

3.) I was a NCAA athlete for 4 years and live an extremely active Lifestyle. I have zero problems with the thoughts of the mandatory PT, going to basic, etc.

If anything, I believe I would doubt Medicine before i doubted military. I wanted a career that I could be financially secure, and help people. And I’m relatively (very relative) smart. So I chose medicine. Military was an option to me before Medicine ever was.

Are the majority of people that give negative accounts simply not know what they were signing up for?

Really just worried I have a false sense of what the military is like. Hoping someone with a lot more experience than me can just come shove the “ugly sides” of being involved in military medicine down my throat and “burst my bubble.”
Things are really changing right now and its hard to say what would make someone 'happy' to have taken the HPSP scholarship without knowing what military medicine is going to look like in 5 years. Several people have mentioned 'reasonable expectations' but those are hard to have when even the surgeon general of the Army couldn't tell you what a reasonable expectation is. That being said, I think a good candidate for military medicine:

1) Went to a lower tier, high cost medical school and does not qualify for a scholarship.
2) Does not have any serious medical or weight problems, and is willing to exercise at least twice a week. This organization makes fat people miserable.
3) Is willing and able to move to remote locations. Is not married to a professional who needs to be in a major city to find work.
.4) Believes in the mission and culture of the military and, ideally, has always felt that they 'should' serve.
5) Is willing to deploy for up to a year at a time. Has no obligations in the US that would prevent a deployment
6) Desires a specialty that has a high volume and acuity of patients in an adolescent patient population and among young families. Sports medicine docs, OBs, orthos interested in sports medicine, pediatricians, and family doctors yes. General surgeons, emergency room doctors, and neurosurgeons no. (of course one of the big changes DHA is pushing through is that they are trying to make it harder to be a military OB, Pediatrician, or family doctor, so I'm not sure if there really is a right specialty for the military at this point).
7) Is not interested primarily in research. Wants to practice medicine rather than studying it.
8) Maybe the most important thing: is tolerant of bureaucracy. Imagine you are at the DMV. You wait 4 hours in line, get to the window, and they say they are closing for the day and you need to start of at window 2. You wait 2 additional hours, get to window 2, and are told you are in the wrong line and need to go to window 4. You wait 2 additional hours, get to the head of the line at window 4, and are told that you didn't complete the online survey (that no one told you about) that you need to turn in with the form you are holding , and you need to come back the following day with the survey completed. Obviously no one likes this kind of thing, but are you ENRAGED? Or do you let out a quiet sigh, fill out the online survey, and come back the next day? The people who really hate the military are the ones who can't deal with pointless red tape
 
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Based on what you said it sounds like you have a chance at a happy or at least neutral experience in MilMed.

Wanting to serve as your #1 is a great start. If you don't mind sacrificing aspects of your medicine career for aspects of your military officer career then this is also great to already understand.

Most people that are miserable joined for the scholarship but otherwise never would have been OK working for the man or being told what to do. They also never would have wanted to put their medicine Plan A in jeopardy of change.

If you are OK working for the man while also giving up autonomy I would keep researching what MilMed has to offer.
 
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TheEarDoc

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Things are really changing right now and its hard to say what would make someone 'happy' to have taken the HPSP scholarship without knowing what military medicine is going to look like in 5 years. Several people have mentioned 'reasonable expectations' but those are hard to have when even the surgeon general of the Army couldn't tell you what a reasonable expectation is. That being said, I think a good candidate for military medicine:

1) Went to a lower tier, high cost medical school and does not qualify for a scholarship.
2) Does not have any serious medical or weight problems, and is willing to exercise at least twice a week. This organization makes fat people miserable.
3) Is willing and able to move to remote locations. Is not married to a professional who needs to be in a major city to find work.
.4) Believes in the mission and culture of the military and, ideally, has always felt that they 'should' serve.
5) Is willing to deploy for up to a year at a time. Has no obligations in the US that would prevent a deployment
6) Desires a specialty that has a high volume and acuity of patients in an adolescent patient population and among young families. Sports medicine docs, OBs, orthos interested in sports medicine, pediatricians, and family doctors yes. General surgeons, emergency room doctors, and neurosurgeons no. (of course one of the big changes DHA is pushing through is that they are trying to make it harder to be a military OB, Pediatrician, or family doctor, so I'm not sure if there really is a right specialty for the military at this point).
7) Is not interested primarily in research. Wants to practice medicine rather than studying it.
8) Maybe the most important thing: is tolerant of bureaucracy. Imagine you are at the DMV. You wait 4 hours in line, get to the window, and they say they are closing for the day and you need to start of at window 2. You wait 2 additional hours, get to window 2, and are told you are in the wrong line and need to go to window 4. You wait 2 additional hours, get to the head of the line at window 4, and are told that you didn't complete the online survey (that no one told you about) that you need to turn in with the form you are holding , and you need to come back the following day with the survey completed. Obviously no one likes this kind of thing, but are you ENRAGED? Or do you let out a quiet sigh, fill out the online survey, and come back the next day? The people who really hate the military are the ones who can't deal with pointless red tape

