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Signing my life away?

Discussion in 'NHSC | PHS | IHS' started by DPTinthemaking15, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. DPTinthemaking15

    DPTinthemaking15

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    Oct 21, 2016
    First and foremost, I am a lowly pre-med, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. A good friend of mine was talking about the need for PCP's in the near future (She is a pharmacy student and it was a discussion in their class). It was an interesting conversation and she issued some valid points that I never contemplated. Eventually, during the conversation, she assumed that I was going to become a pediatrician, because we both served at the same events during undergrad with youth and children. Also, we come from a SUPER small town (the max population is 2,000, if you count the cows lol). As crazy as it sounds, I don't see myself working with adults, but I know medical school may/will change that. As of right now, I picture myself pursuing pediatrics, but who knows what the future holds.

    To the point, she told me about a friend that received the HPSP scholarship. It seems like it is a nice setup if you decided primary care is your thing. But I am a little skeptical/afraid that if I were granted a scholarship, that during 3rd and 4th year rotations that I would regret that decision. I know you can wait until you finish residency and apply to the program, but the stipend every month is a huge factor in my pursuit to medical school. I am a first generation college student and my family was LUCKY to break 20k a year. So I know I will need all of the help I can get during/after medical school. Please don't misinterpret what I am saying. I wouldn't be applying for the scholarship because of the stipend, but I am just fearful of the "what if's" during my third and fourth year rotations. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you!

    Edit: I should have specified more on the "organizations/events." I served around 1,400 hours during undergrad with kids. This is why I am leaning towards pediatrics.
     
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  3. smq123

    smq123 Roy Lichtenstein SDN Advisor SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    What exactly is your question?

    Also, HPSP and the NHSC are two very separate scholarships. HPSP is military, NHSC is underserved.
     
    Mad Jack likes this.
  4. DPTinthemaking15

    DPTinthemaking15

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    Sorry! I meant NHSC (was looking at the wrong website when I was typing this). My question is this, is it worth it to apply for this scholarship as an early pre-med before rotations?

    Edit: Broke and a stipend would be nice lol.
     
  5. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    HPSP=pay in blood, sweat, and tears
    NHSC=pay in specialty choice but otherwise whatever
     
    DPTinthemaking15 likes this.
  6. smq123

    smq123 Roy Lichtenstein SDN Advisor SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    This is probably one of the hardest questions to answer, because it is so personal. No one can truly answer it for you.

    Yes, in some ways you're correct. If you enjoy underserved primary care, then this scholarship can be a gift. It is wonderful to not have that debt hanging over your head (although certainly loans do not prevent people from living enjoyable, enriching lives). Basically, the scholarship should allow you to do something that may not be financially feasible, which is to work in an underserved area as a primary care doctor.

    But many people do NOT enjoy primary care. And many more people would prefer not to work in an underserved population, which has a lot of challenges and tends to pay less than you would get in private practice. It limits your job choice, as you have to work in an area that meets the NHSC criteria.

    Every time someone asks this question on SDN, I struggle hard to answer it. The NHSC scholarship worked out well for me, but I realize that it doesn't work out well for everyone. I have worked in an NHSC site for 5 years now, and I have seen a lot of people come and go. Some people (not many, but certainly some) DO stay on, for years - they like their patients and they like primary care and they put up with the inconveniences. (For the record, the majority of these people seem to be pediatricians or pediatric NPs/PAs.) Some people find that they don't really enjoy primary care at all and leave to do a fellowship or work as a hospitalist or do urgent care. Some people find that while they like helping underserved patients, these patients are so challenging at times that they can't do it for the long term. And some people get fed up with the inconveniences that often come with underserved clinics - poor staffing, high patient volumes, etc.

    This is probably not at all helpful. The short answer is that no one can answer this for you.
     
    DPTinthemaking15 likes this.
  7. DPTinthemaking15

    DPTinthemaking15

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    Oct 21, 2016
    Haha thank you for that analogy. There was a video of an Orthopedic surgeon the other day talking about the HPSP and he sounded miserable. He explained that the next ten years was dedicated to the Air Force I believe.

    Thank you for the kind response. For some reason I have always gravitated towards primary care, mainly pediatric's and internal medicine, but I have always pushed myself to have as many options as possible. My entire undergrad career has been serving undeserved areas and these people break my heart, simply by seeing what they go through on a daily basis. But like you said, there may be a time where it becomes too much. I guess it is something that I will have to think and pray about it....
     

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