Definition of MD/PhD

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by blazinfury, Jul 27, 2008.

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  1. blazinfury

    blazinfury 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    I have recently been assessing and ateempting to understand the daily tasks of an MD/PhD. After speaking to a few of them, I got the notion that an MD/PhD is really a PhD since nearly all of their time is spent in the lab doing research overseeing the projects that are being done. Am I correct? I see that the real benefit of being an MD/PhD is recruiting patients for studies and/or attaining patient samples of say tumors, diseased tissue, etc. Since the typical MD/PhD breakdown is 80/20 or 90/10 for a good physician scientist, then what do their clinical tasks consist of? Do most MD/PhDs act as internal medicine physicians and once or twice a week see patients who come to then and assess the patients' situations and determine if surgery is necessary?

    I am sorry if I sound stupid, but I am just attempting to figure out exactly what an MD/PhD does before I rush into a career path that I may not enjoy.
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  3. Ventric

    Ventric 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    I think the responsibilities and how much transition there is from bedside to bench is dependent on what clinical duties consist of. This probably varies from specialty to specialty. Also, an IM person probably would order a consult if he thought the problem required surgical intervention.

    It sounds like you haven't met many MD/PhD's face-to-face. Look for some and discuss with them what their life is like. Talking to some student MD/PhD's in person would also be a very good bet. T
  4. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2001
  5. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd SDN Advisor SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    This is some percentage of MD/PhDs that do majority research after graduation. There's no public data, so I'm going to speculate it's less than half of MD/PhD graduates who spend a majority of their time doing research in academics, and I wouldn't be surprised if that number was less than a third. You are seeing a select group of MD/PhDs that are still in academics running research labs.

    The typical idea is that the MD/PhD internal medicine physician is on service in the hospital full time covering their subspecialty maybe 2 months out of the year. Of course the lab doesn't stop during that time, so it's kind of like having two full time jobs during that period.

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