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Anyone starting to worry about specialty choice?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by melissainsd, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. melissainsd

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    Ok...I know this seems like a long way off (and most of us are still freaking out about acceptances), but is anyone else worrying about choosing a specialty? Many of the competitive specialties require/strongly suggest research, and the sooner we get started, the better. Also, I am in contact with the research coordinator for one of the schools I am considering, and she wanted me to email her my specialty interest so she could start trying to find me a mentor. AHHH!
     
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  2. ShowStoppinDOC

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    I dont worry at all. I know I will be matching to a top derm program.:cool:
     
  3. Twitch

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    I was worried about it a few months back - not anymore. It'll pass - just a phase we all go through.
     
  4. StringerBell

    StringerBell It's the final countdown!
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    I think the Chief Medical Officer of Starfleet's Flagship should be able to get her specialty of choice. :)

    On a more serious note, I am indeed worried about specialites, especially since I'm most likely going to a D.O. school. Everyone tells me that I "can" specialize, but at the same time, I will probably be strongly encouraged to do a primary care residency. Which I might be leaning towards anyway (I'm an older non-trad, and waiting any longer to start practicing doesn't sound that attractive.) However, I do have a love for neurology (not so competitive) and experience working in cardiology, which I am also considering.

    Maybe I'm naive, but I get the feeling that that's what our rotations are for, and perhaps committing to a path this early in our experience may be somewhat limiting. That being said, you and I are also very different candidates. ;)
     
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  5. Vano

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    You can't commit to a path now 'cause you haven't tried out any of them to any significant extent yet and haven't taken your USMLE 1 I would imagine, but if you consider a competitive specialty and want to start now why not? I'm thinking about that choice too, but leaving all inquiries about research etc. until I actually start med.school, summer is coming up, relax and enjoy it!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    melissainsd

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    Your funny StringerBell, and we aren't that different (I imagine). I guess it was just the email which prompted my freaking-out fest.

    BTW- If we wait until we have our board scores or go through rotations, isn't it too late to complete substantial research in time for residency applications?
     
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  7. xylem29

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    Well - I was thinking about that myself and what I discovered was that, in general, you can do research in anything you want and it should okay. I doubt that PDs expect applicants to know what they are aiming for from day 1 and to do research in their respective specialties. So if you are thinking of cardiology and do cards related research in summer 1 - this is still research and it should help you for any other specialty should you change your mind.
     
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  8. time md

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    I am in the same boat. I have spent alot of time searching sources about different specialities. I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to decide just yet. As pre-meds we are naturally OCD about things. Hopefully it is just a stage that passes with time.
     
  9. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    Keep in mind also that for say, uber-competitive specialities such as derm that the research to get into those specialties seem to be done after graduating medical school so researching during medical school may not necessarily be the only viable path
     
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  10. GoodDoctor

    GoodDoctor Senior Member
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    Some questions:

    1) Do we need to get LORs from our PI for residency?

    2) Does the research need to be directly medically related, or can it be pure science?

    3) Does it matter if the PI is not an MD, but has a PhD?
     
  11. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    If you have NEVER taken a medical school course, it is FAR TOO EARLY to even consider a specialty. Most medical students, myself included, changed our choice of specialty after or during third year when exposed to clinical clerkships.

    You have NO idea of how you will perform in medical school (read medical school GPA/rank) or on USMLE Step I which will be the major determinants (as opposed to any research in or out of medical school) in the residency or your competitiveness for said specialty. In my medical class, the two people who matched into Derm (the most competitive specialty) did not do any medical school research. One was a fellow AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha) inductee and the other did well on USMLE in addition to solid coursework. My two Derm resident buddies did NOT do any research in medical school but were both AOA and had very high USMLE Step I scores i.e. they were competitive residency applicants.

    Many students have "put the cart before the horse" and found that they were not competitive enough for specialties such as derm, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery because they forgot about doing well in their coursework. Other students have worked solidly and consistantly and gotten into the speciality of their choice without any research.

