What is it really like being a GP in the Army?

#1
Hi,

I'm a medical student and thinking about joining the Army as a GP when I qualify, tho I have a few questions about what it is like and I'm hoping someone can give me some advice please.

I've had all the recruitment gubbins through to read which tells you how wonderful the Army life is etc and spoken to the people at RAMC recruiting, however what I'd really like to know is more about the real day to day life of an Army GP.

Also, is it possible to give a rough estimate how much you are away from home - being posted somewhere isn't so much of an issue if the family could come with, it's more the places they can't go that I am wondering about. I'd also be interested to hear from any women who have civvy other halves & how they find it.

Thanks
Claire
 
#2
Hello Claire

I've PM'd you

DMTW (MRCGP FRCPsych)
 
#5
Just a bit of advice; when you are in, you will be saluted and addressed as "Sir". Don't let this go to your head. If you end up in a field unit, just remember that the lads can make things just as awkward for you, as you can for them. We had a MO at our unit who was great with us, we would have done anything for him. He made the odd mistake on exercise, but no-one said anything. But, the MO before him was full of himself. No-one would help him with anything (unless ordered). On the whole though, you'll have a nice cushy life.
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#7
ExMedic said:
Just a bit of advice; when you are in, you will be saluted and addressed as "Sir". Don't let this go to your head. If you end up in a field unit, just remember that the lads can make things just as awkward for you, as you can for them. We had a MO at our unit who was great with us, we would have done anything for him. He made the odd mistake on exercise, but no-one said anything. But, the MO before him was full of himself. No-one would help him with anything (unless ordered). On the whole though, you'll have a nice cushy life.
Ex Medic
I am not medically qualified but I reckon that someone called Claire may, and I say may, actually be addressed as Ma'am. You may know something I don't but that's the way it normally goes.

Claire
The serious reply is that Army service is a superbly rewarding experience with many challenges. You get to play sport and go on free holidays (well adventure training). You are likely to meet real characters, see many unusual things and unfortunately, this currently includes lots of damaged young people who need fixing by someone thick skinned, but caring and motivated.

The less serious reply is that in the Army you can be an irresponsible, recidivist, kleptomaniac, alcoholic and be repeatedly promoted for behaviour that would have you sectioned in civvie street. Also, and this is an added bonus for attractive female doctors, numerous soldiers will visit you each day just to show you their penises claiming spurious ailments. This always happens to the pretty ones. If this doesn't happen, sadly you are a trout. If I were you I would check some of the threads in the Naafi Bar such as "How bone is your missus". If you find it funny, you are probably right for the Army. The fact that you are on ARRSE is a good sign.

Get yourself on attachment to a unit in Germany and you will make up your mind within days.

Mr_Logic
 
#8
BFG 9000 said:
ExMedic said:
Just a bit of advice; when you are in, you will be saluted and addressed as "Sir".
You call chicks 'Sir'? is that why you're an Ex medic?
1. Clair, please accept my most humble appologies (Ma'am). Didn't mean to insult you.
2. No, that is not the reason I'm an ex medic, the reason is that I now earn nearly 35k for a 35hr 4day week (nearly as much as a doctor).

But seriously, you will love it in the army, it's a great life. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
 
#10
Cheers for the replies people! Can safely say that I find 99.9% of the stuff I read on here hillarious - esp that in the Naffi bar so no worries on that front!

The army GP life sounds great - there are still some doubts stopping me from rushing off to sign my life away but I suppose that is pretty normal as it is quite a big decision after all
 
#11
quote="ExMedic"]quote]

No, that is not the reason I'm an ex medic, the reason is that I now earn nearly 35k for a 35hr 4day week (nearly as much as a doctor).

[/quote]

Yeah I can see why you're earning so much, numbers in Ipswich are low, the demand must be huge eh?
 
#13
ExMedic said:
BFG 9000 said:
ExMedic said:
Just a bit of advice; when you are in, you will be saluted and addressed as "Sir".
You call chicks 'Sir'? is that why you're an Ex medic?
1. Clair, please accept my most humble appologies (Ma'am). Didn't mean to insult you.
2. No, that is not the reason I'm an ex medic, the reason is that I now earn nearly 35k for a 35hr 4day week (nearly as much as a doctor).

