I just don’t get it. About once a month I post a rant about how bad military medicine is, point to other resources about life in the military, and link to stories by other physicians about how they’ve been cheated, wronged, or just plain screwed by the armed forces. I even posted a pretty graph to show the loss of income by taking the scholarship. And yet I still continue to get questions along the lines of “Are you serious? Really, it can’t be that bad. What are the advantages?” Here is the latest email I have received from a reader who poses several questions:
1) I am slightly confused about residency in the military. I heard that its TYPICALLY (for usuhs/hsp) 4 yrs med school, 1 yr internship, 2 yrs GMO, n years residency. In other words, despite 75% matching, i heard that the 25% that fell short still do eventually get a residency (i.e. at least fam med/int med/etc.) Albeit, i think this ends up extending ur service years since GMO yrs dont count toward satisfying reqts.
A GMO tour does indeed count towards your payback. If you take the four-year scholarship and do a two-year stint as a flight surgeon, you would only need two more years of active duty service. However, once you start a residency, your commitment will increase. Attending residency is entirely your choice. So yes, most of the people who did not match will eventually end up in residency, although they might wait until their commitment is up so that they can pursue civilian training.
2) how dangerous is being a military physician? What the most danger that theyre in (same danger as combat soldiers vs. supply line soldiers vs. etc)? (i assume the least danger would be at a well established command area)
You’re in the military. You will be deployed. You will face danger on these deployments. Military physicians are listed as noncombatants under the Geneva Convention. However, I am unaware of any nation—including our own—that actually follows the Geneva Convention. Doctors have died in combat in the past, although it is a rare event. Usually, they stay on base at the hospital and don’t travel out with the soldiers on combat missions.
3) Also, do u think that usuhs/hsp prevents u from living at LEAST the stereotypical middle class life (2 toyotas/house/2 kids/retirment/bla bla)?
I have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you mean that taking the scholarship will allow you to live a middle-class lifestyle as a student? USUHS students make above $40,000 a year. HPSP students make around $25,000 a year. Military residents start at $65,000 a year and go up from there. Flight surgeons make about $95,000 a year and up, while board-certified attendings in other specialties start at $120,000-$140,000, depending on specialty. I’m not sure if I’m able to answer your question, but that’s the money that you can expect.
It would be a great help to hear ur input, as opposed to hearing recruiters only. Also, if this isnt too private, why did u decide to do the hsp when it seems like u really are against it? Im just trying to get all the facts before deciding to apply to the usuhs/hsp. Thanks.
Unfortunately, I did not have all the facts when I took the scholarship, which would explain why I’m so against it today. I really think you should… forget it. Just take the scholarship because you obviously don’t care to listen to what I or anyone else has to say about it. Keep my email address handy so that you can let me know how things work out for you during January of your senior year of medical school.