    You have plenty of time (summer between first and second year, elective and vacation months) to do research. Medical school mentors know this and keep projects around for medical students. If you don't have the grades, you are going to need all of your time to get them. Many super achievers have rolled into medical school only to find that it's harder than they originally believed.

    What to worry about now? Choosing the medical school where you can perform best in your coursework because you are most comfortable there. Finding a place to live that is affordable and within an easy commute to medical school. Making sure your Financial Aid is ready and waiting (or your bills are paid) when you arrive on Day 1 of orientation. How to pack as much "life" as possible into the last truly free summer that you will have.

    People who NEED research for residency i.e. to match into any residency: People who are applying to Physician-Scientist residency positions (will already have their research). People who didn't do well in their coursework/boards and are hoping to make-up for their poor performance.
     
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  12. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    Question: Exactly how important is the summers between MS1 and MS2? I understand that your second summer will be spent on boards, and that you have the elective option for research after the summer of your MS1 but is it really that important- as in, can anything significant be done thats worth mentioning during the interview trail for the last year? If not, Im going to find me a job and just enjoy life a little bit- if this summer is expendable.
     
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  13. maestro1625

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    I find derm to be icky... lifestyle or not.
     
  14. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才
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    Words of wisdom!

    I know lots of people who didn't work so hard MS1 and MS2 and are now finding out that they really really enjoy ortho or neurosurg...
     
  15. cgscribe

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    I like looking at scutwork.com and FREIDA just for kicks, but it's not to determine my future at this point. Good reading on those sites!
     
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  16. Dr. C. Troy

    Dr. C. Troy Member
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    I've been worried about this for the past 5-6 years.

    It's why I became so obsessed with getting into the top med-schools, and made it seem like my initial acceptance was the end of the world.

    It's amazing how much bad advice you can receive as a premed.
     
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  17. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    I recommend picking one of the more competitive ones and doing what it takes to get in (research, shadowing, etc...). If you sit on your butt for the first two years, everyone else is going to have a jump on the competitive spots. This method keeps all your doors open.
     
  18. arsenewenger

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    Not really.
    ... cos i have a spot reserved in Hopkins for pediatric radiation- oncology psychoneurosurgey.
     
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  19. GoLAClippers

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    Isn't the USMLE 1 score more important for matching into a good specialty? This one guy I know from USC took both Step 1 and Step 2 and got over 90%tile on both. He said he should have no trouble getting into Derm or Neurology. He said that his Step scores should beat out 90% of other competitions, unless, they happen to have found cure for HIV and cancer. In short, no amount of research would beat out top USMLE scores.
     
  20. arsenewenger

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    is this the same guy you said went from 6 to 12 on the VR section of MCAT... so fast!

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=377185
     
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  21. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    I think its ok to start thinking about things that might interest you so you can start shadowing and learn more about those specialties . . . but you really have no clue where you are going to stand in medschool, everyone was the best and the brightest up until now and half of those best and brightest will be in the bottom half of their class when they graduate . . . and you have no clue what whats gonna make you tick so throwing yourself at a specific specialty before you've even attended orientation is a bit much. Its fine to explore a bit but there is no way you will really know enough to committ for a pretty long time.
     
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  22. GoLAClippers

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  23. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Your friend is:
    a) exaggerating somewhat to look more impressive in your eyes,
    b) in dire need of a reality check, or
    c) long overdue for a sit-down, heart-to-heart talk with his student dean.

    There are other factors in matching to a good residency program besides just your Step 1 score. Were his LORs good, or just lukewarm? How were his clinical grades? Did he score well on his shelf exams?

    If he's relying on ONLY his high Step 1 score to get into derm, he should brace himself for a big shock. Derm (according to the derm residency director at my school) requires a complete package: good grades for all 4 years, good Step 1 score, good LORS, and some research experience.

    Your friend will probably be able to match into neuro, which isn't as competitive as derm. However, there are a lot of variables when it comes to the residency match. A Fam Med residency director told me that he didn't rank a candidate who was AOA from a big-name school, because this guy was arrogant, rude, and a total jerk to the office secretary. So, there's a lot more stuff than just a high Step 1.
     
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