Aug 23, 2016
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Pre-Medical
Hello all,

I had a quick question regarding the clinical vs. research experience.

Currently, I volunteer in a hospital where I volunteer doing clinical research that investigates the progression of Parkinson's and the drugs used to treat it. I think of this as my clinical exposure/medical volunteering, since I get to watch neurologists diagnose patients, participate in looking at MRI, and enroll them in clinical trials 9and take patient histories) if the patient qualifies.

However, I also do bench/basic science research in a laboratory where I work on a project that investigates the molecular mechanisms of the disease and its therapeutics. I consider this research experience.

My question is: Will this be a problem come time to apply? I'm concerned that the adcoms will think that I "specialized" too far in my undergrad years by participating in two activities that involve the same condition. I also think it may be an advantage, since I can talk about how my experience in the clinical side led me to desire to learn more about the disease with basic science research.

Thank you so much for any responses!
 

DingoPingo

5+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2013
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Pre-Medical
i don't think you should worry about specializing

each person goes into medicine for their own reason

having a focus is better than not having a focus imo

my app is 80% about one subject

i think most doctors end up specializing in what they were passionate about in school
 
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Aug 23, 2016
3
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I was wondering if I can categorize my work in the hospital as clinical experience or volunteering? My official title is research associate but I follow neurologists, observe MRI scans, and potentially enroll patients in one of two clinical trials.

However, I was reading other threads that said that this cannot count as a clinical experience or suffice since it is research. (I am not paid)
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
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I was wondering if I can categorize my work in the hospital as clinical experience or volunteering? My official title is research associate but I follow neurologists, observe MRI scans, and potentially enroll patients in one of two clinical trials.

However, I was reading other threads that said that this cannot count as a clinical experience or suffice since it is research. (I am not paid)
You are not paid. This means that you are a volunteer. Now the question is, is this "volunteer, clinical", "volunteer, non-clinical" or would it be better classified as "research". Do you have any role in the scientific process of formulating and testing hypotheses? Do you have any particular technical skills that you use in collecting data? Have you been trained to administer data collection instruments in a way that reduces inter-rater reliability? If no to all of these, it might not be the sort of "research" that adcoms typically see and many may discount it as it is not the sort of thing that even junior high science fair participants do (formulate hypothesis, design experiment, gather data, interpret data and accept or reject the null hypothesis).

So, we may be left with the choice of volunteer clinical or volunteer non-clinical. If these research subjects are patients (they have a medical record, they are called "patients" by those who refer to them in your workplace) then you might be ok calling this "volunteer clinical". If so, you might want to downplay the research side of it which is tricky because your title is "research associate".

This should not be your only research experience and it should not be your only clinical experience.