8. Sounds like going to clothing/equipment issue.......................
 

armytrainingsir

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I read it here, but don't remember who said it or I would give them the credit.

Happy folks in mil med are the ones that are having or had the Forest Gump experience.

Everything just worked out 'because'.

Not because they did everything right, but just 'cuz' it did.

And I don't know how to look at someone and predict that for them.
 
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LTMCUSN

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OP, I tend to be a little more optimistic about military medicine than most on here but agree with almost all of what’s said above. I had 8 years in before I started medical school, so that changed the calculus of retirement a bit for me and I’ve always found something to enjoy about the hospitals or operational platforms I was assigned to—either the work itself or the geography. These questions I’d ask someone are really just a variation of what’s offered above but I think they are worth restating because they come to mind when I think of the best career Medical Corps officers (05’s and 06’s) I’ve worked with:

1) Are you adaptable to difficult situations or are you going to let it affect your life and practice and the people around you?
2) Are you prepared to be equal parts officer and physician? Because they will expect you to be both.
3) Do you look for how to develop junior officers and enlisted and improve medical care in your hospital/clinic/unit while you are there? Because if you don’t see things you can fix and service members around you that you have a responsibility to, then it is time to get out.

That last one is not something you can answer now but it’s what each of the services need- ask any of these guys, we have all worked for bad leaders at some point.

If you are near a military treatment facility, I suggest reaching out to their administration and seeing if there is a possibility of following one or more of their docs. You’ll get a better idea of what to expect that way and can ask the kind of questions I wouldn’t bother asking the medical recruiters.
 
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absolutdokta

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And in my first two years post-residency I feel like the military was a direct threat to that skill set and all of the hard work it represented, as well as being a threat to my future post-military.

Even being primary care this is all too true. Any operational slot will tank your overall skill set. There are things it will hone, but there’s definitely much more it will rust.
 

ATCtoDO

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Things are really changing right now and its hard to say what would make someone 'happy' to have taken the HPSP scholarship without knowing what military medicine is going to look like in 5 years. Several people have mentioned 'reasonable expectations' but those are hard to have when even the surgeon general of the Army couldn't tell you what a reasonable expectation is. That being said, I think a good candidate for military medicine:

1) Went to a lower tier, high cost medical school and does not qualify for a scholarship.
2) Does not have any serious medical or weight problems, and is willing to exercise at least twice a week. This organization makes fat people miserable.
3) Is willing and able to move to remote locations. Is not married to a professional who needs to be in a major city to find work.
.4) Believes in the mission and culture of the military and, ideally, has always felt that they 'should' serve.
5) Is willing to deploy for up to a year at a time. Has no obligations in the US that would prevent a deployment
6) Desires a specialty that has a high volume and acuity of patients in an adolescent patient population and among young families. Sports medicine docs, OBs, orthos interested in sports medicine, pediatricians, and family doctors yes. General surgeons, emergency room doctors, and neurosurgeons no. (of course one of the big changes DHA is pushing through is that they are trying to make it harder to be a military OB, Pediatrician, or family doctor, so I'm not sure if there really is a right specialty for the military at this point).
7) Is not interested primarily in research. Wants to practice medicine rather than studying it.
8) Maybe the most important thing: is tolerant of bureaucracy. Imagine you are at the DMV. You wait 4 hours in line, get to the window, and they say they are closing for the day and you need to start of at window 2. You wait 2 additional hours, get to window 2, and are told you are in the wrong line and need to go to window 4. You wait 2 additional hours, get to the head of the line at window 4, and are told that you didn't complete the online survey (that no one told you about) that you need to turn in with the form you are holding , and you need to come back the following day with the survey completed. Obviously no one likes this kind of thing, but are you ENRAGED? Or do you let out a quiet sigh, fill out the online survey, and come back the next day? The people who really hate the military are the ones who can't deal with pointless red tape
Question for you. With the changes coming to step, and DO/MD residency merger, would it be unrealistic to think the army is a better place to match ortho as a DO as compared to civilian?
 
