Our Heroine is hired as an army surgeon (possibly technically a contract surgeon, depending on exact year, it hasn't been determined yet) some time in World War 2. (Yes, I know that female surgeons of that era would have been incredibly rare. She's atypical.) What I'm trying to figure out is:
1. How young could she plausibly be, if she started college at 17 and didn't have any delays in her education? (Money is Not an Issue, within reason, her family was very wealthy, and remained reasonably wealthy even during the Depression. Also, she's very smart and studied hard.)
That is, how long would one have to be in school and internships/residencies/etc before the army would hire one as a surgeon? It looks like med school is 3-4 years, is there any Fast Track I'm missing here? I'd like her as young as I can manage without stretching credulity. (but I'm aiming for early to mid 20s, not Doogie Howser). But she would not hesitate to exploit any advantage she could (other than sex)--family connections, traveling to another country if it'd help, possibly even blackmail or the like. She's very driven.
2. How much actual poking around in live humans would she likely have done by that point? I assume (possibly incorrectly) that she would have to be a resident or something equivalent, or at least an intern, before she could go and be a fully fledged surgeon, even for the Army.
Answers, appropriate research sites, or better search terms all appreciated.
(edited for clarity)
Edit: It looks like I need the rules for the British army, not the US, as the US wasn't hiring female surgeons except as contract workers, at the beginning of the war, and that's when the game will be set. (and, the way the character is shaping up, she wouldn't put up with being a second-class employee if she had another option)