Dear editor.As a civilian physician working as a contractor for the military in the Washington, D.C., area, I would like to add a comment and kudos to the article "Busting Six Myths about Military Trained Health Care Professionals" by Drs. Hernandez and Riddles (March/April 2012 of PEJ PEJ Project for Excellence in Journalism
PEJ Peace, Earth and Justice
PEJ Project Engineer Junior ).
As a prior physician leader at a civilian hospital, I have observed how a schism between management and physicians can doom the hospital to failure. Civilian hospitals generally appoint or elect physicians to leadership positions who have been in the hospital for many years and not for their leadership skills.
In the past eight years I have had the pleasure of working as a obstetrician and gynecologist gynecologist /gy·ne·col·o·gist/ (-kol´ah-jist) a person skilled in gynecology.
A physician specializing in gynecology. on the staff of a major military medical center. Myths #1, #3, #4, and #6 from the article present distinct false notions from my perspective. Military physicians follow an organized chain of command that develops leadership skills through training and mentoring. They place the patient first, then the organization, and themselves last, just as the article suggests.
Myth #2 is "false" as I know of six military physicians in my specialty (or associated sub-specialties) that have been hired in the greater Washington, D.C., area, several of them already reaching "top doe" status according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. local published accolades, one being hired as the chair of the OB/GYN department.
Myth #5 may be perceived by active staff civilian physicians, but the trained military physician has developed leadership skills that are recognized by hospital administrators and medical staffs and allow them to assume leadership roles in community hospitals.
Teaching and leadership skills are learned beginning with medical student presentations at morning report and responsibility at rounds and then expanded with resident physicians as they mentor their fellow residents and medical students and provide presentations at weekly "academics." Moving through the years of training, there is a progression of rank that requires physicians to provide leadership within their duty or stations or they will not progress to higher military positions.
There is no doubt in my mind that if a medical practice, medical clinic, hospital, or hospital system hires a military physician with 20-30 years of experience, they will benefit from that choice. The military physician will "inspire and lead," and the program will flourish under their tenure.
Edward G. Koch, MD, FACOG FACOG Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is to be a tri-service military medical center located on the Bethesda, Maryland campus of the present National Naval Medical Center by September 2011. at Bethesda Bethesda, Maryland 20889