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Question for you. With the changes coming to step, and DO/MD residency merger, would it be unrealistic to think the army is a better place to match ortho as a DO as compared to civilian?

You will face stiffer competition in the civilian world due to (1) larger number of overall applicants (2) larger percentage of research-heavy, crazy amazing applicants. But there are only a few ortho programs in the military and they are all accredited and good. In the civilian world you have a ton of programs ranging from very good to very not good (non-accredited). So at the end of the day your odds are likely about the same.

Regardless, this should NOT be a reason that you choose the military. Best to stick to the basics to guide your decision: (1) Do you want to serve your country? (2) Are you OK with delays in training, deployments and not practicing in your current specialty of choice? (3) Can you hack it as a military officer (non-physician)? (4) Are you ok working for the man and abiding by large bureaucratic policy?
 
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ATCtoDO

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You will face stiffer competition in the civilian world due to (1) larger number of overall applicants (2) larger percentage of research-heavy, crazy amazing applicants. But there are only a few ortho programs in the military and they are all accredited and good. In the civilian world you have a ton of programs ranging from very good to very not good (non-accredited). So at the end of the day your odds are likely about the same.

Regardless, this should NOT be a reason that you choose the military. Best to stick to the basics to guide your decision: (1) Do you want to serve your country? (2) Are you OK with delays in training, deployments and not practicing in your current specialty of choice? (3) Can you hack it as a military officer (non-physician)? (4) Are you ok working for the man and abiding by large bureaucratic policy?
Mind if I PM you?
 

StupidRoo

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So far, I have been very lucky in my military career. In the military, luck does tend to fall on people who the military wants to retain long term; however, I have heard of excellent physicians being screwed. You only need to be screwed once to have a bad taste in your mouth. I think I will come out of this experience with an overall positive outlook. I was very fortunate to be in the military during the pandemic. That being said, the military is not interested in medicine in the long term. The short term outlook is fine. Understand that the powers that be are making a very strong effort to rid themselves of the medical corps. The people in charge of the military are not medical corps officers. There is a strong possibility that the military tries to outsource all of its soldiers medical care. To be clear, I think that decision will end up causing the military a lot of money in unexpected medical expenses and is a mistake. Notwithstanding, the reality is set. The people in charge do not think the medical corps is needed. You will see residencies disappear. You will see the residencies that exist downsized. Be comfortable with not being a residency trained physician if you are joining the military today. Think hard about that. I am happy in my current position, but things are changing dramatically right now.
 

DrMetal

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You only need to be screwed once to have a bad taste in your mouth.

Way too literal, go easy!

The people in charge of the military are not medical corps officers. There is a strong possibility that the military tries to outsource all of its soldiers medical care. To be clear, I think that decision will end up causing the military a lot of money in unexpected medical expenses and is a mistake. Notwithstanding, the reality is set. The people in charge do not think the medical corps is needed.

It's funny, in the 20 years I've been in the military (not all medical), there's a constant talk of getting rid of the MC. But the DOD would still be responsible for paying for health care (whether civilianized or not). I don't have a reference, but I think the USAF did a hard cost analysis of this back in the mid-90s (civ vs MC-milmed), and found the former to be way too expensive; in other words, we'd save money by keeping the MC (at least some specialties). In any case, I don't think anything is 'set'.

You will see residencies disappear. You will see the residencies that exist downsized. Be comfortable with not being a residency trained physician if you are joining the military today.

This might be true. GME may go away or get significantly downsized. And right on, we really don't have the volume or acuity to support GME, in any specialty. If that happens though, I think everyone would be deferred out for training.
 

Baron Samedi

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If you join, just remember that the military does not care about your goals, your ambitions, your skills, your desires, your beliefs, your family, or you. It cares about achieving the mission, and where you end up and what you end up doing depends entirely on that.

The military has long floated the idea of the individual soldier being part of a bigger "family" to make it seem smaller. It's not your family. It's a huge, emotionless machine with a million different pieces. As an HPSP recipient you are equivalent to a single screw on this giant machine.
 

DrMetal

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If you join, just remember that the military does not care about your goals, your ambitions, your skills, your desires, your beliefs, your family, or you. It cares about achieving the mission, and where you end up and what you end up doing depends entirely on that.

