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Strengthening CV for Gen Surgery

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by schandan13, 08.22.10.

  1. schandan13

    schandan13

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    Hi all,

    I am a first year medical student interested in general surgery and ultimately want to take up head and neck surgery. I was wondering what i can do to strengthen my CV in the first 2 years. I already completed a month's observership with a head and neck surgeon and during the summer break wrote an article and it's abstract with my PI. Would doing more observerships help ? I was thinking of doing another one at a more reputable place during break next year..

    I already hold a doctoral in dental surgery (outside US though) and hence the keen interest in h&n surgery.

    Thanks in advance for your responses....
  2. skiz knot

    skiz knot Legendary Dr. X

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    If you ultimately want to take up H&N surgery, ENT is probably a better career path than gen surg.
    As a 1st year medical student you should concentrate on learning everything you can in your classes (even though there is a lot of overlap with what you already learned). It's OK to have interests in subspecialties, just keep an open mind about other fields of medicine. It is never harmful to be involved in research or other activities that pique your interest. If you want to do another "observership" that would be fine, just don't neglect your home program and the relationships you can form there. They can be surprisingly good assets in the long term, even if they are not associated with the most "reputable" program.
  3. schandan13

    schandan13

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    Thanks. Well being a non american and attending a non US MD school will heavily limit my chances for ENT. That might also be the case for General Surg, but it's not really impossible. So i'm trying to do whatever is possible to raise my chances of matching...I appreciate your response though.
  4. JackADeli

    JackADeli

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    Agreed, you will have some difficulties in getting into a US residency.

    You need to really get a realistic plan. As noted, the path to specializing in head and neck is not general surgery. It is ENT. Yes, there are some general surgeons that focus in head & neck. They usually do some fellowship in surge-onc and such. Maybe a community surgeon does some, because they have for several decades. But, that is not a reasonable expectation on your part.

    Your scenario (ignoring the current levels of competitiveness) is akin to saying ~ I want to focus my practice in child psychiatry but am hoping to do it through family medicine. Yes, FM has some psych and counseling just as general surgery has some head and neck. But neither are the right route to the stated career focus.

    Planning to get into a general surgery residency.... presumably a second tier program given your scenario to parlay into head and neck is not very sound a plan. You need to focus your efforts in medical school now to maximize your chances to enter a residency actually in the field you want to practice.
  5. schandan13

    schandan13

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    Thank you for clearing that out. I know realistically it is not possible to get into ENT, so that's not something i am hoping for. And that then automatically eliminates chances of a H&N specialization. I thought a dental surgery degree could be utilized that way. Maybe not.

    How then (apart from working during basic sciences and getting a good step 1 score) should i work to improve my CV for general surgery ?
  6. JackADeli

    JackADeli

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    I believe there may be some dental DDS/MD comibined pathways to maxillo-oral surgery. I can't give you much about their competitiveness or the actual job market. when talking about a practice in head and neck, I don't usually think of dental/oral surgeons though their are admittedly some degree of overlap.

    I am not going to be able to give you much more then the usual things....

    seek out a good AND capable advisor/mentor
    work hard and score well
    good letters
    research & publications
    maybe some US rotations

    For the most part the formula is not magic or rocket science.
  7. schandan13

    schandan13

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    Well our school (St. George's) does have good clinical placements, i'll try to get into surgery specific research i guess. Thanks for all the replies !
  8. turundu

    turundu

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    Difficult not impossible. I personally know two Mexican MDs who ended up matching in academic ENT programs last year (Hopkins and OHSU). Both of them:

    - Were top 1-2% of MS class.
    - Rotated in the US (clerkships) during 4-6 months.
    - Scored >238 in Step 1 & 2.
    - Had > 4 peer-reviewed pubs (original articles and a couple of letters)
    - Researched for 2 years at prestigious institutions.
    - Presented at a National meeting
    - Had some research/academic awards
    - Had AWESOME letters from mentors/PIs commenting on their clinical and research abilities.
    - Were involved with leadership/voluntary activities.

    There's always time to start working on it, if your aim is high you should pursue it.
  9. schandan13

    schandan13

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    Thanks for your reply. It's clear that for worthwhile and conclusive research it's better to take a year or so off and really get into it. During school, breaks are never long enough to do something out of this world. I did co-author an article and it's abstract with my PI during the 2 month break i had but it was COPD research (that's all i was able to get). I hope to try and get into clinical surgery research once MS-3 starts. As of now, breaks are very short.

    In your opinion, before cores start, is it useful to do month long observerships? What impactful can be done in a 6 week break in MS-2 ?
  10. turundu

    turundu

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    Pre-clinical shadowing is important to get you mentors, but clinical clerkships/Sub-Is are definitive to impact your CV . You should consider that early research exposure is important and getting involved with a lab might be more beneficial in terms of publications and real work (as an observer there's not much to do).

    If I were you, I'd take a year off for dedicated ENT research time and I'll try to get published. You might want to prepare for the steps in parallel, thus when it comes the time for you to travel abroad (i.e. American clerkships/Sub-Is), you'll perform outstandingly.

    This strategy seems to work for IMGs who have applied to competitive specialties (i.e. Derm, PRS, ENT, Rads and Neurosurgery). As I said, the sooner you start working on strengthening your CV, the better you'll do.
  11. schandan13

    schandan13

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    So ultimately useful research should be done 1) by taking a year off or 2) useful clinical research in the same hospital you are doing your clerkships. I understood this part. But, at the moment though, research wise, there are limited options. Would a place even let you do clinical research for 6 weeks ? That's as much time off i have in MS-2 before i take step 1 and start rotations. Hence, i am confused as to how to utilize those specific 6 weeks. And the shadowing would most probably be at CC, Ohio.

    I hope i'm not coming of as repetitive. I apologize if that's the case.
  12. turundu

    turundu

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    In terms of your 6 weeks, you could either do your shadowing or volunteering for a research project. There are plenty of opportunities everywhere, you just need to do a literature search and shoot some e-mails to the senior authors.

    As an IMG, I'll encourage you to take a year off....there's a big difference between reviewing charts while attending a clinical rotation vs. learning a new set of research skills in a laboratory/hospital. My point is that you need to set yourself apart from the rest, becoming a researcher has become more popular among IMGs.
    Last edited: 08.23.10
  13. schandan13

    schandan13

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    Thanks for the responses. I had read somewhere that observerships do matter especially if they are at big hospitals. You get to know about the newer techniques and make contacts at the same time. As for research, i think i'll push harder for that during clinical years since 6 weeks is too little a time to be studying for step 1 and doing an observership. I will try looking for a summer research project too though.

    Appreciate all the help.

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