Medical career after ROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by DalzellM, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. DalzellM

    DalzellM New Member

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    How could I go into the medical field through ROTC?
    When should I start this process?
    Is it worth it?
     
  2. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Hi DalzellM,

    :welcome1:

    A little about you may be helpful...
    Your year in school?
    Grades and scores?
    Which are you interested in Air Force/Marines/Navy/Army?
    Kind'a what are you planning?
    Any colleges in mind? or are you wide open?

    Cheers
     
  3. DalzellM

    DalzellM New Member

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    I am currently a Junior, have a 3.9 GPA, have yet to take the SAT and ACT and I am looking into NROTC or AROTC
    As for colleges, I am looking into local ones such as the University of Washington but to be honest, I'm not picky. I love new places. :smile:
    Thanks!
     
  4. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    The basics are that you would apply to select Medical Corps as your branch when selecting a branch out of ROTC. If selected you could go one of three ways
    1)USUHS - military medical school
    2)HPSP - military scholarship for medical school
    or
    3)Ask for an educational delay to go to medical school on your own

    In college you need to pick a major that you will enjoy that will also allow you to take as either core or electives the science courses that most medical schools require. Spring of junior year or early senior year you would take the MCAT's and fall/winter of Senior year you would be applying to medical schools.

    It doesn't matter what your undergrad major is, just pick something that you will enjoy and want to do because that will make getting higher grades easier. Don't pick premed/biochem/etc just because that's the "thing to do."

    Anyway, that's the gist of it.
     
  5. DalzellM

    DalzellM New Member

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    In order to do any of those, should I go through a recruiter?

    Also, what are the advantages vs. disadvantages of being a military doctor?
     
  6. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Well you are planning ahead, and have great grades,
    so you are out ahead of the pack.

    The ROTC process is long and involved,
    if you don't have a family member that is ex-military to help you, you have come to the right place.

    Not a local recruiter, you need to talk to the Recruiter on the ROTC staff at your local university.
    (recruiters are for enlisted, ROTC recruiters are for officers, as a Doctor - you would be an officer)
    They are there to answer your questions, and you will find them friendly and helpful. They are busy, be persistent and polite.

    Shoot them an email and introduce yourself, they can send you a info packet. Good idea to make an appointment and stop in to say hi - they have a powerpoint that they are dying to show you:biggrin: And some freebees as well. My son got a Tshirt, water bottle, pen, even a nice USB drive- he decided he liked to visit ROTC units.

    If it sounds like something you like, you can schedule a over-night with the cadets, and shadow them for a day - my son loved it, and got an excused absence to boot.

    University of Washington Army ROTC is at: Link
    Army Captain DAVID PROCTOR
    Scholarship & Enrollment Officer
    proctd3@u.washington.edu
    206-543-9010

    University of Washington Navy ROTC is at: LINK
    Navy Captain Nick Holman
    navyinfo@u.washington.edu
    Phone: (206) 543-0170

    USUHS - military medical school Link

    HPSP - military scholarship for medical school Link

    Army Medical Corps Officer Link
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  7. DalzellM

    DalzellM New Member

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    Thank you for that, I will look into it!
    As for the other paths that don't involve ROTC, how would I get to them? Are there any prerequisites?
     
  8. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    First, congratulations to you! You've got a long road ahead, but don't let that discourage you.

    My father was a career military doctor. He has repeatedly said that there is no better place to be a physician than in the military, especially as a surgeon. Over the course of his career, there were plenty of opportunities to separate from military service. But after evaluating everything, he decided to stay. This has influenced my DS to pursue a career as a military doctor as well.

    You should definitely look at attending a service academy. There is a ceiling of 2% on the number of SA grads who can attend medical school. At first blush, this seems like a very small number. However, when you compare that to the students that attend med school from a civilian school, the numbers at the SA are actually comparable. Also, most folks at an SA are not even interested in med school, whereas many more in a civilian school are. Civilian schools like to boast that they place a high percentage of students to med school. They way they do that is to decline to recommend students from the civilian school. kp2001 is an SA grad and has gone the SA-Med School route.

