The champagne is chilling in the fridge … all we need now is a little letter (or e-mail, or phone call, we’re not picky) that says Will got the National Health Service Corps scholarship. A few weeks ago, he found out he’s a finalist. We’re supposed to know by Sept. 30 whether he’s in.
I keep hoping they’ll let us know early, but given that we’re now on the outermost thread of a tangled web of government services, I’d be surprised if they meet their own deadline. As anxious as we are to hear their decision, it’s been really fun to daydream since signing the contract saying if we get it, we’re committed.
For some reason I’ve latched on to a clinic site in Yakima, Wash. Maybe it’s because the city lends its name to the kayaks I see on cool-looking cars with bike racks and bumper stickers for ski resorts. I’ve never even been to Washington, but in some weird way, I’ve always expected to end up there. We finish medical school in 2013, maybe do a primary care/pediatrics residency in Seattle, have a baby (or two), move to Yakima for our three-year commitment and become bona fide northwesterners.
Or, we follow Will’s plan, where we end up with two tickets to Middle-of-Nowhere, Montana, so he can work as a doctor on an Indian reservation 500 miles from the nearest sushi restaurant or live theater production. Let’s hope those tickets are round-trip.
There are lots of options. Although NHSC gave us all of two days to decide whether we’d commit three years of our lives if accepted, they did link to a very helpful list of current openings so we’d have some idea what might await us in six years. There’s work in the prisons, at immigration centers on the coasts, in rural areas and impoverished inner-city neighborhoods. Something for everyone, it seems.
We see this as not only a way to pay for medical school, but also as a short-term mission to the underserved and (usually) less fortunate. Will has always wanted to do medical missions trips, and this may just be our first foray into selfless medicine. Now we just have to get the scholarship!