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Clinical vs. Research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by silverquick, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. silverquick

    silverquick Junior Member
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    I am a pre-med sophomore at a top-ranked liberal arts college. Medicine has been my dream profession since my high school days. I shadowed ER doctors and GI doctors for six months during my high school junior year. I am also an Intel International Sicence Fair semi-finalist. I was able to get my Sicence Fair research published as a single-author rapid communication, Journal of Toxicology early this year. I was invited by the Jounal of Inorganic Biochemisty as a paper reviewer. I am doing research for a biology professor in the areas of Microarray and DNA damaging for a year and half and has been inducted to Sigma Xi this year. I will have another abstract/poster presentation and a paper prepared for submission next summer. My concern is Adcom of medical schools may raise question a why don't I apply to PhD program instead of MD program because I excel in basic science research. I plan to do volunteer work this summer for parenthood consultation. I have two options after this summer:

    1. Drop research completley and focused on hospital clinical works to balance out my profile.
    2. Continue research to get even more papers and poster presentations. My only clinical experience will be doctor shadowing in high school and volunteer works for one summer. Just don't know if it's sufficient for med school applications. However, I believe I will truly stand out among applicants because of my publication record. But I also don't know if MD Adcom cares about it.

    My mentor, a fellow at Stanford Med explain to me that all top-tier med schools appreciate applicants with strong research experience and I should not need to worry too much about my clinical experience.
    I am not sure about MSTP because my ultimate interest is to see patients. I believe I can always get into academic medicine with a MD only.
    Any advice will be highly appreciated
     
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  3. fullefect1

    fullefect1 Senior Member
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    If it comes up in interviews just tell them that you believe that you can continue your research on the side with an MD, but you feel the clinical medicine is more of an interest to you. I don't think it would be a problem for top schools anyways. They are research hounds on acceptance to their regular MD programs.
     
  4. sscooterguy

    sscooterguy Senior Member
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    Do what you like. If you like research, do it. If you like clinical work, do it. If you like scuplting, do it. Get more experience whatever it is. Not only will this show you like what you are doing, it will allow you to really get a feel if you actually like it or not.
    I never did research, but I volunteered a lot. Of my med school friends, I'd say 15-20% of them did research with subsequent pubications. Half of those did it because they thought it was important, and wished they didn't spend their time doing it. Did it help them get into medical school? Probably. Does clinical experience help you get into med school? Probably, as not only will it show on your resume, but also in your insight into medicine in your personal statement and interview.
    Since you have publications already, I'd work on clinical experience if I were you. After having said what I did, research is important, but not like most think. Research is important because it shows that you can analyze well, and understand medical studies, journals, and make calculated decisions for your patients. Top schools want more researchers, yes, but they know most importantly, they know that most of their students will go on to direct patient care, and very little will actually be primarily researchers.
    Students need to stop doing what they think looks good, I really do think adcoms can see through that, especially during an interview. Just keep busy doing what you like. Most med students will tell you thats what they did and they got in just fine.

    sscooterguy
     
  5. linuxizer

    linuxizer MS0
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    If you like the research, doing it over the summer certainly won't hurt you as long as you have enough clinical experience to talk about it coherently in interviews and statements. Just make sure to get enough good clinical experience that you know what is going on. Call up a doctor, or talk to your research boss and see if he/she can't get you a shadowing gig, say one day a week during the summer.

    --Ari
     
  6. silverquick

    silverquick Junior Member
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    Thank you for your inputs. I probably will volunteer for parenthood planning and doctor shadowing this summer. Since I did shadowing during my high school junior year, hopefully, these experiences will be sufficient. Actually, I'd like to have more clinical experience to really understand and appreciate the medical profession. If necessary, I will continue the volunteer works during my junior year. The only minor concern is my research professor will be really disappointed if I do so because I am one of a few students she can depend for her projects. She always feels strongly I should go for Ph.D. studies. She was quite disappointed when I informed her that I may consider MD/PHD track. She felt it would be a waste of my talents not to focus on basis research. I guess I'll have to make my own decision as to "research vs. clinical".
     
  7. Avenue Q

    Avenue Q Senior Member
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    I think the major thing to focus on is what have you done during college, not high school. Obviously Intel should be on your application, but as far as your shadowing and volunteering goes, high school activities should not be listed on your primary application. What during college will show them your interest in medicine? What are you doing outside of classes now other than just research? It doesn't matter what it is, but having more than lab time on your activities list is important. Thats just my 2 cents though.

    for this summer, do what you are interested in.
     

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