    I would sit down with the pre-med advisor at University of Washington and ask him/her (1) How many UW grads successfully applied to med school; (2) How many UW grads unsuccessfully applied to med school; and (3) How many UW students wanted to apply to med school but were told that UW wouldn't support them. If you get these numbers, then you can have something to compare against the service academies.

    The other thing that my DS has learned is that you need to cast your net broadly. Apply to ROTC in all the services as well as all the services academies (there is really not much difference between, say, an Air Force surgeon and an Army surgeon in terms of experience). Unfortunately, there is a huge amount of randomness in this whole process that you cannot control despite your best efforts, and fate can be determined because of decisions that have little bearing on your credentials. For example, you may want to attend USAFA but don't receive a nomination. Or you may want to do ROTC at UW but receive an offer at another school because the military is tightening right now and has fewer allocations. The only way to control risk here is to generate as many options as possible and then select among the best options available to you down the road.

    Most important, don't get discouraged. You will hear a lot of folks remind you how difficult it is to achieve your goal of becoming a military physician, but you seem to be a planner and have an excellent GPA. Go for it!
     
  9. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I want to add to my earlier post.

    First, please do not make any judgments about life as a military doctor until you are well into ROTC or even serving on active duty (BTW, there is nothing wrong with serving out your obligation in the Infantry, then separating to attend medical school, and then re-entering active duty in the Medical Corps). If you are a junior in high-school right now, you simply do not have the exposure to this life to make any kind of informed judgment about this. You do not need to plan that far ahead at this point. Sure, you can work toward that path, but you can always diverge if you have to. In my case, I entered ROTC with the aim of becoming a military physician but quickly became fascinated with the prospect of becoming an Infantry officer. While on active duty, things changed for me, and eventually, I went to law school and combined my science degree to become an intellectual property lawyer. Who knew?

    Let me now give you a glimpse of being a military physician from the perspective of a DS who's father was a military physician.

    One thing you are ultimately going to have to decide is what objectives are you seeking as a physician generally. You don't need to decide that now and probably should not until med school or later. Some folks are perfectly happy making Hollywood movie stars look younger. Others want to help sick children in Africa. Others want to serve in the military. These are aspects of becoming a physician that no one here on SAF can guide you on -- it has to come within yourself. You will, however, have experiences in the military that only a military physician will experience.

    My father has had a considerable amount of job satisfaction in the military. He is especially proud of having saved the lives of many of our brave Soldiers after they were torn apart during in a firefight. He served in the middle of things from Vietnam to Desert Storm. For example, my father recounted a story where he had just finished saving the life of a US Soldier in the operating room and, after he was finished, he had to turn to the other operating table to save the life of the Vietcong soldier who had just tried to kill that US Soldier. He did say that this experience was kind of weird, but military physicians are bound by the Hippocratic Oath like any other physician. My father also recalls joking around with helicopter ambulance pilots in the hospital cafeteria while they waited for their next run, only to find these same pilots on his operating table a few hours later when things didn't go well on the next evacuation. Today, in Iraq and Afghanistan, military doctors are busy treating our Soldiers, our enemies, and the children who are affected by those conflicts. They are just as much proud members of our military as anyone else who serves.

    When I was young, I remember my mother looking nervously out the window for the Army staff car to pull up after learning from the television that the Da Nang Army Hospital had just been inadvertently pounded by an American B-52 bomber (by that time, she was already used to the shelling that the hospital had received from the Vietcong). Similarly, in 1989, things were just as unsettling for my mother when she woke up one morning to learn that the United States had just invaded Panama (my father was on an unaccompanied tour at the Army hospital in Panama at the time, and I was on active duty as well). This is the life that my father chose, and he is very proud to have been a career military physician.

    The other thing about being a military physician is that you may be called upon to serve in "other people's wars," while the rest of the military is not engaged in combat. During "Black September" (September 1970), when Syria invaded Jordan, my father was chief of surgery at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany. The US military decided to send two surgeons to help out the Jordanians (not as US military, but as American Red Cross surgeons because of the political issues involved with sending US military members to that conflict). My father was instructed to pick two people from his surgical staff to provide surgical support during that conflict, but he decided to go himself along with his deputy.