The military has long floated the idea of the individual soldier being part of a bigger "family" to make it seem smaller. It's not your family. It's a huge, emotionless machine with a million different pieces. As an HPSP recipient you are equivalent to a single screw on this giant machine.

A bit harsh and whiny, but Ok. Look, the 'military' can be an abstract notion, akin to the 'government', the 'hospital', the 'system'. It doesn't care for you because it's not supposed to, it can't, it's not a human being. So stop looking for that love and attention (you're more likely to get it from a Tijuana hooker if you tip well).

Navigate the waters, get what you need (many people do), then get out when you want to. It's a transient culture after all, and it was designed to be that way.
 
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Baron Samedi

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I'll admit I'm whiny about it. I've been one of the unlucky ones and I'm bitter about it.

My notion about the military not caring is in contrast to what they sell it as. You think you're going to be off doing cool things, forming lifelong friendships, adventure, etc because that's how the military markets itself to young, impressionable people. You might do those things, and if you do you are likely to look back and be glad you did HPSP. You're at least equally as likely to end up in a role you don't like at a station you don't like and look back with regret. Your recruiter won't mention that possibility.

Out of my residency class, half are doing exactly what they wanted to and the other half are counting down the days until they can get out. Your experience in the military is pure luck, as others have stated.
 
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StupidRoo

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Way too literal, go easy!



It's funny, in the 20 years I've been in the military (not all medical), there's a constant talk of getting rid of the MC. But the DOD would still be responsible for paying for health care (whether civilianized or not). I don't have a reference, but I think the USAF did a hard cost analysis of this back in the mid-90s (civ vs MC-milmed), and found the former to be way too expensive; in other words, we'd save money by keeping the MC (at least some specialties). In any case, I don't think anything is 'set'.



This might be true. GME may go away or get significantly downsized. And right on, we really don't have the volume or acuity to support GME, in any specialty. If that happens though, I think everyone would be deferred out for training.
The language was harsh; although, nothing about a metaphor is literal. That being said, I do apologize if my verbiage was boorish.
 

j4pac

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If you’re more about the destination than the voyage...you’re going to have a bad time.

If you do it for for any other reason than to sacrificially serve the great men and women of the military and their families...you’re going to have a bad time.

If you are incapable of flexibility and rolling with the punches...you’re going to have a bad time.

Oh and by the way...Navy flight surgeon is typically a pretty good gig. Of the military physicians I know who regret their decision to join, very few of them were flight surgeons. It probably is the best MilMed job.
 
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peanutnoodles

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I feel like I was a multi-tool who spent only a portion of his time doing what he trained (for a long time) to do. And in my first two years post-residency I feel like the military was a direct threat to that skill set and all of the hard work it represented, as well as being a threat to my future post-military.

When you transitioned into civilian medicine, did you feel behind since you weren't able to practice in your full scope? What were some ways that you were able to stay sharp while practicing in the military?
 

HighPriest

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When you transitioned into civilian medicine, did you feel behind since you weren't able to practice in your full scope? What were some ways that you were able to stay sharp while practicing in the military?

Firstly, I was fortunate that my second and last duty station was significantly better than the first. So I was able to improve my skill set there. I did a ton of moonlighting, and that helped. I definitely had a third learning curve (the first being as a resident, the second as a new staff physician) when I got out. It really took a good year or 18 month for me to really feel like I was back up to speed. Best thing you can do is just fight every step of the way to conserve your skills. If you don’t, no one will do it for you.
 
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DOswag

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Things are really changing right now and its hard to say what would make someone 'happy' to have taken the HPSP scholarship without knowing what military medicine is going to look like in 5 years. Several people have mentioned 'reasonable expectations' but those are hard to have when even the surgeon general of the Army couldn't tell you what a reasonable expectation is. That being said, I think a good candidate for military medicine:

