Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Algorithmic Medicine Pushing the Doctors Decisions to the Side?

Pretty soon the Doctor will be spending more time reordering medications and procedures and bypassing the establishments algorithm in order to provide the basic medical care that he trained so hard to provide. Or we could just do away with the MD's and hire PA's and NP's. They, along with the newly mandated algorithm, should be enough to handle health care of the future!

Read Here

Test Your Derm Skills


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reasons why medical students burn out and become depressed

Here again, I wish not to push the negative aspects of medical training, I only hope to illustrate a reality. Even as a prior PJ who served in combat, a prior firefighter and civilian paramedic who has spent years dealing with adversity. Medical school still brings a different kind of adversity to the table. It is one that can't be avoided. Med school is tiring and most definitely causes apathy, burn out and overall dread of internship. Read the following: Click here

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dr. Wes: Top Ten Reasons to Be a Doctor

"With all the negative press, the pay cuts, the uncertainty of health care reform, I am approached by people who secretly whisper in my ear, 'Would you have your child go into medicine?'"

Click here to read 'Dr. Wes: Top Ten Reasons to Be a Doctor':

This is a good piece from a doctor who loves his life...and occupation.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pre Med / Pre CRO Inquiries


I saw your blog about the transition from pararescue to medical school, and it is very useful. However, I am not in the military yet, but I am interested in becoming a pararescueman/combat rescue officer. My questions are: could I possibly attend college, and step right into medical school, and then become a combat rescue officer? Or, would it be better to join the reserves as an enlistee after my medical school is complete? Or, could the Air Force possibly fund my med school while i am serving as a combat rescue officer, or enlisted pararescueman? Preferably, I would like to become an officer, but I am just not sure what the best option would be,concerning med school and pararescue.

Thank you.


I'm not a MD (yet) nor am I a CRO but I am a prior PJ and I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

1) Yes, you could go to college, go to med school and become a CRO after. However, you would still need to enlist in the Air Force (either Active, Guard or Reserve) and complete the pre-requisites for selection school (this is something we call phase 2 and from what I'm told it's equally as difficult as selection school which you will also need to complete after phase 2). All in all, the aforementioned road would most likely take you well over 12 years to complete so if you choose to go down it be sure you're in it to win it.

2) As for joining the reserves after medical school: this is something you'd have to weigh out (i.e. where you live at the time, whether you still want to be a CRO at the time, what experiences/contacts you've had/made over the years that could influence your decision at the time). It's not a question of what's better but rather what's best for you.

3) As for the Air Force funding your medical school: this is something that current MD's might be able to better answer but I'll give you what little I know. Having medical school paid for is something that's both feasible and smart. I know a current Air Force MD that attended the Air Force Academy for his undergraduate degree, became an officer, got in to Northwestern medical school and had it all paid for by big blue. Note he owed the country some time after his med school was completed. He did not become a CRO but if that's something you want and you have the drive for, I'm sure you could do it. I'm not spun up on being a MD and at the same time being a CRO in the Air Force but I do believe there are a few individuals out there right now that hold both of those titles and are working to create an entirely new AFSC (job code) in the Air Force. Hopefully, they have a minute to help a brother out but hang in there as these men are super busy, respectfully.

Personally, I enlisted straight into the active Air Force from high school and went into Pararescue. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. But I didn't have too many options at that point in time. Consider all of your current options and talk to as many (respected) people as you can and gather advice. After you reflect on that advice, make your own educated decision. It sounds as if you really want to be an officer - so try to talk with some officers (specifically CROs). I'm glad you found our blogsite - hopefully you receive some solid info from the dudes apart of it. You're already on the right path asking questions. Hopefully, my response helps some. We need to take time and help out our future warriors!

Hoo ya,

Questions regarding PJ program and then applying to medical school


I had a few questions regarding the PJ program. I am interested in joining the Air National Guard (possibly NY). I currently have a B.S. in pre medicine and eventually would like to apply to medical school. Please contact me if at all possible.

