Capt. Maria DeArman: I'm a civilian residency-trained physician, and most of my friends went directly into civilian practice. They may be making more money. They may be in a higher earnings bracket, therefore at a higher tax bracket. They may have to pay more overhead. They may have to pay their staff. They may have to pay their insurance. So they earn more. They take, I think, less home. Whereas myself, I have no overhead, and I have 30 days off a year. And I really think it's more fun.
I was in a very special deployment. They're called Provincial Reconstruction Teams. It is a program to kind of help reestablish the people of Afghanistan. We're setting up roads and helping to build hospitals and rebuild hospitals, and establish care. I got to do women's health while I was there. I got to teach midwifery, how to deliver babies. I got to round with Afghan doctors. I mean, it was a really cool opportunity for an entire year.
Being a physician is rewarding in and of itself. Being an Air Force physician, to me, is an opportunity to help people who really need the help. Sometimes, the people down range turn themselves off, and they don't call their families as often as they could or should, and so the people that are left on this side, they get their feelings hurt, and there's a lot of emotional things that are happening. If you haven't been deployed, I don't think you quite understand the severity of it. But if you've been deployed, I can kind of like look at these patients and look them in the eye and provide that bridge and that's like, to me, that's the most rewarding.