Military Doctor and Chances of Getting Interviews

  • navybones
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9 years 11 months ago - 9 years 11 months ago #31461 by navybones
So I was hoping to get a sense of what my chances look like, and for some strategies to maximize my chances of getting interviews and ultimately selected for a residency position. I dont know anyone in a similar position who has applied to Ortho. I have friends/colleagues who got into other civilian programs supposedly very easily, but I dont know if it will be more difficult for Ortho.

I am currently in the Navy working as a physician (Flight Surgeon, basically primary care with some extra training in aviation). I graduated in 2007 from a Southern California Medical school and did a General Surgery Prelim Internship (for what it is worth, they were pretty awesome and gave me ~5 months of ortho during my G.Surg internship) before being sent off with the Navy.

Since medical school, I have been stationed in very isolated places or have had very strict working schedules. As a result, I have pretty much been working independently with very little direct supervision by a physician (which means no one to write me a letter of rec saying "he worked under me and was amazing"). I have plenty of my commanding officers who have volunteered to write glowing letters of rec without me even asking.

Additionally, I have not really been able to do much in terms of working with Orthopedic Surgeons on a regular basis or help with any research projects due to my isolated locations. Most of my interactions have come through working with people remotely via email/phone when dealing with complicated cases. There is one Orthopedic Surgeon that I helped with some logistical issues who wants to write me a letter, but he honestly doesnt know anything about my surgical skills, or ortho knowledge base. He only knows my work ethic.

I did have letters coming out of medical school, but that was 6 years ago, so I dont think those letters are worth much anymore. Am I wrong to assume that?

My commitment to the Navy is complete, and I will be applying for military positions as well as civilian positions to start as a PGY-1 next summer.

So in summary, I dont have many letters of recs from physicians, but plenty from non-physician commanding officers (all O-5 and up) and I dont have any research under my belt.

Other pertinent info: 228 Step 1; 218 Step 2.

I have no preference as to where in the country I would do my residency, I just want to fulfill my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Would I be better off taking some time off to work with some orthopods at the nearby hospital?

Am I screwed because I dont have any current info? Am I just being pessimistic about my chances?

Also, I had tried emailing a few PD a few months back with similar questions and if there was anything specific they wanted to see from a candidate like myself, and the ones that did respond did so with a very obvious cut and paste message saying they have no positions available and the match will open up in the summer, even though that had very little to do with what I was asking. Thanks for reading this long essay, and I appreciate your help.

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  • Benjamin701
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9 years 11 months ago - 9 years 11 months ago #24220 by Benjamin701
Bottom line is that there are plenty of programs that have taken military applicants who have completed their required military commitments and most (including us) have typically been happy with that decision. That being said, nobody has 100% success with ANY specific demographic so that goes without saying for military applicants as well.

Ultimately you will be competing with a group of applicants who typically scored higher on USLME examinations, have more recent mentors who will advocate on their behalf, and who likely have had many more opportuniteis for orthopaedic research and scholarly pursuits.

However, your experience can be invaluable and needs to be highlighted in your application packet and regardless of how remotely you've been stationed there's got to be some folks who can write incredibly strong letters of support on your behalf?! That will be important in the final anaylsis to have people over the past 6 years who can speak to your work ethic, diagnostic and therapeutic skills, etc...

Good luck to you and thanks so much for serving our country!


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