1) Went to a lower tier, high cost medical school and does not qualify for a scholarship.
2) Does not have any serious medical or weight problems, and is willing to exercise at least twice a week. This organization makes fat people miserable.
3) Is willing and able to move to remote locations. Is not married to a professional who needs to be in a major city to find work.
.4) Believes in the mission and culture of the military and, ideally, has always felt that they 'should' serve.
5) Is willing to deploy for up to a year at a time. Has no obligations in the US that would prevent a deployment
6) Desires a specialty that has a high volume and acuity of patients in an adolescent patient population and among young families. Sports medicine docs, OBs, orthos interested in sports medicine, pediatricians, and family doctors yes. General surgeons, emergency room doctors, and neurosurgeons no. (of course one of the big changes DHA is pushing through is that they are trying to make it harder to be a military OB, Pediatrician, or family doctor, so I'm not sure if there really is a right specialty for the military at this point).
7) Is not interested primarily in research. Wants to practice medicine rather than studying it.
8) Maybe the most important thing: is tolerant of bureaucracy. Imagine you are at the DMV. You wait 4 hours in line, get to the window, and they say they are closing for the day and you need to start of at window 2. You wait 2 additional hours, get to window 2, and are told you are in the wrong line and need to go to window 4. You wait 2 additional hours, get to the head of the line at window 4, and are told that you didn't complete the online survey (that no one told you about) that you need to turn in with the form you are holding , and you need to come back the following day with the survey completed. Obviously no one likes this kind of thing, but are you ENRAGED? Or do you let out a quiet sigh, fill out the online survey, and come back the next day? The people who really hate the military are the ones who can't deal with pointless red tape

#8 I think gets a lot of people. I know this is the kicker for me. I'm typically a go with the flow, low expectation, flexible guy. But this one is crushing my soul currently and I still have 3 years left. Just when I think I've started to overcome this, I have another meeting in which new responsibilities or busy work are placed on me and others and I die a little more inside. We already work in an over-admin-burdensome machine. But frequently someone at a meeting will get bit by the "good idea fairy" which inevitably will turn into more work for someone that overall does little to improve anything, and likely takes away from the good/productive work you were doing so that someone can add a bullet to an OPR. Sigh... Sorry, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Also could be specialty specific as I'm a psychiatrist.
 

peanutnoodles

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Firstly, I was fortunate that my second and last duty station was significantly better than the first. So I was able to improve my skill set there. I did a ton of moonlighting, and that helped. I definitely had a third learning curve (the first being as a resident, the second as a new staff physician) when I got out. It really took a good year or 18 month for me to really feel like I was back up to speed. Best thing you can do is just fight every step of the way to conserve your skills. If you don’t, no one will do it for you.
Thanks. That makes sense.
 

afrench

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6) Desires a specialty that has a high volume and acuity of patients in an adolescent patient population and among young families. Sports medicine docs, OBs, orthos interested in sports medicine, pediatricians, and family doctors yes. General surgeons, emergency room doctors, and neurosurgeons no. (of course one of the big changes DHA is pushing through is that they are trying to make it harder to be a military OB, Pediatrician, or family doctor, so I'm not sure if there really is a right specialty for the military at this point).

You mention the changing specialties. Is there a resource you can point me to where I can read more about what specialties they are trying to phase out?
 
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Aragorn55

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I know this post is old so do not know if any of the big contributors are still monitoring but I wanted to throw out what might be a naive question:

I see multiple statements that surgery/trauma related experience is difficult to obtain within MilMed. While I understand we are not currently in any large scale combat activities is it still possible to request deployment where casualties are being incurred? I would think those joining MilMed for trauma specific specialties would seek out these posts?
 

orbitsurgMD

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I know this post is old so do not know if any of the big contributors are still monitoring but I wanted to throw out what might be a naive question:

I see multiple statements that surgery/trauma related experience is difficult to obtain within MilMed. While I understand we are not currently in any large scale combat activities is it still possible to request deployment where casualties are being incurred? I would think those joining MilMed for trauma specific specialties would seek out these posts?
You can request, but that isn't usually how assignments in forward operating theaters are made. First, your skill set must be needed more over there than wherever else you might be sent. Sometimes there is a rota and you are in the hopper to be assigned, sometimes there is a sudden need and a call out is made to commands to provide a qualified practitioner. I once got pulled on five days notice from the NAF at JB Andrews to the Gulf when there was a sudden gap in a forward billet for a deployed flight surgeon. 0800 one winter Monday, I and two other flight surgeons met in the clinic and we were told that on Friday one of the three of us would be in the Gulf. One guy's wife just had a baby. The other was a weary don't ask-don't tell guy senior to me. I was junior-most and had dropped my papers months before with a residency waiting. That was it pretty much for me. It actually turned out to be a good deal. I think I spent the rest of my AD on terminal leave and out-processing.

If you are wanting a CSH-type assignment, if there are any, that decision will be made above your paygrade, but you can always ask.
 

