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navymd

Canadian Armed Forces Officer starting medical school this year: Ask Me Anything!

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Hi everyone,

I am a Reservist Officer in the military for 10 years now and will be starting at Dalhousie medical school. Being in the Canadian military has given me the poise and professionalism to not only be admitted into medicine but hopefully become a leader in the medical field. The pm101 community has been tremendously helpful for my admission and it's time to give back to this amazing online community.

If you're wondering about enrolling during undergrad as a part-time & full-time summer job or just curious how the military can support your medical career, AMA :)

 

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3 hours ago, navymd said:

Being in the Canadian military has given me the poise and professionalism to not only be admitted into medicine but hopefully become a leader in the medical field.

This may sound harsh, but truly I don't mean it as a criticism. Why are you putting so much emphasis on your partime job as a reservist and not on whatever full-time career you've had for the past 6 (?) years? Offhand I would have thought that would have had more of a positive effect than your time as a reservist, was there something really exceptional that you got out of the military?

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8 minutes ago, ballsortahard said:

 

This may sound harsh, but truly I don't mean it as a criticism. Why are you putting so much emphasis on your partime job as a reservist and not on whatever full-time career you've had for the past 6 (?) years? Offhand I would have thought that would have had more of a positive effect than your time as a reservist, was there something really exceptional that you got out of the military?

No offense taken! Feedback is always appreciated :)

The Reserves offers part AND full time employment that caters to your availability. In that sense, my "full time" career was being an undergraduate and graduate student while working for the military during school. Whenever I had any breaks in school, I'd work full time for the military whether it was for humanitarian efforts, search and rescue, drug interdiction, community outreach, etc. I think these experiences compounded with the fact that they offered great compensation enabled me to get where I am today. I come from a low-income family and am a first-generation university student so the Canadian Armed Forces helped to make ends meet for me and my family.

As well, I've received some questions in my inbox regarding whether committing to becoming a "military doctor" would help with admissions; yes and no. There are currently two streams for enrollment as a Medical Officer (MO) in the military. Medical Officer Training Plan (MOTP) and Military Medical Training Training Program (MMTP) are the two entry schemes. MOTP requires you to be admitted on your own merit (like any other civilian) and then applying and gaining entry. There's no advantage or "leg up" in applying through this program BUT they do offer great incentives if you apply and are accepted into MOTP (e.g. paid education, salary, guaranteed employment, etc). The MMTP is meant for Regular Force members who are already serving and then wish to become an MO and this may confer some "advantage" for entry into a medical school in Canada. However, the MMTP has internal competition where you will be competing for entry with other Regular Force members.

Hope that helps!

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Thanks for this thread. I am starting medical school in the fall and have always been curious about joining the military. A few questions:

1) Is it possible to join as a reservist while doing medical school on the side? What is the commitment/benefits of doing so?

2) After finishing medical school I have heard you have to do a FM residency, which is something I’m not very interested in. Is there a way to specialize right away while remaining apart of the military?

3) What are the requirements for maintaining reservist status in the military? (time commitment during school year/summers, ability to travel freely, etc.)

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5 minutes ago, user123456 said:

Thanks for this thread. I am starting medical school in the fall and have always been curious about joining the military. A few questions:

1) Is it possible to join as a reservist while doing medical school on the side? What is the commitment/benefits of doing so?

2) After finishing medical school I have heard you have to do a FM residency, which is something I’m not very interested in. Is there a way to specialize right away while remaining apart of the military?

3) What are the requirements for maintaining reservist status in the military? (time commitment during school year/summers, ability to travel freely, etc.)

Hello! It's my pleasure to make the info clear and accessible :)

  1. Yes. I'll be a Reservist while studying at Dalhousie this year. Commitment varies at which point of your military career you're at. Generally, it's coming into a Reserve unit once a week (~3h) and one full day (6h) a month. This can be flexible based on your personal commitments (e.g. can ask for a week or two off if you've got a midterm coming up).
  2. That is correct. All Medical Officers (MOs) need to do family medicine once they graduate but this is presuming you are enrolled in the MOTP program. I am not in the MOTP program but did seriously consider it. Having to do family medicine was a big consideration and I'm not certain yet.
  3. The minimum requirement during the academic school year is one half day (3h) per month. But, your chain of command will need some rationale as to why you cannot commit more. As for members who are fully qualified, they can go under ED&T (excused drill & training) where they can ask for time off from their Commanding Officer for something like reasonable like volunteering abroad or a semester exchange. This is typically used for fully qualified members who have completed all their training.

