leadership

Chair, Emergency Department, NMC Portsmouth – O4-O6

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The Department Head/Academic Chair position is available in the Emergency Department at NMC Portsmouth. The details are in this document:

NMCP ED Chair Announcement

Hot Fill – O6 Deputy to N17 (21st Century Sailor Office)

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This is an opportunity for a CAPT/CAPT(s) to step outside the usual Navy Medicine lifelines and have a major impact on the Navy. OPNAV N17 (this would be CNO staff) is looking for a Deputy for RDML Sobeck, Director of the 21st Century Sailor program.

This is very short fuse, anyone who is interested (and in their PCS window) should reach out to CDR Melissa Austin at BUMED (contact is in the global) ASAP.

NMCSD Director of Medical Services Position – O5/O6

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All of the details of this position are in this document, with applications due 25 OCT 2019:

NMCSD DMS Announcement

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Normal Promotion Timeline and the Jobs/Achievements That Get You There

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The typical career progression for a Medical Corps officer if promoted on time (the first time they are in-zone) is:

  • 5 years – selected for promotion to LCDR
  • 6 years – promoted to LCDR
  • 11 years – selected for promotion to CDR
  • 12 years – promoted to CDR
  • 17 years – selected for promotion to CAPT
  • 18 years – promoted to CAPT

For example, I’m a 15 year CDR, so I’ll be in-zone in 2 years at year 17.  If I’m selected the first time I’m in-zone, I’ll be promoted to CAPT in year 18. (This just happened!)

There are 5 general career paths in the Navy that lead to promotion, and I firmly believe that all can lead to promotion to CAPT.  They are:

  • Academic
  • Administrative
  • Clinical
  • Operational
  • Research

One of my favorite things about the Navy is that you don’t have to stay within the same career path as you progress in your career.  I have happily jumped around and managed to promote to LCDR and CDR on time.  During my first tour at USNH Okinawa, I was largely clinical.  After that I was academic but transitioned to more of an administrative role, culminating with my time as a Detailer at PERS.  In my current role as Commander of a Joint Medical Group and Joint Task Force Surgeon, I’m both administrative and operational.  My next tour will return me to an academic setting where I hope to score a major administrative role (I became the Director for Healthcare Business) at the command but once again “be academic.”

As you progress down your chosen career path, one of the major determinants of whether you will promote is whether you get the jobs that will allow you to progress to the next rank.  The following lists include many, but certainly not all, of the collateral duties, positions, and achievements you should strive for once you reach each rank.  If you can get some of these positions and do well in them, it should allow you to break out on your FITREPs and increase the chances you will promote.  Of note, in each rank appropriate list there are positions from all 5 general career paths.

LTs or LCDRs looking to promote should focus on achieving these milestones or positions:

  • Getting board certified, which is pretty much a requirement to promote
  • Completing a fellowship, but trying to avoid being a fellow in the years right before they are in zone so that the non-observed FITREPs you often get don’t hurt your chances at promotion
  • Completing a deployment, but again trying to avoid doing it right before you are in zone due to the small competitive groups you often get on your FITREPs
  • Assistant/Associate Residency Director
  • Department Head (DH) is a small/medium military treatment facility (MTF)
  • Assistant Professor at USUHS, which is very easy to get if you just apply.  See my promo prep document for the info on how to do this.
  • Publishing professional publications
  • Research, preferably defense-related
  • Departmental collateral duties
  • Hospital committee member or chair
  • Executive Committee of the Medical Staff (ECOMS) member
  • Civilian leadership positions, like in your specialty society’s state chapter, for example
  • Senior Medical Officer (SMO) or Medical Director in your department at a large MTF

CDRs looking to promote should focus on:

  • Residency Director
  • DH of your department in a large MTF
  • Associate Professor at USUHS
  • Director position (Director of Medical Services, Director of Clinical Support Services, etc.)
  • Officer-in-Charge of a clinic
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Major committee chair
  • ECOMS member, Vice-President/President-Elect, or President
  • Senior operational leadership position
    • Division Surgeon
    • Group Surgeon
    • Wing Surgeon
    • Commander, Amphibious Task Force (CATF) Surgeon
    • SMO on an amphibious platform
  • Staff position at BUMED
  • Specialty leader
  • Deployment requiring an O-5 or higher
  • Detailer

