I'm really interested in Army Medical Field. Every time I talk to recruiter he gives me a charming brochure novel like description of the job. Well it's all nice and peachy except a lot of people tell me that reality is different. Currently I'm an EMT in NYC and in 7 months I will be a paramedic. My thing is that I would like to know how life in the army is after boot camp for a medic... I don't want to get stuck in the hospital somewhere in middle of nowhere working on the ambulance doing a call a day (I can stay in NYC and do some really serious work here). I would like to be a field medic. How do I get such assignment? I know I will be going in as E4 (specialist) due to my BA. I was ready to sign my enlistment papers last September but recruiter was jerking me around not really telling me anything. When he finally wanted to talk business I already laid out 6k for my paramedic school and couldn’t get it back. Any advice will be welcomed...
The Great Pacific Northwest,home of the Goonies,Short Circuit
Re: Army Medics
Medics had it made when I was in the Army!
still alot of field duty but the medics camps were always
clean and supplied well.
I was a communications,Generator Mechanic,
But trained as a 64C Track vehicle mechanic.
Okay, I'm not a forum member but my husband is and he pointed out this thread to me. I just got out of the Army Medical Corps less than a month ago and I thought I could add my $0.02. So here goes.
First of all, the old addage that recruiters are liars is pretty much true. They won't give you complete misinformation, but their job is to make the Army look like Narnia no matter what "little" details they leave out. To get the most realistic viewpoint of the medic life would be to talk to a real medic. Find a reserve unit and talk to someone with that MOS and chances are that person has either transitioned from active duty to reserve status or has recently been activated.
Second, if you don't want to be stuck in a hospital in the ER or someplace all year round, go Special Forces. An SF medic is almost always guaranteed to be in the field for the majority of the year and they will get called up for deployments. If you are married or have a significant other you don't want to be away from for extended periods (ie, 6-18 months at a time), then SF is probably not for you. You can always volunteer for overseas assignments but the Army will place you "needs of the Army" which is wherever they see fit.
The army also doesn't have a separate field medic MOS anymore. That old 91B has been combined with the nursing MOS (91C) into one MOS, the 91W. They work anywhere in a hospital, either on wards, in the ER, or in the clinics. If you are assigned to a combat support hospital, you can and will be expected to do anything that needs to be done, not just your medical job. They are not treated any better in the field and don't get special favors. That's for the officers, LOL.
Army life has its rewards, don't get me wrong. I will more than likely transfer to the reserves here in the next few months because once you've been part of the military it doesn't ever seem to completely leave your system. You get 30 days of leave a year (which you have to get approved by a long line in a chain of command), little priviledges and discounts here and there at certain civilian businesses, and a sense of "hey, I was part of something that not everyone can be a part of". I've met some of my best friends through the army. I just don't like the idea that I have someone always over my shoulder and forever keeping tabs on every thing I do all of the time, which is why I'll never go back to active duty. Some people really like/need that structure and discipline, but I do not.
Once you're in the Army, you are a soldier 24/7 and they will use you for all they can. Don't ever get used to a Monday thru Friday schedule, 8-5, because it doesn't exist. Period. Especially in the medical field. You are also required, mainly in a hospital setting, to cover all the civilian absences since you don't get paid overtime. I was a lab tech and I was always on shifts and always working holidays and weekends.
I would suggest also speaking to a recruiter that deals specifically with the medical field, and you'll have to dig deep to get in contact with someone there. Don't let anyone rush you to "sign on the dotted line" - I left MEPS 3 different times because I wouldn't let them bully me. You CAN get a cash bonus, especially if you have a BA, and you don't have to take a 6 year contract, which is what my recruiter tried to tell me was standard with ALL medical MOSs. Negotiate, it's your life. Something else they may or may not have told you - make sure you can do the PT aspect of it, especially for basic training. I was never a runner, and my recruiter told me not to worry about it because they would teach me in basic. All I can say is that I should have better prepared myself before I left. They will chapter you out if you can't handle the PT portion from basic.
I hope this helps a little bit anyway, and I'm in no way trying to discourage anybody from joining the military. Just do your homework and talk to the people who know and who do that job. I think all recruiters have been whatever job you may be interested in at some time (said with a hint of sarcasm) and will tell you that it is a great field.
I was in the reserves as a medic 91a. I went to germany during desert storm and waited for casualties that never happened-thank god.
