Medical school and the Naval Academy

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by NavalAcademyCandidate, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. NavalAcademyCandidate

    NavalAcademyCandidate Member

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    My goal is to attend the USNA and then to attend medical school. Is this at all possible and if so how difficult? Thanks to all and any help.
     
  2. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    It is possible, but difficult. If you are dead set on being a doctor, go somewhere else. USNA is not a breeding ground for MD's, so if you wouldn't mine being a sea going defender of freedom, fill out the application and cross your toes.
     
  3. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

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    10 out of x number of ppl in each class

    i was told there will be around 30 chem major(this varies by year)-10 of those will be selected for medical school
     
  4. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    This has been hashed out on this board and others many, many times.

    It always stirs up a huge debate, but I'd read the other threads on here to get an idea of what the advice is:

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=13371&highlight=medical+school

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=3293&highlight=medical+school

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=9828&highlight=medical+school

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=7199&highlight=medical+school

    There are probably more threads out there, you can use the search function at the top of the page to do an advanced search limiting results to the USNA forum and search 'medical school' or something similar
     
  5. NavalAcademyCandidate

    NavalAcademyCandidate Member

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    No marvin I would definitly not mind being a sea going defender of freedom :smile:
     
  6. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    This is incorrect. The correct percentage is 2% of each graduating class is allowed. You don't have to be a chem major, there are other options.
     
  7. NavalAcademyCandidate

    NavalAcademyCandidate Member

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    Wow kp 2001 I really should've tried that first...Thanks to all, and it does sound hard to do this.
     
  8. NavalAcademyCandidate

    NavalAcademyCandidate Member

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    Quick off-topic question: what counts as "exceptional adversity"? The Academy is asking me if I have ever experienced any and I don't want to put down something that obviously is not, so if anyone has any opinions that would be great thanks. (I'm starting to get this unconfident feeling more and more as I continue with the ever-increasingly nerve wracking job of filling out applications)
     
  9. lovethenavy

    lovethenavy Member

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    BE YOURSELF! You can not BS these people. You have to draw on your own reserves to articulate why you want to go and deserve a spot at the USNA. Something that may seem insignificant to you, might indeed play a part in why you decided to take this path in your life. Take some time to reflect on this experience and don't look back. Good Luck.
     
  10. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Is that in the admissions catalog? I don't think I've ever seen that in writing anywhere. One year, the admissions catalog actually quoted a specific number - 25. Subsequent catalogs have not committed to that number.

    From what I understand, there are more slots available than those who are even striving for that assignment -or- are even qualified for that assignment. For instance, the Class of 2010 had ten go Medical Corps, yet they graduated more than 1,000.

    Plus, I also understand that the academy has to APPROVE a midshipman's effort to get accepted into Medical School. If that's true - when does that "approval" occur? In other words, you have to be pre-approved to even START going down that path.
     
  11. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    To be honest I cannot at this time recall where the 2% number came from, so I did a little searching and came up with two USNA instructions to find the exact source:

    http://www.usna.edu/AdminSupport/Instructions/1000-1999/1531-47C.pdf
    http://www.usna.edu/Oceanography/forms_instructions/OCEANDEPTINST1531.47a.htm

    These sources actually say a maximum of 15 per class may go directly to medical or dental school.

    The first instruction actually gives some nice insight and then the second one is from the oceanography dept but gives even further insight into selection procedures, etc. The instructions are slightly dated, so not sure if there is anything more recent.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    They told us at BGO training in 2009 that the number of possible med school accessions was 2% of the class -- or maybe it was 24 people -- the numbers are pretty close either way.

    However, as others have noted, it's a somewhat complex process in that -- as I understand it -- USNA must decide in the fall that, in their view, you're competitive enough to apply to med school. So, in the end, it's not entirely up to you.

    I will say that there has been a "softening" of USNA's approach to candidates who think they want to go to med school, compared to a few years ago when it was totally frowned upon. That said, if all you want to do is be a doctor, I recommend you seek another path. If you do decide to go to USNA, be FULLY PREPARED to have to enter another warfare specialty (ships, subs, air, USMC) for at least 5 yrs.

    Finally, quite a few USNA grads complete their 5+ years and then go to med school. Some believe it actually makes them better doctors and, if they decide to stay in the USN as many do, better officers.
     
  13. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Which Fall does USNA decide on those desiring to pursue the Medical Corps? The Fall of their Youngster or 2/C year?
     
  14. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    According to the first instruction I linked it says interested 2/c midshipmen must submit applications prior to the last day of the spring semester and then the committee meets in the fall of 1/c year.
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Fall of 1/C year at USNA, to the best of my knowledge. At the same time other firsties are working on their service selection choices, aspiring med/dental mids are working a similar process. As noted above, it can be complex, and can also vary from year to year. I think the number of slots available has gone up in recent years because class sizes have increased.

    There are plenty of briefs on this as well as all service selection opportunities. There will be more senior mids in company, on a sports team or other group going through the process who will pass practical info down.

    I used to sit on the USNA board as the Commandant's rep, interviewing candidates for medical and dental school, and I stay in touch with some board members still on faculty. I've also had some sponsor sons/daughters go through the process in the last 5 years. Interviews have usually started very close to Reform at the start of senior year. First round of MCATs are in hand, 3 years' worth of grades (including conduct and performance) are available and the mid has had an opportunity to invest leave/summer training time in some follow-the-doctor opportunities or ER volunteering and garner some letters of recommendation. One of the questions we always asked was what is your Plan B, as in, what warfare specialty have you also prepared to request? Mids on this track are usually well-known by start of 2/c year to involved faculty. Most seem to be Chem majors, but I knew several who had other majors, and got the courses they needed through summer school.

