Well, the Doctor can try again after the next fight. In my group there have been plenty of times where we're either out of stims or the day has gone long with battle. If the Doctor doesn't heal (much) then the player just hangs back some during the next fight so they aren't as likely to get shot at again. After the next fight the Doctor can try to heal them again.
Interesting. We've never had multiple combat encounters without time to heal up in between.
From the context of your question, it may be that there is more group dynamic interpretation going on to affect our view of the doctor than I'd at first suspected. Are you interpreting each individual fight as an encounter? Meaning - if you are clearing out a single floor base, do you count each room as a separate encounter? We would count the entire base as one encounter, not each individual room/fight.
I believe the CRB states that an encounter is when you enter structured play and it ends when structured play ends. Our group is looking at this from a D&D 4E perspective, which is to say we hop out of structured play after we clear a room. This gives us time to heal, search bodies, and do a little recon on what lays ahead without having to worry about turns and rounds.
With how the game is written, I can completly see keeping things in structured play during an entire base. Afterall, wouldn't the bad guys inside hear the fighting going on around them and come after you? If you're moving quick to clear a building there is no time to pause. In a firefight a minute (length of a round) is a long time. Perhaps my group has a more game-y interpetation and your group is more realistic.
Perhaps you should chat with the GM and group about taking some breathers while on a mission. Once you secure a location take a quick breather and hop out of structured play. I'm imagining the group making it to a room that is easily defended. A guy or two guarding each entrance to watch for bad guys. Even naritively popping a few rounds off at them to keep them at bay while the doctor can do his thing. This would give time for the group to engage in witty banter and check their weapons. You see this quite a bit in movies. After a big fight the team checks their ammo and makes sure their gear is in check before pushing forward. This would give a quick moment for the doctor to do his thing and try to heal up the team and reset the heal counter for the next fight.
Also, the GM could just count an encouter over after the fight ends, even if the next group of badies are right around the corner and you don't have time to heal. That would just mean that you're struggling to get to each guy that needs healing during the fight, but you said that you didn't have any offensive abilities anyway so the team won't be missing out on your gun. This also has a cinimatic feel. The Doctor running through combat, dodging shots, and getting to the next guy who could use help. If you count a new encounter when the next firefight starts, then you can have the fun of running to each injured guy all over again.
It sounds like you could use a few more encounters during your adventuring day to allow for more opportuneties to heal. Quite honestly, perhaps my group has too many encounters in a day. (We rely on our Medic for healing and only used stim packs in emergiencies or if it'll bring us back to half for easy medicine checks.) Question for you, how many characters in the group have abilities that are once per encounter? If you're the only one then it'll be easier to talk to the GM about how he defines an encounter. If there are other people who have encounter abilities, then you'll have to think about how increasing how often those can be used will also affect your game.
This is why we talk things through instead of saying "you're wrong." Now we know where the crux of your opinion lies, which is that you have less oppertunities to use your abilties than if you were playing in my group.
Pick up Improved Stim Application. 1 Strain for the upgrade is cheep. If they complain at that... well... I hope your GM starts hitting you with a lot of stun weapons because it sounds like the party is running low on strain. While you're at it, pick up Supreme Stim Application. Boosting extra characteristics for Triumphs is pretty cool.
I commented in a previous post that most of our fighting is stun fighting, so strain is super valuable. Our party is made up of mostly good guys, so we use stun settings on our blasters by default. We now have a reputation as being 'knock out and capture' guys who only respond lethally if you attack lethally first. So by and large our opponents attack with stun because if we win and capture them, they can always try to escape. And heck, we often just let people go. That base for example, we just knocked everyone out, took what we were after, then left them all alive and otherwise unharmed. We didn't loot or even take their weapons. But dead is dead. So opponents who know us shoot to stun, and many of them return the favor and don't take our stuff after they knock us out if they win.
Obviously not all opponents are that nice. But right now we're operating out of a central base so most of the people we're dealing with we know and vice versa.
That may be why I am enjoying my politico abilities far more than my doctor side, as you put it that way. By largely stun fighting, inspiring rhetoric is our healing, and the politico is the doctor. I hadn't thought it in that way until just now. I guess it hadn't occurred to me that stun settings might not be most people's default.
Again, this is a difference of play style. My group has been burned by people escaping so many times in past games that we'd rather kill the baddies in the fight. Someone unconsious can always wake up and go find or scream for help. It takes so long to start bounding and gagging everyone we encounter to ensure they don't make our situation worse. Our problem is leaving someone alive when we want to question someone. lol Also, we like fighting at longer than short range, which is the limit on most stun weapons. Although, like you say, if these baddies are people you know, then leaving them alive is probably a good idea. You start killing them and they'll just come find you and kill you as well. A live and let live philosophy.
However, one strain isn't that bad. All it takes is one advantage to heal that up. Work your position in the initiative order to go just before the next player you're going to give the stim to and boost them. Then, when they go right after you they can easily spend an advantage to recover that one strain. The upgrade should make it easier to recover that one point of strain for that turn and it's nothing but gravy all turns after that.
Remember, Stim Application lasts for an encounter. If the GM is making encounters last for an entire day of fighting, then your stim will last that long as well. You boost a shooter's Agility and it'll more than pay for itself in strain recovery and/or damage output. An extra or better die will help with every shot they take. It will help with generating successes and advantages for the entire encounter. I can completly understand turning down the 4 strain version, but it seems silly to me to turn down the 1 strain version. Do they often spend a second maneuver to aim? The second maneuver costs two strain. Suffer the one strain from Stim Application and don't take a second maneuver. I'd rather take an upgrade for 1 strain than a boost die for two strain. Then, the next turn they'll still have the upgrade and can choose to take the second maneuver for the 2 strain and are coming out ahead.
I hope these conversations are helping you come up with different ways to use your Doctor or give you insight into the abilities already present in the career. I went through the same thing with my Politico. I was trying to use Scathing Tirade as my only attack. My problem was just the opposite of yours, I kept rolling nothing but successes. Which was great because it meant I could always hit bad guys, but it sucked because when only one or two were in range I was only doing one damage to each. I needed advantages to really cause some damage to them.
This is funny because I don't have Scathing Tirade. I have no offensive abilities at all - all I do is heal and support. That's why tactical foes start concentrating fire at me. I keep the rest of the team up and running, so long as you're not shooting to kill it's very difficult to take anyone down with me standing right there handing out blue dice and strain like candies with Supreme Inspiring Rhetoric.
For some bizarro reason, I can only reliably roll success when I am using IR. I have the same dice pools for leadership as I do for medicine, but medicine always fails and leadership always succeeds!
I have a love/hate relationship with the dice. Last night, after True Aim, weapon mods, and party boosts I rolled YYYYGBBB vs R and almost missed with a net result of 1 success and 9 advantages. The Medic in our game has given up on shooting because he never hits on his YGB vs P. He's pretty much doing what you're doing by picking up Commander:Tactician for Field Commander just so that he has something productive to do in combat.
As they say, Geek the Mage. That's what you get for being support against smart enemies. They realize you're the real problem over the gun toting fighters. That at least shows that you're doing something productive. Keep up the good work. I hope this post helps you figure out a few more things about Doctor.