    My father came home that morning and told my mother that he had to be on a plane in two hours to go to the Middle East. The Syrians and the PLO got very mad at this, so they placed a contract out on the lives of the families of these two American doctors who went to Jordan. The Army then called my mother to advise her that the Red Brigade terrorist organization had agreed to assume that contract with the intention of murdering me, my mother, and my sisters. We were not evacuated to the United States, but we had a bunch of men in civilian clothes in our apartment and circled around our military housing building for about a month (I'm not sure which unit that was who was assigned to protect us). Eventually, the conflict in Jordan ended, and nothing happened. But it sure was weird when my friends came over to play and were greeted with Uzi machine guns at the door.

    I am not recounting all this to spook you. But it seems that there aren't too many Hollywood movies that give you the glimpse of what it truly means to be a military physican, and what it can mean to the lives of your future wife/husband and children (I know this is FAR from your thoughts right now, but if you're planning that far ahead, I might as well throw that in). As you do the ROTC thing, you may find that some may consider you as "less military" because you want to pursue a dream of becoming a physician. Just shrug that off, because you will be just as much a part of the military as any other active duty servicemember.

    And if you ultimately decide the military is not for you, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be a very productive contributor to our society.

    Again, you do not have to make "life choices" right now. That time will come when you are about to complete your service obligation from ROTC or from an SA and have to decide whether to remain on active duty or not. You have at least 10 years to make that decision.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Here, here Patent!

    The fact is at 17 you can't imagine being 22, let alone 24, 25.

    My pet peeve has always been going in for a specific career field. You go this route to serve at the luxury of that branch. In other words to wear the uniform.

    Have the dream, have the goal, BUT NOBODY can guarantee you that goal in the military.

    The question is if you can't be a doc in the military would you still take this route?

    What if you get it and they send you to places like Minot, ND, or Camp Red Cloud, South Korea?

    Again you serve at their luxury. You can't say I want to be an Ortho surgeon, without them saying, OK.

    The question comes down to one thing...why the military?

    The answer will show you what to do...if it comes down to I want for me, than you need to re-visit the issue until you can say I want to serve the country.

    You know what they call a doctor who is a Captain?

    Captain!

    In the end of the day you wear the uniform first.
     
  11. DalzellM

    DalzellM New Member

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    Thank you so much for your input!
    I'm a cadet in Junior Navy ROTC and have a pretty good glance at military life according to my instructors, a Commander (USN retired) and a Master Sargent (USMC retired).

    I'm wondering if there are any early ways to get prepared and build a good profile that looks good for Academies and ROTC. (Medical or not medical)

    As for USUHS, would I have to complete 4 years of civilian college getting a major before I apply? Or is it just part of the path after ROTC or an Academy? :biggrin:
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    If you want to attend an SA, drill this in your cranium to the point that everything you do is because of it.

    WCS! Whole Candidate Score.

    The WCS looks at your:
    1. GPA
    2. SAT
    3. Course curriculum (rigor)
    4. HS profile
    5. EC's
    ~~~Athletic participation
    ~~~Out of the classroom ---BSA, NHS, Habitat for Humanity,etc
    6. CFA
    7. Recs

    It is not enough to have a 4.0 uwgpa, because the fact is a candidate with a 3.5, but took the hardest courses offered may be seen in a stronger light.

    It is not enough to have a 2400 SAT and valedictorian, but yet have never held a job or played a sport.

    It is the WHOLE candidate that they are looking at. Not just one part.

    Personally I tell everyone looking into ROTC, to use the SA applicant as their competition. Fact is 99% of SA applicants will apply for ROTC, but 99% of ROTC applicants won't apply for an SA.

    The biggest issue after 3 yrs here that I see is candidates don't get the fact they want them to be well rounded.

    If you want to give yourself an edge for the SA's, I hope you applied for SLS. Again, that speaks volumes about how much you want it.
     

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