One last point is that your occupation in the military doesn't need to be as an MO. You can be a medical technician, infanteer, cook, intelligence officer, etc. while pursuing medicine. I'm a Naval Warfare Officer by occupation in the navy and am happy with how my Reserve career has turned out!

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1 hour ago, navymd said:

Hello! It's my pleasure to make the info clear and accessible :)

  1. Yes. I'll be a Reservist while studying at Dalhousie this year. Commitment varies at which point of your military career you're at. Generally, it's coming into a Reserve unit once a week (~3h) and one full day (6h) a month. This can be flexible based on your personal commitments (e.g. can ask for a week or two off if you've got a midterm coming up).
  2. That is correct. All Medical Officers (MOs) need to do family medicine once they graduate but this is presuming you are enrolled in the MOTP program. I am not in the MOTP program but did seriously consider it. Having to do family medicine was a big consideration and I'm not certain yet.
  3. The minimum requirement during the academic school year is one half day (3h) per month. But, your chain of command will need some rationale as to why you cannot commit more. As for members who are fully qualified, they can go under ED&T (excused drill & training) where they can ask for time off from their Commanding Officer for something like reasonable like volunteering abroad or a semester exchange. This is typically used for fully qualified members who have completed all their training.

One last point is that your occupation in the military doesn't need to be as an MO. You can be a medical technician, infanteer, cook, intelligence officer, etc. while pursuing medicine. I'm a Naval Warfare Officer by occupation in the navy and am happy with how my Reserve career has turned out!

Super insightful, you mention working so is this a paid employment then or purely volunteering? As well what exactly do you do during the 3hr weekly time-ons?

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49 minutes ago, user123456 said:

Super insightful, you mention working so is this a paid employment then or purely volunteering? As well what exactly do you do during the 3hr weekly time-ons?

All work is paid fairly. There are voluntary events but this would be things like CAF appreciation events which are fun to begin with (blue Jays or raptors games). Weekly parade nights are dedicated towards getting or delivering training. I taught naval officers for the past couple years and it's been fun and rewarding to say the least. Trainees will go to classes and lectures or do hands on training. Boatswain will take boats out and sail around lake Ontario, etc. There's also physical training every so often with sports or fitness training. 

Being in the reserves also means you can deploy domestically (think fires and floods in BC, QC) or internationally. It is still the military so I need to emphasize that discipline and deportment are still critical. 

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I'm not in medical school yet but have been exploring options in regards to military medical training. The benefits that come with the Medical Officer Training Plan are very attractive in terms of the financial support as well as the variety of training opportunities that come with it. What was your rationale for not joining the program if you don't mind answering? I'm on the fence because of the commitment required post medical school. From what I've gathered, there is at least a 4 year commitment requirement with the military after medical school, do you know whether its more then that?

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As a reservist, is there a certain number of years that I have to commit before I am eligible to quit? I'm thinking of applying to be reservist, for the discipline and service, but same time, if things come up after medical school graduation (still not in med school, but should be at this point in 5-6 years), I can back out. 

Also you said the minimum requirement during the school year is one 3hr day per month. Is that always guaranteed, lets say I wanted to do that for 6-7 years, or will it depend on the discretion of the chain of command? 

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On 8/7/2019 at 4:24 PM, navymd said:

Hi everyone,

I am a Reservist Officer in the military for 10 years now and will be starting at Dalhousie medical school. Being in the Canadian military has given me the poise and professionalism to not only be admitted into medicine but hopefully become a leader in the medical field. The pm101 community has been tremendously helpful for my admission and it's time to give back to this amazing online community.

If you're wondering about enrolling during undergrad as a part-time & full-time summer job or just curious how the military can support your medical career, AMA :)

 

When you applied, did you apply through one of those streams and did you get special consideration (like affirmative action programs for black/indigenous people)? Or did you still need to get in by your own merits?

Sorry if that's poorly worded, I dont mean any offense to anyone, I think those programs are great and thank you for serving!

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33 minutes ago, dryorku said:

When you applied, did you apply through one of those streams and did you get special consideration (like affirmative action programs for black/indigenous people)? Or did you still need to get in by your own merits?

Sorry if that's poorly worded, I dont mean any offense to anyone, I think those programs are great and thank you for serving!

Hey none taken. I got in through years of rejections and finally getting one interview at Dalhousie. I'm quite open book and want to let others know that if this is something you want to pursue, then it's entirely possible given the right work ethic and humility in improving each cycle. 