Aragorn55

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You can request, but that isn't usually how assignments in forward operating theaters are made. First, your skill set must be needed more over there than wherever else you might be sent. Sometimes there is a rota and you are in the hopper to be assigned, sometimes there is a sudden need and a call out is made to commands to provide a qualified practitioner. I once got pulled on five days notice from the NAF at JB Andrews to the Gulf when there was a sudden gap in a forward billet for a deployed flight surgeon. 0800 one winter Monday, I and two other flight surgeons met in the clinic and we were told that on Friday one of the three of us would be in the Gulf. One guy's wife just had a baby. The other was a weary don't ask-don't tell guy senior to me. I was junior-most and had dropped my papers months before with a residency waiting. That was it pretty much for me. It actually turned out to be a good deal. I think I spent the rest of my AD on terminal leave and out-processing.

If you are wanting a CSH-type assignment, if there are any, that decision will be made above your paygrade, but you can always ask.
Thx for the info
 

avgapp54

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I received the scholarship but I have not received an acceptance to medical school yet. I read this entire thread, and I wanted to thank everyone for sharing their stories.

I'm curious as to where I can find any information about specialties they want to phase out. I read in this thread that general surgery/emergency medicine/trauma are getting phased out. Is there anybody that can confirm this or anywhere where I can read more? It makes sense as we aren't in any traditionally active wars...but I want to know as much as I can before I sign on the dotted line. Thanks in advance!
 

orbitsurgMD

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I received the scholarship but I have not received an acceptance to medical school yet. I read this entire thread, and I wanted to thank everyone for sharing their stories.

I'm curious as to where I can find any information about specialties they want to phase out. I read in this thread that general surgery/emergency medicine/trauma are getting phased out. Is there anybody that can confirm this or anywhere where I can read more? It makes sense as we aren't in any traditionally active wars...but I want to know as much as I can before I sign on the dotted line. Thanks in advance!
Tell how you did that. Usually it work(ed) the other way around: you had to have an acceptance in hand to apply, or at least had to have one before receiving an offer.
 

avgapp54

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Tell how you did that. Usually it work(ed) the other way around: you had to have an acceptance in hand to apply, or at least had to have one before receiving an offer.
Now you are able to secure a scholarship offer conditional upon an acceptance to medical school. After a certain amount of time, you have to forfeit it if you can't secure an acceptance. I think this is the more common way now, but I could be wrong.
 

j4pac

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Now you are able to secure a scholarship offer conditional upon an acceptance to medical school. After a certain amount of time, you have to forfeit it if you can't secure an acceptance. I think this is the more common way now, but I could be wrong.

I hope whoever thought of that brilliance got a NAM or whatever you call it in inferior branches
 

SirGecko

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I received the scholarship but I have not received an acceptance to medical school yet. I read this entire thread, and I wanted to thank everyone for sharing their stories.

I'm curious as to where I can find any information about specialties they want to phase out. I read in this thread that general surgery/emergency medicine/trauma are getting phased out. Is there anybody that can confirm this or anywhere where I can read more? It makes sense as we aren't in any traditionally active wars...but I want to know as much as I can before I sign on the dotted line. Thanks in advance!
Where are you getting that from this thread? Its actually the opposite, those are the things that big MilMed says they want more of.

As for an official source, its kind of from a bunch of sources and you probably aren't going to find it all in one document. Like they aren't going to publish something that say "we highly encourage those in the military to not do pediatrics" but they will tell the USUHS kids that they shouldn't apply to pediatrics.
 

avgapp54

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Where are you getting that from this thread? Its actually the opposite, those are the things that big MilMed says they want more of.

As for an official source, its kind of from a bunch of sources and you probably aren't going to find it all in one document. Like they aren't going to publish something that say "we highly encourage those in the military to not do pediatrics" but they will tell the USUHS kids that they shouldn't apply to pediatrics.
That's what I figured as well, but I read that here:
6) Desires a specialty that has a high volume and acuity of patients in an adolescent patient population and among young families. Sports medicine docs, OBs, orthos interested in sports medicine, pediatricians, and family doctors yes. General surgeons, emergency room doctors, and neurosurgeons no. (of course one of the big changes DHA is pushing through is that they are trying to make it harder to be a military OB, Pediatrician, or family doctor, so I'm not sure if there really is a right specialty for the military at this point).
maybe I misinterpreted @Perrotfish 's comments...if so, my mistake!
 

SirGecko

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That's what I figured as well, but I read that here:

maybe I misinterpreted @Perrotfish 's comments...if so, my mistake!
He’s talking more about who would be happy being in the military not the military’s actual priority for training. Military wants a bunch of ER docs and trauma surgeons but the actual ER’s/hospitals are not really all that high acuity.
 
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