As a LT or LCDR, I was able to get board certified, complete a fellowship at the right time, deploy twice, become an Assistant Professor at USUHS, publish numerous publications, do some research, obtain numerous departmental collateral duties, chair a hospital committee and be an ECOMS member at USNH Okinawa, become a SMO in the Navy’s largest emergency department, be an Associate Director at a large MTF, and hold numerous civilian leadership positions.

As a CDR so far I have promoted to Associate Professor, been a major committee chair and member of ECOMS, and served a tour as a Detailer.  Currently I’m a specialty leader and am deployed in a senior operational role that required a CDR or CAPT.

All of this took a lot of work, but made it easy for my leadership to fight for and justify early promote (EP) FITREPs that allowed me to promote to LCDR and CDR on time.  Will it work for CAPT?  We’ll have to wait on that (it worked), but the more of these things you can achieve, the easier it will be for your leadership to do the same thing for you.  You need competitive EPs to promote, and doing these things, giving your leadership the ammunition to justify EP FITREPs, is the path to getting them.

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Who’s On Your List?

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(It is funny to read this 3 years later, as much of it is true to this day, as you’ll read in my 2019 notes in italics below.)

In my opinion, every Naval physician needs to have a list of people. On this list are the people who you absolutely, positively will not mess with. When you talk to them, you show them the utmost respect. When they ask you for something, you give it to them better and faster than you ever give anyone anything. These are the people who have determined your career path to this point and are likely to continue to steer if for the near future.

Who’s on your list? If you don’t know, you should think about this as soon as you can. You might think it is silly, but I’d actually make a list. Just to show you I’m serious, I’ll share my list (as it was when originally posted on the blog):

  • Current Emergency Medicine (EM) Specialty Leader
  • Prior Deputy Commander of NMC Portsmouth
  • Prior EM Specialty Leader
  • Current Director of Medical Services at NMC San Diego
  • Prior EM Specialty Leader and Deputy Medical Corps Chief

Why are they on my list? They are Emergency Physicians like me, and they are the most senior and potentially influential people in my career. They are the people who are senior to me, well thought of in my specialty, and get phone calls or in person inquiries when I apply for a leadership position. For example, one of the people on this list thought of me when the Detailer job became available and endorsed me for it. (That same person just made me the incoming Deputy Medical Corps Chief. I show up at BUMED on September 3rd.)

Who’s not on my list? There are no admirals on my list (at least there weren’t at the time – there certainly are now). As a CDR, it is rare that I’m on the radar of an admiral. Some of them know who I am, and some of them could have a major impact on my career path, but it is unlikely that they’ll take a huge interest in my career until I’m a CAPT and qualify for major leadership positions working directly for them (somewhat of a prescient post, I guess). If an admiral wants to know about Joel Schofer, they’ll probably call one of the CAPTs on my list and ask them about me.

Who should be on your list? The people you should consider putting on your list include:

  • Your Specialty Leader and prior Specialty Leader
  • Your Detailer
  • Influential people in your specialty who are 1-2 ranks senior to you
  • Whoever is currently in the job(s) you want

Undoubtedly there are other people you should consider, but this list is a good start.

Once you create the list, here are the things you need to keep in mind. Always treat these people with the utmost of respect. You should always treat everyone with respect, but these people get special attention. Never get into an argument with them. I’m not saying you have be a “yes man” (or woman) and agree with everything that they say, but any disagreement needs to be collegial and respectful. You want to prevent them from getting mad at you, if at all possible. When they ask you for something or they give you a task, it immediately rises to the top of your to-do list. In addition, you never give them anything but your best, maximal effort.

The Navy is a large organization that can appear impersonal, but people run it. The people on your list are the ones who are going to determine your future and whether you get want you want or not. If I were you, this is one list I’d put some thought into and actually make.