    Some mids get into major conduct trouble and fall out of the process, some don't get their MCATs high enough, some realize they want to do something in a warfare specialty first, then take any number of routes back to military medicine a few years down the road (search other threads). Some do the math on how many years they will owe in obligated service (kp2001, speak up, Doc!) and determine, well, maybe not.

    I have to say, during a complex derm surgery at NNMC Bethesda a few years ago, I was very confident in my 2 docs, both USNA grads. The senior officer/specialty surgeon was a former submarine officer who attended Johns Hopkins, and the senior resident was a USNA grad who attended USUHS. Their running joke was they were actually over 80 years old, but they worked on each other all the time. Hard to laugh when your face is totally numb. Both have been to Afghanistan and Iraq - some funky skin diseases and complicated derm repair - as well as work over at Walter Reed on combat cases.

    Stay tuned to what usna1985 and other BGOs have to say, because they will get the latest info from USNA briefings.
     
  16. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    12yrs minimum after graduation if you go to USUHS (in reality it's a minimum of 15, but by statute it's 12....5 for USNA + 7 for USUHS). The disparity is that time in training doesn't count, so for even the shortest of training paths you will have 3yrs in there somewhere that don't count towards payback giving you the 15.

    9yrs minimum after graduation if you go to a civilian school (realistic minimum is 12.....5 for USNA + 4 for med school (HPSP) )

    Ouch, is all I can say, if you go USNA then med school plan on a 20yr career at a minimum, which in reality is 24yrs because you don't get retirement credit while in medical school as an Ensign.

    So here's your career for those who just graduated USNA and start USUHS next month:

    2010: Graduate USNA, start USUHS, stay Ensign for entire time
    2014: Graduate USUHS, promote to O3 w/ 0yrs of service
    2017: Complete shortest residency possible (Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Psychiatry, Pediatrics)
    (OR 2021: Finish longest residency (neurosurgery 7yrs), but we'll stick with shortest route possible)
    2029: Complete obligations to Academy and USUHS (have 15yrs of service)
    2034: Eligible to retire (get credit for 4yrs at USUHS back, so retire w/ 24yrs of service)

    So, anybody really think someone is going to throw away all those retirement benefits with 5yrs left before being eligible to retire? Don't think so...hence, if you go to med school plan on at least 24yrs of service after USNA.
     
  17. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    It happens fall of 1/c year, and my godson, who attended med school, found that the timing hurt him in the med school application process (but was certainly grateful he got the chance).
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    ^^^^^

    Very well put. I have a classmate who went the USUHS route (and majored on Oceanography, btw). Still in the USN, although no longer required to be. For many military doctors, they realize the future "outside" isn't as rosy as they'd originally thought.

    For primary care doctors, military pay is at least equal and probably better than for civilians. The hours may or may not be better -- depending on where you're serving and your specialty. You don't have to worry about the business aspects of medicine (especially important if you're in a civilian small group practice). And, you're less likely to be sued.

    Not to mention the potential impact of healthcare reform . . .

    So, there are benefits of military medicine but, as KP2001 says, you gotta be willing to spend the better part of your life in the military. If you want to be a military doctor w/o the long obligation, you are better off going to a civilian college and then applying to have the USN send you to med school.
     
  19. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Do non-USNA grads, who get involved in one of these military-paid medical school programs, get the identical obligation as the USNA grads for the same program? I understand the USNA grads have the 5yrs to serve for their USNA education ... I'm just talking about the additional portion for medical school.

    In other words, let's say a University of Michigan undergrad student (non-ROTC) applies and gets accepted to a civilian medical school and has the Navy pay for it (HPSP). You've said that program has a four year obligation attached to it - and the years in medical school, obviously, do not count toward that obligation. So, we're talking approximately 7yrs after his graduation from the University of Michigan, he/she could be out practicing privately as a civilian with zero medical school debt? Or, at least, out doing a civilian residency.

    It's hard to imagine that the Navy is getting its money's worth on that deal.

    Further, do those in the medical field get any kind of "incentive pay" (or, whatever it's called) over-and-above their normal military pay?

    I would think the Navy would get considerable bang for their buck putting Naval Academy graduates into the medical field.
     
  20. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I'll defer to KP2001's greater expertise but I have a second friend who did civilian college, and then a civilian med school, the latter paid by USN scholarship. Just as for USNA grads, I believe that residency doesn't count toward your payback.

    Everyone (or almost everyone) does a year of internship and then a GMO (general medical officer) tour right out of med school. Then you apply for residency. If you do it through the USN, the USN gets an additional 2+ years of your time -- the time spent in residency that doesn't count toward payback. Not sure if you incur an additional obligation for residency -- it makes sense that you would, but KP2001 has to weigh in on this. If you don't get the residency you want (especially as a non-USNA MD), you either take a residency you don't want or finish your obligation as a GMO and then try to get a residency on the "outside."

    There is medical incentive pay for those who "obliserve" in a specialty the USN wants to retain. Based on my understanding, it doesn't kick in until you have completed your obligation to the USN. The amount helps close the gap between military and civilian pay in some of the specialties, but generally won't eliminate it.

    Another "incentive" -- at higher ranks at least (O-5, O-6), you must have three years in grade to retire at that rank. That can make a substantial difference in retirement pay over the rest of your life. So some of the more senior folks will stay in for that reason as well.

    The bottom line for candidates considering this option -- it certainly is possible but there are no guarantees and your commitment will be long. Be sure you fully understand all of the ramifications before you make your decision. As Capt MJ said, you MUST be prepared for Plan B which, in all likelihood, will be a warfare specialty.
     

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