I had to retake the mcat numerous times and upgrade my undergrad GPA. I didn't confer any special programs or considerations. I think how the military helped the most in my endeavours was offering me flexibility in employment, a $2000 bursary per year, and employment that I was passionate about. It also gave me the exposure to all of Canada and other countries through deployments. And now, I'm hoping all this training and operational experience translates into medical school and practice! 

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5 hours ago, Fanofmed said:

I'm not in medical school yet but have been exploring options in regards to military medical training. The benefits that come with the Medical Officer Training Plan are very attractive in terms of the financial support as well as the variety of training opportunities that come with it. What was your rationale for not joining the program if you don't mind answering? I'm on the fence because of the commitment required post medical school. From what I've gathered, there is at least a 4 year commitment requirement with the military after medical school, do you know whether its more then that?

I think the straw that broke the camel's back for me was the lock into family medicine which I'm uncertain about. The benefits and advantages are great! Then, there was a family component where I have deep roots in my home city. I'd have to up root them to be in the MOTP. But, if it's right for you, go for it! Tons of opportunities and a great pension for MOs. 

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17 minutes ago, YesIcan55 said:

just curious what attempt did you get accepted into med? 4th, 5th, etc?

Ha even if did take that long - I know a ton of very qualified candidates the applied in that range of attempts prior to getting in. Some are top surgeons now. 

but some people chose this route from the get go - not surprising people can come at medicine from a variety of pathways. 

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4 hours ago, Medase said:

As a reservist, is there a certain number of years that I have to commit before I am eligible to quit? I'm thinking of applying to be reservist, for the discipline and service, but same time, if things come up after medical school graduation (still not in med school, but should be at this point in 5-6 years), I can back out. 

Also you said the minimum requirement during the school year is one 3hr day per month. Is that always guaranteed, lets say I wanted to do that for 6-7 years, or will it depend on the discretion of the chain of command? 

No minimum to commitment of years once you enroll. Life and priorities can change any day. Quitting or voluntarily releasing, as we call it, is ok and not frowned upon (at least it shouldn't be!). 

Generally the expectation is 3h per week. That minimum would be up to your chain of command but that's the least you need to commit weekly. If you're already aiming to do the least amount possible then maybe you're too busy or would rather spend your time on something that you prioritize higher. It's not for everyone and you get what you put into it!

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On 8/8/2019 at 4:25 PM, rmorelan said:

Ha even if did take that long - I know a ton of very qualified candidates the applied in that range of attempts prior to getting in. Some are top surgeons now. 

but some people chose this route from the get go - not surprising people can come at medicine from a variety of pathways. 

-

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4 minutes ago, YesIcan55 said:

wasn't asking in a demeaning way, this is personally my 5th attempt lol gives me hope when I find other people in my position 

wasn't trying to "shoot anyone down" either - I just always try to make it clear when I can that repeat attempts doesn't imply a bad applicant :)

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18 minutes ago, YesIcan55 said:

wasn't asking in a demeaning way, this is personally my 5th attempt lol gives me hope when I find other people in my position 

I got both your intents. No worries! This is my fourth. 

 

*edit: it WAS my fourth, admitted now and wishing you the best in your 5th attempt! 

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On 8/8/2019 at 6:00 PM, navymd said:

Hey none taken. I got in through years of rejections and finally getting one interview at Dalhousie. I'm quite open book and want to let others know that if this is something you want to pursue, then it's entirely possible given the right work ethic and humility in improving each cycle. 

I had to retake the mcat numerous times and upgrade my undergrad GPA. I didn't confer any special programs or considerations. I think how the military helped the most in my endeavours was offering me flexibility in employment, a $2000 bursary per year, and employment that I was passionate about. It also gave me the exposure to all of Canada and other countries through deployments. And now, I'm hoping all this training and operational experience translates into medical school and practice! 

Thanks for answering. That's interesting.

So, if being in the reserves doesn't make you eligible for the military streams that Med schools offer, what exactly makes you eligible for those streams?

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2 hours ago, dryorku said:

Thanks for answering. That's interesting.

So, if being in the reserves doesn't make you eligible for the military streams that Med schools offer, what exactly makes you eligible for those streams?

Mil nurse has entered the chat. 

@Mil nurse Could you let us know more about MMTP? I’m working with a med tech and some PAs and am curious as well :) 

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2 hours ago, navymd said:

Mil nurse has entered the chat. 

@Mil nurse Could you let us know more about MMTP? I’m working with a med tech and some PAs and am curious as well :) 

Yes for sure! Well all I know is that Queen’s is one of the University that has reserve seats and they took 8 military last year and arr planning on the same number if not more for this upcoming year. 

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