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Looking at my options for navy PA career...

In night classes working towards my bachelors, and working full time at the VA working with veterans with PTSD...treatment and research. Mainly working with combat trauma, some MST, ranging from WWII to OND.  All branches. Will be switching to full time school once current DOD funding is up in two years time.


Prior to that was back and forth from 29 Palms, doing PTSD screening and research, working with active duty marines over a 2 year period, pre and post deployment.


My school background is British (an English equivalent of pre-med/pre-vet) - sufficed for the DOD work but credits wouldn't transfer to Californian colleges so I'm having to redo a lot of work pretty fast.  Currently legal resident but will be applying for citizenship year before I graduate from bachelors.


Looking to get some feedback/advice as to path for trauma/critical care.  Fully flexible with stations stateside and overseas, would prefer working greenside and have no problem with concept of deployment.  I know right now with cut-backs and adjustments post OEF that positions are competetive; am planning on taking an EMT course this year, and getting as many clinical hours as possible in the next two years.


Anybody got any advice for an older female (26, will be 28/29 at graduation)?  Will my age hold me back? Is the VA psych experience likely to be worth anything towards the PA school application?  Any advice as to additional paths of work experience to pursue?


Will be going to speak to a recruiter soon, but want to get as much info from other sources as possible.


Thanks for reading, cheers in advance for any info.





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Unless you have prior operational experience in the military, you'll be unlikely to get a green side billet when you first start in the navy. Trauma/CC is a very long shot in the beginning as well, but it is possible to deploy with a shock trauma team. Unlikely but possible. You can volunteer for deployments, but those are actually harder to get now that we are in draw down. Even getting in the navy is harder because of draw down and budget constraints. HPSP is again on the chopping block this year so the only "scholarship" opportunity is HSCP. The rumor I heard from the recruiter about 2 years ago is only 5 direct accessions happen a year. Though working with vets would look good on your app to the military and likely PA school as well. Especially for the programs that favor vets in admissions. Your age will not be a problem.

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Thanks for the quick reply Oneal.


Although sure HSCP would be great to have, its not a case where the scholarship is the be-all end-all; if I don't get it I'll suck it up and pay through student/bank loans.  Thanks for the heads-up though.

Any suggestions on clinical experience?


Also when you say trauma/CC is a long shot, do you mean its more likely that I'll be expected to do primary care/family etc, or do you mean strictly in the case of deployment?


Cheers for the info.

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He means the latter on the trauma/CC.


Go HSCP, I just tried to do the direct assension route and it is tough. The took 4 DA this year and 16 HSCP.  Plus, it's a great deal. Contact the local medical officer recruiter as soon as you apply to PA school to figure out what you have to start getting together. 



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Definitely a better shot if you try for HSCP.


For HCE, obviously the higher the better like rt RN paramedic, but these take time so CNA EMT, ect are short cuts.


You'll start out in FP in a clinic. Deployment is variable depending on whether you volunteer, what's available, and what they need. Going straight to a shock trauma team for deployment I would believe unlikely. I know people now who have been trying to deploy and aren't because of fewer operations

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Thanks a lot for the feedback guys, greatly appreciated.


Current plan for bachelors major is nursing (working on my transfer credits right now), plus will be getting EMT cert within next two semesters.  Then will aim for as much clinical hours as possible. 


Can I ask what your majors were for bachelors?


Deployment wise I know it's been a lot more sporadic, but I would likely volunteer - I'm however not going to piss and moan if I don't get an opportunity. 

Heading to talk with a recruiter in 2 weeks, to get some more info.  PA school is still a few years away however, so things are gonna shift and change a lot in that time I'm sure.

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Just FYI, there's really no such thing as a trauma or critical care PA in the Navy.  Even with the Marines, your main focus will be primary care, with a healthy dose of occupational medicine thrown in (physicals, etc.).  Yeah, you'll be operational, and get deployed, so in a combat scenario there would be really no limit to what you might see in terms of trauma - but we're in a huge draw down, soI wouldn't expect that the upcoming years will look anything like the last 10.  PA's are not getting pulled out of clinics left and right to be sent to combat zones anymore.  The operational requirements are just not there.  Even most of the green side PA's I know (myself included) have deployed or will be deploying in support of "routine" non-combat operations these days.  Granted, there are always unknowns in this world that could necessitate unforeseen military action (which is why we train, after all) but in the current political climate I have to think that a boots-on-ground commitment of forces is somewhere around dead last on the list of potential military/diplomatic options available in a given scenario.


Secondly, as a direct accession PA, you will find yourself sent to an FP clinic for your first tour, and possibly beyond that.  Especially as a female, since there are far fewer operational billets available to them.  Even for prior-service PA's, the preference these days is for a non-operational first tour, although "needs of the Navy" sometimes overrides this.


None of this is meant to dissuade you.  I think being a PA in the Navy is an awesome job, and there's certainly no reason (that I know of) why you couldn't do it if you made it your goal.  However, the advice I would give anyone is that if you're not cool doing primary care, then stay out, for your own good.  That's where the Navy needs us, for the most part.  If you've got your heart set on full-time trauma or critical care work, I'm afraid the Navy is not the right place for that, and you should know that going in.

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