Zero to Sixty: From Residency to the War Zone
In 2005, I graduated from my Psychiatry/Family Practice residency program and shortly thereafter found myself on a plane headed to a combat zone in Iraq. This account highlights key lessons learned during those first crucial months in the war zone including establishing rapport and respect with soldiers, not being limited by a physical clinic, prudent risk taking, and the realization that you are held to a higher standard. My unanticipated military journey began in 1991. I was a junior in high school who was looking at numerous college opportunities with a plan to do premedical studies and become a physician. At that time, I planned to attend an accelerated medical program and then find a pediatric residency training program near my hometown. I expected that after completing my training, I would return to the area that I grew up in the Ohio River Valley near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and become a small town doctor. However, during that year of high school something life changing occurred when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
KeywordsMilitary psychiatry Division psychiatrist Deployment health Psychiatry in wartime Iraq war deployment Combat operational stress control
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