Careers in Medicine?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by sosfiah, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. sosfiah

    sosfiah New Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I am applying to Naval Academy and went on their website to see a list of majors. I am interested in either Mathematics or Mechanical Engineering, but overall I wish to pursue a career in medicine, specifically in Neonatology. If I were to be accepted into Naval Academy, what would I do to go down that route? (P.S. I know that pursuing a career in medicine (in USNA/NAVY??) is extremely difficult...)

    Thank you.
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    There are tons of threads on this. Suggest you use the search feature and do some research. Those who wish to pursue the opportunity to apply for a Med billet will need to complete extra courses such as organic chemistry. USNA has a path for those interested. For the most part, Mids pursuing this path sort of self filter as some realize it's not for them or can't hack the extra course load. This is where validating courses to free up schedule space and summer school help. Medical internships and MCAT scores also play a huge role.

    Another aspect is the needs of the Navy rule when it comes to your medical specialty. You put in your wish list and the Navy matches you with their needs and your wish. I suspect the specialty you want is in very short number, wouldn't be surprised if there are there are years with none or 1-2.

    If you want to go this path you need to be ok with serving in whatever warfare specialty you could end up with... SWO, pilot, etc. And if you happen to be ~12-15 or so people who get medical you need to be prepared for whatever type of Doctor the Navy needs.
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Ditto search on threads. There are many, every year, same questions.

    The general gist of those is to say that producing MDs is not a primary mission of USNA, but rather a relatively small number of a class of ~1200 is allowed to apply - it's varied between 12-16 or thereabouts over the years. If you are not selected for that, you must be prepared to serve your minimum 5 years in a warfare specialty such as surface ships, submarines, aviation, etc.

    Most military doctors come via direct commissioning paths: civilian college, civilian med school.

    Research regular recruiting Navy Medicine sites, the navy.com sites, not USNA.edu, for the various Health Professional Scholarship programs (HPSP).

    Research USUHS, the military medical school at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Civilians come from college to there, as well as military students from various services.

    If your overriding goal is to be a Navy doc, the more straightforward path is not through a Service Academy.

    There is plenty of commentary and insight about this in various threads.

    Edit: and what NavyHoops said

    And don't forget to check out the Public Health Service programs. They are a uniformed service but not an armed service.

    http://www.usphs.gov/student/
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  4. 5Day

    5Day Member

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  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    If this is your desire, go for it. However, you MUST be prepared to accept an alternative service selection as this is a very real possibility. If your overwhelming desire is to be an MD right out of college, you should look elsewhere, including the Navy's program for "civilians" to attend med school and then serve as a Navy MD. If you're willing to do something else out of USNA and attend med school after your initial service obligation, then USNA may be a good choice.
     
  6. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Another thing to consider: While it's great if the Navy assigns you to Medical Corps at service assignment, that means absolutely nothing.

    A few Medical Corps selectees are not able to secure admission to medical schools every year. They get reassigned to NFO or SWO. It's difficult to deal with core courses, engineering requirements, navigation, a major that may or may not be related to medicine, military responsibilities, frequent time sinks, and remain competitive for admission to a medical program at the same time. Your civilian counterpart, on the other hand, is in a pre-med program and has all the time in the world to sink into studying for the MCAT.

    The service assignment numbers in November might list fifteen Medical Corps selectees; it may be only seven or eight make it to graduation with Medical Corps shoulderboards. Just because the Navy picked you, doesn't mean you get it.

    It's possible, but USNA is not the best environment for it.
     
  7. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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  8. GrilledCheese94

    GrilledCheese94 Member

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    Had a good friend from '92 select Navy Medicine...went to Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine upon graduation and commissioning...but, that was a long time ago and I'm not going to pretend to have knowledge of current medical commissioning programs or options.

    My personal opinion is you should be attending USNA/USMA/USAFA to be a warrior leader, not a healer.
     