While i was in the reserves I met and talked to male RNs. I have since become an RN in real life. I would suggest looking in to Nursing. it is midway between grunt and doctor. you are at least on the officer side and it sounds like you have some training-emt and are getting more-paramedic. there are so many great things about nursing. if you are a military nurse RN you can take those skill to the civillian side and make a decent wage compared to being a skilled medic in the civillian world you are a kicking ass CNA, transporter, phlebotomist, techwhatever but really not making that much money after you are finished. I don't know what your goals are but I think a medic you will always be limited as an enlisted. I think career wise the opportunities are on the officer side in the nursing corps. don't think nursing is just for girls. however having some women around is a good thing
another benefit to nursing is the critical care transport. available in military and in civillian
PM if you have anymore questions. I think nursing is a great career. you can even make enough money to buy some flashlights.
Gadgetboy, please thank your wife for putting together a very informative post. I think if Polak187 is interested in staying strictly in a medical field and does have some advanced training, he may want to check into the qualifications to be a warrant officer physician's assistant. I work with the Army everyday, and it breaks your heart to see someone who had great training in the civilian world being underutilized in the military because of a career choice or assignment. The Special Forces medic does sound like a good option, but I'm sure it is highly competitive to get the slots. Plus, the whole having to deploy in a moments notice to places you can't talk about can put a serious strain on a family.
Polak187, if you are serious about a military career, do yourself a favor and talk to ALL the service branches. You might get to do the work you want in a different branch. The Army is hooah, but you might not get the assignment you expected and it will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Thank you guys for your answers. You gave me a great start and helped me kind of refocus my list of questions.
I will probably get back to some of you in the later time when I finally manage to talk to a decent recruiter.
Working on the streets in NYC means getting a lot of action. I get stabbings, shootings, overdoses on regular bases and if I mix it up with big dose of medical calls I really get my hands full. I love it. I just don't want to give up all this and trade it for dull life (and I mean no disrespect). I did think about nursing or PA program but again local recruiter is a young and eager guy who unfrotunatelly doesn't really know great deal and only cares about shipped numbers. Any talk about being an officer (or any specialized training) he blows off saying that enlisted run the army.
Enlisted may run the Army, but even the Sergeant Major of the Army must still call the greenest second Lieutenant, "Sir". It sounds like you enjoy the high action scene, and you may not see that in the Army, unless you are in a special Forces unit. But then again, you've also got to deal with guys shooting BACK at you also. Since you are in Brooklyn, why don't you take a trip up to Ft. Drum and visit some medics there. You can see what they do first hand and can get some of their stories while they were deployed. Most recruiters are probably honest, but they don't know the details on every Army MOS (military occupational specialty). Your recruiter could have spend the past several years pulling the string on a howitzer or driving a dump truck. Get a second opinion, because once you sign up, you've made a serious commitment.
Another difference is in the type of recruiter--look especially for a medical recruiting office. There aren't many, but they're more professional and not just interested in bodies and numbers. I think that there's just one office for the NY, NJ, PA area, but I may be wrong. There's only one for the whole state of TX...and it's a 3 hour drive from my place.
The Army Recruiters give one heck of a sales spin for certain, polish, shine, gloss everything up like a new penny right out of the mint.
If you go to a Army or Navy Medical recruiting office, you will learn an entirely different story from a completely different point of view, I'd highly suggest this as someone else had mentioned.
The Medical Recruiting Office will make you aware of alot of medical officer programs, as well as the others, and in addition will show you how you can have them either assist or pay for your medical degree, in return for serving for X number of years when you are done, depending on the amount of help they give you.
When you go talk to the medics/corpsman, make sure you talk to some doctors also. Get the scoop from both sides of the fence. I spent three years next to the Navy Medical Officer office next store to us, the Marine Officer Selection Office at 800 S. Wells Ave, Chicago, IL. I sent many a doctor/student that were interested in the medical field, as the Marines do not have their own Corpsman/Medic or Chaplains.
A fairly common option is to sign up (alot easier than it sounds, there is a long selection process that rejects many folks that want into the program, as well as a waiting period), get the medical degree with or without help, go active duty, where there is a program where you can freeze the interest on regular student loans, payback the loan while you are in at zero interest, plus get your experience at the same time without the high cost of practice/fraud/ etc. insurance, then the guys will get out, loans paid off, internship long over, additional military medical training, and experience under their belt, all the while getting a chance to see and experience the world.
Definitely not for the weak of character folks though, they are best left in their civilian occupations.