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Clinical research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by PhantomfanMD, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. PhantomfanMD

    PhantomfanMD Banned Banned

    Oct 19, 2006
    I was wondering how I could get involved in clinical research. I won't be applying to medical school until 2008, but I want to start building some good ECs now.
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  3. EndSong

    EndSong Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2005
    For Pre-meds, its often difficult to get involved with clinical research. For legal reasons, there is very little students can do to and for patients other than administer surveys. Furthermore, these opportunities are usually reserved for medical students and above. Also, generally you have to get on good terms of a physician overseeing the research. In general, most pre-meds who have done clinical research have said that it is very, very boring often involving calling up patients, asking how they are and administering surveys.

    For basic science research or even clinical trials, there is a lot Pre-Meds can do as PIs are always looking for cheap (i.e. free) labor. And this is as simple as going to your school, looking up PIs whose projects interest you and emailing them and telling them your interest. Keep in mind, in research you get out what you put in. So if you work hard for a long time, research can be a very rewarding experience. Although, some people hate research. Usually a PI will start you off with a very simple project, such as dish washing. As you get more experienced, you get more interesting stuff.
  4. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    I got involved in clinical research by applying for a job as a clinical research coordinator at a teaching university. Alot of it was boring paperwork (writing informed consents, maintaining study binders, keeping approval updated from the institutional and hospital review boards, keeping track of drug inventories etc) but I learned alot about the process of clinical research. All of the boring stuff was definitely worth the two clinic days a week where I honed my bedside manner and basically got paid to shadow some amazing physicians. I learned so much within the subspecialty I was working in and really confirmed for myself that I was making the right career choice for me, while being paid at the same time.
  5. ds776

    ds776 5+ Year Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    There is a lot you can do- It just depends on where you do it. I am a CRC for oncology trials at a large cancer institute. Beyond all of the paperwork and data, I see the patients on my trials every time they come in, take down all of their side effects and meds and communicate them w/ the doctor before they see the patient, meet w/ the radiologists to have tumors measured in order to determine a tx course, order labs, ct scans, etc. However, I also know people who get stuck doing just data related work w/ limited patient contact. It all depends on where you end up working.
  6. ericL

    ericL Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Where the wild things are
    Clinical research is not very hard to find at all. It's just a matter of doing a bit of searching. If you have a hospital affiliated with a University, there very likely will be research there you can get involved with. Most of these hospital's websites will show what research they are involved in and very often list the lead investigtator. At least where I am there is a group that does research in the ED here and undergrads can get involved in many aspects of this. There are also opportunities in different areas of healthcare as well (surgery, epidemiology, etc...)
  7. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2006
    All I have to say is Research Associates Program. You take the data for the studies, you observe procedures such as central line placement and resuscitations, patient interaction, sometimes participation in assisting when there aren't enough nurses, and you get extensive experience with medical terms and patient charts through a computer based system. There is also a lecture portion besides the shifts you do weekly. The lecture is mainly biostatistics, research design, and some clinical information. Not to mention you will often have a whole hospital of physicians you can shadow on your own time.

    I'm not sure how many of these programs are, but they are great if you live by one of the hospitals that take part in it.
  8. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    The National Institutes of Health have been good to me. I'd suggest checking out their programs, one of which is the summer IRTA (intramural research training award) fellowship. Pull up their website, go to the education section, and have at it.
  9. riceman04

    riceman04 10+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I have to disagree...there are plenty of clin. rsrch opps here at Penn for pre-meds.
  10. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    CV+ Recommendation letters => Manager of [insert department] Research @ XYZ Medical School => Interview => Job in clinical research

    Edit: I should note, this is how I got my job in clinical research.
  11. epigastric

    epigastric Stewart U. Class of '11 2+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2006

    And, seriously, unless you single-handedly designed a clinical vaccine for a rare child cancer and have the first authorship to prove it, don't send your CV through the HR department. (Even then, the chances of an actual PI seeing it are almost zero.) If you're scanning newspaper ads or med school hiring sites, try and find out who the actual PI is or at the very least the manager of research, as noted above, and send in your resume directly, with a cover letter enthusiastically detailing why you're so fascinated with the project you're interested in.

    HR is the black hole of research hiring.

    If you're looking for something less time-consuming, you might want to try the volunteer office of a med school-linked hospital. For example, my department occasionally looks for a volunteer to do data entry for an ongoing protocol, and we try and sweeten the deal with the occasional patient contact. You'll have to ask the person in charge if they have anything like that currently available.
  12. aikaterine

    aikaterine Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 18, 2005
    If you've had any shadowing experience, try asking the doctors you've worked with. Most of them need to keep publishing, but just don't have the time to do the actual research. Granted the projects that I've been on are just a lot of data entry, but sometimes you can get more out of it. I'm currently working for an Adult Congenital Cardiac clinic, and they've taught me how to read Echos - which is slightly challenging- since the reports sometimes miss info.

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