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Is it harder to be a physician or a soldier?

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  • Is it harder to be a physician or a soldier?

    Inpatient or high volume outpatient vs forward unit or support. Settling a debate. If military is deemed harder by this group, that would lend it more legitimacy.

  • #2
    I only work at the VA but knowing what those folks go through, I don't know how anyone would say being a physician is harder.

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    • #3
      I couldn't even pretend to know what absolute war is like.

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      • #4
        Theres a bunch of people i would love killing but i cant because id go to jail and lose my license. In the military I could.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by burritos View Post
          Inpatient or high volume outpatient vs forward unit or support. Settling a debate. If military is deemed harder by this group, that would lend it more legitimacy.
          Having done both at once, my answer is....

          a physician soldier.

          Seriously though, it is much harder to become a physician than a soldier. But the actual life of a physician is way easier. You make more money, you don't have to go to PT, you get to work indoors, nobody shoots at you etc.
          Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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          • #6
            Being an active marine in a combat zone with people shooting at you is way harder. As mentioned above harder to become a physician. I practice right next to a big base and get a lot of Med consults. The amount of crazy waste and sitting around and vague trainings is mind boggling (ie seen for heat exhaustion, Humvee broken so told to stand next to it until parts arrive which will be 2-3 days (get to go off duty but that’s literally their job for the day in between some exercise time).

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            • #7
              I’ve never gone to work where half of my friends and the people I work with get killed there that day, and then I go back to work at the same place the next day, so I’m going to go with the military having the edge on this one. That being said, I know they have a lot of downtime sometimes, and the food is free, so I guess that part is easy.

              I guess high volume outpatient can have its stresses too.

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              • #8
                The downtime would really wear on me. Having nothing to do isn't all it's cracked up to be. I remember back when Japanese companies couldn't lay people off for cultural reasons they would assign people to a room with no work in hopes that they would quit.

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                • #9
                  Soldier

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                  • #10
                    Comp, job, and location.
                    Never been a soldier or a physician. From afar, a soldier doesn’t have a lot of contract negotiations. Yeah, becoming a doc is harder but the work/life balance is better.
                    Can’t imagine physicians practicing under the military chain of command. The MBA/admin complaints don’t compare.
                    Soldier has to be a harder way to earn a living.
                    But it’s harder to become a doctor.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Craigslist View Post
                      Theres a bunch of people i would love killing but i cant because id go to jail and lose my license. In the military I could.
                      I don’t think being in the military gives you the power to kill the people you’re talking about.

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                      • #12
                        Apples and oranges. I agree with those who say it is generally harder to become a physician than be a soldier, as in a regular grunt who goes though a year or two of training before joining a unit. Docs require more education at a high level, for longer periods. And some of the demands in medical training is mentally rigorous and requires discipline for years. More correctly though we should compare docs as elites with elites as defined in the military. Even a basic special forces soldier goes through four or five years of training, and some of the early physical demands would weed out 95% of the population. The most common cause of death in the military? Training accidents! Or, in terms of specialized knowledge, how many of you could do the differential equations to model a nuclear reactor? Some I’m sure, but not all. Nuclear power training for officers requires that after the first training course post engineering degree. In terms of serving in one capacity or another, again I’d say it depends. Yes, combat is horrible, but it is also rare. Long deployments suck, but so does long term call. Both groups make life and death decisions, but I think on average more docs are doing this than soldiers. So, apples and oranges, but spare a thought for that soldier or sailor thousands of miles from home on a six month rotation making $30k (but great medical benefits).

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                        • #13
                          I'll be harsher than the others answerers: Who in their right mind thinks this answer is even a debate?

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                          • #14
                            Agree, apples to oranges so a silly thing to debate. Which is more difficult will also depend on the characteristics and personality of the person.

                            As a physician soldier I was 99% physician and 1% soldier. I had more than a few Marines tell me that they couldn’t do what we (the medical side) did. The feeling was mutual. I completely trusted them to take care of me just like they trusted me to take care of them.

                            The things that beat one down in both fields are likely not the things that the general public thinks beats them down.

                            I will also point out that nobody questions early retirement from soldiering. But almost everyone questions early retirement from medicine.

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                            • #15
                              What if that maximum pay for a physician was on par with say a sgt? IOW, psychologically, no walk away fatfire fu card in your back pocket. Yes the physical and danger issues don't change. But psychically, different ballgame.

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