But seriously, you will love it in the army, it's a great life. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
So the title of ex-medic is actually linked to how much you command in salary 8O

As for 35K a year - have a look on the NHS payscale website, you'll some junior Medics are on far less than that.

As for the orig. poster - I would say go for it, I served as a soldier and had a whale of a time.

Infact, it's a shame we appear to be the only Army in the world who doesn't have serving clinical psychologists, otherwise I would re-join when I eventually leave uni.
 
#14
Fallschirmjager said:
If i were a GP i know i'd rather be treating soldiers than druggies, alchoholics, chavs and people who generally stink of p1ss.
Seconded. I'd much rather treat young, fit, motivated people rather than moaning spongers or decrepit incurable geriatrics.
I'm in the same boat as Claire here and I'm looking to join up. I know it isn't the same but I've been in the UOTC for 2 years and have enjoyed it a lot; ARRSE has been very helpful - I gave my first skiffing last weekend! Like I said, I know its not the same but its something that the recruiters like to see and it gives something of a taste of military life [UOTC that is, not skiffing...]
My application has been delayed a little bit by needing to get my eyes fixed (Epi-LASIK at Moorfields Eye Hospital) but it'll all get sorted out soon.
The main worry that I have about joining is the welfare of a hypothetical spouse. If I were to get married, what sort of life would my wife have? If I get moved around every two years, won't it be hard for her to hold down jobs if she wants to work? Or being away from her friends and having to make new ones each time? And yes, I know the simple answer is 'don't get married' but other than that? I think that this is the main advantage that the Navy has over the Army, although there are probably much longer separations in the Navy at least your partner is likely to stay in the same place while you are away.
Apologies for barging in on your thread Claire :)
 
#15
Hi Carcass! Apologies for barging in accepted!! lol

That is also a worry of mine, the whole spouse thing - I have a long term other half who isnt' so keen on the idea of being an Army husband - I've tried selling it to him but it is a real worry of ours. The don't get maried thing isn't really a realistic option I don't think tho it will be suggested by some no doubt. I'm personally of the opinion that if i join then they would obv have to make some sacrifices along the way and it would make things hard at times, tho at the same time when in civvy street would they potentially get the opportunity for the variety that the millitary life could provide. Also, it's a bit of swings & roundabouts - we'd have to do more or less what was dictated by my job for the time I was in, but after then they get to call the shots more if that makes sense. It's a difficult situation really.......
 
#16
I don't know how true this is for RMOs, but from what I've seen, an Army Dr's life is a lot more stable than most squaddies. For F1/2 you'll be at an MDHU, the following couple of years are when you move around a lot for your training and general duties / aRMO, then you're back doing your specialist training. I think there is quite a bit of flexibility in who you join, where you train etc, so compared to your average Doc who has to move around for their training anyway, there's probably not a huge amount of difference. You can be called away to hot and sandy places, but that's usually only a 3month tour if you're in a training post, and I don't suppose your spouse would want to come with you there anyway.

I think a GP would probably travel around more, to keep with the regt, but if you're proactive and speak to the right people, you'd probably have a decent chance of getting a regiment near to where you're based.
Why don't you get in touch with your nearest regt and ask to have a chat with one of their RMOs? I did that when preparing for my board, and found them really friendly and helpful, and most said I could come down to the regt and shadow them if I wanted.

I think a really important thing if you're thinking of a career is to directly approach a number of people doing the job you want to do, at different stages of their career. You've nothing to lose (at worst they can tell you to fk off ehy?!) but a lot to gain - networking stands for a lot, especially in the army.

Best of luck!
 
#17
Thanks Wyvern - really handy advice there! I wasn't sure what the deal would be with approaching RMOs or similar but think I may giv it a whirl now - like you say.....what's the worst they can say :)
 
#18
No worries! I was wanting to speak to ones from regiments I was interested in serving with, I just rang or emailed the regtl recruiting team, they pass it on down the line, and eventually I ended up speaking to a Doc! Found everyone to be really helpful.
Also, if you get in touch with someone at RAMC recruiting, they should be able to put you in touch with some serving MOs. Let me know if you need contacts and I'll PM you.
 
#20
Infact, it's a shame we appear to be the only Army in the world who doesn't have serving clinical psychologists, otherwise I would re-join when I eventually leave uni.[/quote]

combat stress are advertising for clinical psychologists on their website
 

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