What makes Navy medicine great are the people. Above and beyond the outstanding training that you get as a physician and the care that you’re able to provide to Sailors, Marines, and their families, being part of something bigger than yourself and of service to our country, it really comes down to the people you work with every day. And there’s not a greater team on this earth, in my opinion, than the United States Navy. I’m Lieutenant Commander Andy Baldwin and I’m a U.S. Navy physician. Navy hospital is like any other hospital. We have all the specialties from surgery, pediatrics, OB/GYN, dentistry, optometry, even podiatry. There’s one difference between a Navy hospital and a regular hospital, and that’s pride and honor that we have serving our Sailors and Marines every day. When I talk about the experiences I’ve had in Navy medicine with a civilian physician, what I get a lot of the time is, “Wait, you get paid to do that? Where do I sign up?” There’s a lot of red tape in civilian practice. There’s a lot of bureaucracy. If you look at malpractice costs, insurance claims, and then you look at the benefits that you get just being part of Navy medicine and how it’s a streamlined system. And what I get from my civilian physician friends is, “I didn’t know that there were those opportunities in Navy medicine. I’m glad that you told me.” One mission that really changed my life was in 2006 when I had the opportunity to go to the country of Laos as the team physician. You know what I saw? Something I’ve never seen before, which was children that came running from miles around. That was raw medicine and just by giving them simple medications that we take for granted here in the United States I was able to make their quality of life incredibly better. And it’s that joy and those smiles and that purity of medical care that I’ve come to love, something you can do as a Navy doctor. Sometimes those days were long and hot and 120 degree heat and there are insects flying around and it was patient after patient after patient, and you look around at the team working together, that is Navy medicine. You go to sleep at night saying, “I’m doing good work here on this earth. I’m part of a mission that’s greater than myself. I’m making the world a better place.” There’s opportunity in Navy medicine for anyone, whether you’re young, middle aged, old. Whether you’re a student wanting to become a doctor or already are a doctor. There’s some physicians that in their forties or fifties and are just sick of the same old grind. And they say, “Hey, I want to get out there and be working in the field in the Third-World countries being part of humanitarian missions.” Or, “I want to be taking care of the Sailors and Marines that are over there fighting for our freedom.” There’s opportunities for you in Navy medicine as well. So an interesting story happened a few weeks ago. I was talking with one of my friends, and this guy’s brother is an esteemed cardiologist at Harvard, he’s fifty, and decided that he wanted to join the Navy. I sent him an email. I said, “Hey, welcome to the team. Great to have you onboard, Sir.” I mean, this is one of the leaders in cardiology in the world. And just like he was a kid again, he said, “Hey, hoo yah. Hoo yah, Doc. Hoo yah, Sir. I’m on the team.” And it’s that kind of energy coming from this man who is revered by physicians and cardiologists worldwide coming onto part of the Navy medical team, wanting to be part of something different; wanting to get out there in the world and, and make a difference and making it through our Officer Development School, which really made me smile. In Navy medicine, you learn so much more than being just a doctor. You learn to be a leader. You get to see the world and learn about other cultures. Where you’re a doctor out in the field, you’re seasoned and it shows. There’s not an employer around the world that’s not going to look at that and give you the nod because you served in the Navy as a Navy physician. In current economic times, it pays to have a stable job and a stable paycheck. A lot of us also have incredible amount of debt from our education. And Navy medicine provides a means to alleviate that in the form of Loan Repayment Programs, sign-on bonuses. When you join the Navy, rest assured the Navy is going to take care of you. And that goes for any continuing medical education, specialty training, any perks that you need to go along and make you the best physician possible, the Navy, you better believe, is going to make sure you get that training. I want to set the record straight. People think that if you join the Navy, that you’re not able to pursue your hobbies and your lifestyle as you would like to. And that’s absolutely not the case. Joining the Navy actually enables you and enhances your ability to pursue your hobbies; to pursue your dreams. I love to do triathlon and I race numerous races every year. I work with the Special Olympics and work with the Surgeon General on health promotion. I also like to spend time with my family and friends and these are all things that I’m able to do as part of the Navy. So I’m busting that myth right now. If you want to have a life, you can have it as part of the Navy.