  9. ahs67

    ahs67 Member

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    They hear back earlier than the rest of the class regarding service selection. For instance, the class of 2017 medical corps hopefuls have already been told if they were selected or not. And they were told a few weeks before the rest of the class was required to submit their service selection dream sheet. Presumably the ones who didn't make the cut had time to reconsider their options?
     
  10. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Yes they have time to put in their wish list. Nuensis, can confirm but I think final
    Service assignment just went in. The big moment for those selected to medical school is in deed getting into med school. We had 1 from my class if I remember right who didn't get in to a school. We had another who hated medical school and dropped their first year. They are now a senior officer in another community and thriving. Also had many classmates and friends attend medical and dental school after their initial commitments in another community and are thriving as senior medical officers now. Lots of paths to get there, it's about persistence, knowing how and when to apply and ensuring you meet all the requirements including a solid reputation in which you me chain of command supports you.
     
  11. GNBA2020

    GNBA2020 New Member

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    Thought that I would chime in here. I am an Active Duty CAPT in the US Public Health Service (thanks for the shout out CAPT MJ) with a child at the USNA interested in medicine. When he received his appointment, he wondered about the path towards a career in Navy medicine and thus reached out to the pre-med advisor. He was told that most mids (~60%) interested in medicine pursue Chemistry as a major as that does the best job of meeting the pre-med requirements. Biology is offered and pre-med mids take it during summer or as electives. There is some discussion about creating a biochemistry major but that has yet to occur.

    In the 30+ year history of the USNA pre-med program, over 350 mids have gone directly to medical or dental school after graduation. Currently, the academy is limited to 15 billets each year for direct movement into medical or dental school. The exact number (i.e., all 15 or a smaller number) is determined annually by the needs of the Navy. Over the past decade, an average of 12 mids +/- have been approved annually for medical/dental billets (out of approximately 17 applicants). Since 2004, only 3 of 142 USNA applicants did not get accepted into a medical school. Mids selected for the medical billet may opt for a civilian medical school (HPSP scholars (4 year service obligation)) or USUHS (5 year service obligation). Note that these years of service obligation are in addition to the 5 years from the USNA and that "payback" doesn't begin until you are finished with your training (i.e., residency and fellowship). I can say that my Washington, DC area medical school admissions office recently told me that they LOVE mids because they are smart, well organized, and goal orientated. They bring "maturity" to the incoming medical school class. There are a number of USN medical officers who completed their 5 year service obligation in SWO, subs, aviation, etc then elected to pursue medical school afterwards - that is always an option should you not get selected for the medical billet.

    There are probably easier paths to enter medical school than through the USNA as civilian schools allow students to "pad" their GPA with fluff classes, easier science (chem, calculus, physics) tracks and lighter semester credit loads; however, if you excel at the Academy, you will excel in medical school. Most of the military doctors that I work with went throug HPSP option rather than a service academy; however, those who graduated from a SA, attract a great amount of respect as we recognize what they went through to enter the medical profession. With regards to specialization, you will likely be able to follow your choice of medical specialties only so far. Ultimately, it depends upon the needs of the Navy. For example, you are interested in neonatology - the Navy may need pediatricians but not neonatologists hence, you will be a general pediatrician. Some of my HPSP classmates wanted to be orthopedic surgeons - the navy needed trauma surgeons. They are trauma surgeons.

    Up until WW II, more deaths on the battlefield occured due to infectious diseases than wounds - medical force protection is vital to success of today's military. You can look up what military medicine is doing not only in the clinical environment (from military treatment facilities to deployment of an ebola hospital in Liberia), but also research into emerging infectious disease threats for the War Fighter.

    Good Luck!
     
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  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    As others have said, if your primary desire/interest is to be a doctor, you are better off pursuing routes other than USNA as those are more likely to guarantee success. Attend USNA b/c you are willing to serve in the unrestricted line (ships, aviation, subs for the most part). Med school MIGHT work out from USNA but there is a better chance it won't. Thus, if you're open to doing something else for at least 5 yrs, USNA is a good option. Remember you can (and a number of USNA graduates do) attend med school after your initial service obligation.
     

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