A Few Words from a Navy Medicine Doctor:
Being a physician in the Navy affords me the opportunity to take care of a unique population of patients who have served our country in a variety of ways. My work as an Undersea Medical Officer brought me into frequent contact with young people in the submarine fleet. Some of my proudest days as an American were spent humbly working with 18-year-olds explaining in intricate detail how the nuclear propulsion system of a SSGN submarine works. I still can’t pass a holiday without thinking of all of the people quietly serving in a role that most Americans are not aware of, far away from their families for more than half the year. These exceptional patients make for a humbling and fulfilling patient panel.
The camaraderie that I’ve experienced in Navy Medicine is a product of our team approach in the military. My relationship with other physicians is stronger than any I’ve seen outside of the military. We understand that we could literally be called upon to serve together in the harshest of circumstances at any time. We appreciate the necessity of accountability.
Relationships between distinct services are not of a competitive nature; we all have a common goal. Training each resident physician to be the best physician possible benefits all of us because we too are patients of military medicine.
The challenges of living far from home and friends were difficult, but I continue to reap the benefits. I was able to serve alongside and care for SEALs, submariners, divers, and SWCCs who made my tours worthy of a recruiting video. My friends from medical school were taking night float while I was taking swim call off the side of a submarine overlying the Marianas Trench. In the end those training opportunities that I delayed are still available to me, but I return with a wider skill set and greater confidence as a physician. My entire career will be shaped by the opportunities afforded to me while serving overseas, none of which I could have pursued coming straight out of medical school. When working on rotations at civilian facilities I repeatedly hear that Navy physicians are sought out for their professionalism, ability to work as a team, and problem solving abilities. You can’t become adept at solving problems without a bit of practice! Leadership is an integral part of being a Naval Officer, and one that is expected of us from the start of our career.
My name is Lt. Meghan Hughes and I Am Navy Medicine.