Thank you,

How possible is it to attend medical school while you are a PJ?

I was envisioning using the Air Force to help pay for medical school; and am in self-training to apply to try out for PJ on a six year contract. How possible is it to attend medical school while you are a PJ? Has it been done? Would there be time?


First off, congratulations on planning ahead. Becoming a PJ is a huge commitment and the follow on commitment to becoming a doctor is even more challenging!

Keep in mind that no one makes it through Pararescue unless you truly want to be there. My class started with 87 dudes and 2.5 years later, I graduated a class of 8. What I am trying to say is: make sure you are doing it for the right reasons...not just paying for college.

It is absolutely impossible to attend medical school while an active duty PJ. I will tell you about my path as others have taken similar ones. I enlisted in 1999 into maintenance. I went to school part-time at night and worked my Air Force job. I cross trained to PJ and continued to work and also go to school. Most of my classes were online. The few I took in residence were very hard as I had a 50% attendance rating due to being TDY so often. I went to school part-time during all three of my active duty deployments and all of my TDY's. (You are on the road well over 6-8 months per year!) It was extremely difficult, but it can be done. Now keep in mind that I earned my BS in business management/computers so it was possible to go half online, half traditional. This would be very difficult if I had to take science courses with associated labs while a full-time PJ. I have an active duty PJ buddy of mine who is taking science course towards med school but he is an instructor and doesn't go TDY or deploy. It is possible for him to take night classes. However, when he goes to medical school, he is either going to have to join the reserves and be a part-timer or get out completely.

I separated active duty in 2009, became a part-timer, and in 23 months took all my science prerequisite course work (and then some), took my MCAT, applied, interviewed, and was accepted. It was challenging to do all this as a part-time PJ as sometimes I would go a few months without working. I am working as a full-time PJ this summer to fulfill my annual obligations but as soon as medical school starts this August, I will be a ghost at the unit until Winter break.

Hope this clarifies your question. Take care.


Pre Med and MCAT resource

Khan Academy was a staple of both my pre-med study and MCAT review. Even though I completed my BS in business management/computer information systems while on active duty, it had been years since I had completed any traditional science courses. I remember sitting in the general chemistry lecture hall as a 29 year old thinking, "these kids just finished high school and this is all fresh for them. I have some catching up to do!" That is where Khan Academy came in. The videos are fantastic at breaking down the basics. There are over 2,000 but I mainly focused on the biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry videos. Hope this helps anyone who is in their pre-med, pre-PA, or pre-nursing curriculum.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Useful Website for MCAT Prep

Anybody that has studied for the MCAT knows what I'm talking about. I'm not but a month into studying for this test and I already feel as though I'm getting dominated on a daily basis. I wake up, study subjects (that I have no wish to study) all day, rinse, and repeat. I'm quickly finding out that this exam is more about mastering the standardized-game-of-a-test than it is mastering the material. While I've been taking grenades in the trenches I've come across a website that has been somewhat helpful in attacking material from a different point of view. Since I'm not taking a traditional MCAT prep course I've used the website below to watch Gen Chem/Physics/O Chem videos. You can purchase a membership for a relatively cheap price and it includes access to additional practice problems. Anybody out there prepping for the MCAT may find the website useful.

Not to bring all the future docs down but here is another downer but true piece

This film is called the Vanishing Oath. It was done by a physician and it highlights the era we are in. We need to do something to stop the insurance companies and the government from ruining medicine! This clip is a small part of the film and not the best clip they could have chosen. I recommend watching the whole thing.
Video here

The good ole days of medicine

Health care is changing and the more I learn about the direction its going the more I wish I was born 20 years earlier: Read here

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dirt Medicine Podcasts

Pete Anderson, MD, is a board certified emergency medicine physician who has been assigned to SOF forward surgical teams, Critical Care Evacuation Teams, and now he works with PJ's. This website was just created in April and it looks like it will be a valuable resource for operators. Check out the podcasts in the link below. I am going to try to make comms with Dr. Anderson and will also link his page to our blog under "General Resources".