Anyone have experience with military doctors?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by Nick0726, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Nick0726

    Nick0726 Member

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    I'm contemplating becoming an Army doctor and was wondering if anyone has experience with military docs?

    Is being a physician in the militray similar to the real world in terms of being in a hospital and diagnosing patients? I understand you can be in combat trauma centers, but with the war in Afghanistan dying down, are most future military docs only going to see Army hospitals in the United States?
     
  2. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent Member

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    Nick,

    Google Student Doctor Network Forums. Within the forum go to Physician/Resident Forum find the Military Medicine forum......

    Read it with a thick skin.
     
  3. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I have literally dealt with military doctors my entire life; I'm the son of a military cardiologist.

    You will find the SAME type doctors in the military as you will outside: some are amazing! Some are SCARY and need to be removed...and most are just good folks. The only difference? None are there to get rich, at least not initially.

    Everyone has different experiences with military medicine and stories abound.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  4. Proud mom 2016

    Proud mom 2016 Member

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    Exactly! :thumb:

    Are you already Army? Dh (medical military) has deployed with Army before, he's biased but I'm sure he'd tell you go AF. :wink:
     
  5. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I concur, 90% of the forum is comprised egotistical 18-21 year old pre-meds, 5% are burnt out residents/attendings and 5% helpful posters :thumbdown:

    Nick,

    As I have already addressed in another one of your threads, get your pre-med stuff done first before you decide if medicine is right for you. During that time shadow a few prior or current military physicians to see what the actual work day is like. It's not like House or any show on TV. Lotsssss of paperwork and phone calls.

    I read a stat somewhere that at any given time 20-30% of an incoming college class is pre-something whether that be medicine, nursing, vet, physical therapy or dental. By the end that number whittles to probably less than a couple percentage points.

    For now focus on our short range goals which are commissioning and pre-med. I am serious.


    To address your questions, docs usually don't venture below a level 3 medical center downrange (below that is the area of PAs and medics) and can have a focus in all of the same specialties as a civvy doc and then some. In a major MEDCEN many of the Army docs are really really young because it is a training hospital so experiences may...ummm..vary. Rest assured the older attending physicians should be looking over their work meticulously.
     
  6. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I'm not the son of a military doc- but I have had some life & death experiences for me and my family with Army docs and I would concur with flieger's comments. Some bad (the bad one was horrible and literally almost got arrested for coming to blows with him:eek:) but the rest were really good, and one of them - in a really bad situation, was marvelous. Tripler was a fantastic hospital as was Ft Belvoir and we had better experiences there than at "UMASS" and "Brigham and Women's". It's like everywhere else- mostly good, some great, some bad in all systems.
     
  7. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    On a sidenote, the "Things I learn from my patients" thread in their emergency medicine section is EPIC.
     
  8. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    In my three deployments (Maneuver Battalions), we had a Battalion "Surgeon" during each. Two were pediatricians and one was a general surgeon (I think). He arrived at the battalion shortly before deployment and left immediately upon our redeployment (stayed on our books for sometime though, as I believe that is the standard). My last deployment ended in 2009. Has the Army changed that system? We also had a PA at all times (Deployed or not).
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  9. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    PAs are very commonly around company (sometimes) and battalion operations and work closely with the medics. The exception to doctors being below a level 3 zone is like you said, batt surgeons.

    A general internal medicine doctor or any doctor for that matter is generally not going to be in that position.
     
  10. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    thanks:thumb:
     
  11. Nick0726

    Nick0726 Member

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    My only problem with doing ROTC and being Pre-med is that while everyone else is studying for the MCAT, I'll be at LDAC. Still, I've gotta try it, and I'm sure with hard work I can achieve my goals.
     
  12. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent Member

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    LDACs only 29 Days

    Nick,
    The summer after Jr. year usually isn't a huge conflict. LDAC is only 29 days or so.

    If you wait to study for the MCAT until after Jr year it's too late. You need to be ready to drop your Med School Apps with a good MCAT Score by mid to late July if pursuing an Allopathic Med School. Sure, some get away with Fall Apps but that's more difficult.

    Your timing issues will be the EC's like shadowing, clinical exposure, and possibly research while doing well in all classes and ROTC Sophomore and Jr year. Throw into your Jr year LDAC prep, MCAT prep, and doing well in upper level science premed classes.

    Don't look too far into the future. Get through Freshman year Chem, Calc, Bio, Eng I and whatever GE's you need in addition to some medical EC's and exposure. See how Organic Chem goes Sophomore year then start planning out the rest of your Premed requirements.

    Keep your GPA high enough that if you change your mind and pursue a basic branch (Infantry, Armor, MI, Aviation......) you are still high on the OML to get your preference.

    You can do it. The road is long.

    Good luck.

    PM Sent
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  13. Beaz

    Beaz Member

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    31 years...
     
  14. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    They all have longer hair until a General visits the Hospital.:shake: Happened at Kessler one year.
     
  15. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Actually, in the Army it is very common to have residency-trained physicians filling battalian surgeon positions. The way a physician is trained with various gaps in training to fulfill operational medical jobs varies by the services. The Army trains most straight-through and therefore uses various flavors of physicians as battalian surgeons. The Air Force is around 50/50 of residency trained docs vs what are known as General Medical Officers(GMO's). The Navy/Marine Corps leans very heavily on GMO's to fill the operational medical billets.

    There are also many billets for physicians among the reconstruction teams and various other advisory roles that put you outside the wire on a regular basis.

    Overall, expect that you will be in fairly safe areas as a physician, but don't be surprised if you are further forward than you want to be.

    I almost forgot: the Navy uses Forward Surgical Teams (I'm sure Army and AF have similar) which are usually staffed with 1-2 general surgeons, 1 orthopedic surgeon, 1 anesthesia provider, and 1 ER type along with the many support staff. These are placed as far forward as possible to provide critical life-saving surgical capabilities to stabilize patients en-route to higher echelon care.
     

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