Experience with machines as an observer

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by cavalier329, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. cavalier329

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    As an observer in radiology, I was introduced to and regularly exposed to a new piece of equipment developed by Siemens. It is a revolutionary type of C-Arm that is located in 3 additional medical centers in addition to ours at the moment.

    I have had the opportunity to meet a number of other hospital CEO's as they came by to check it out and consider purchasing it. The machine itself isn't widely bought because it is still very new and very expensive-but it is truly beneficial to IR.

    My question is: I have been taught the capabilities of this machine and I feel like it might be something Id like to note somewhere in my application. Would you advise this? And will it help at all?
     
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  3. cavalier329

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    I attend a very well-known research university as well and the medical school is top tier...so it isn't a random hospital.
     
  4. Bacchus

    Administrator Moderator Physician

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    To me, as a "biochemist" I would equate this to me saying I can use an NMR, GC, or UV/VIS. Its nothing special, despite its rarity.
     
  5. cavalier329

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    i suppose my intention was to convey a certain level of unique familiarity with the tools of the trade, more than other applicants
     
  6. Bacchus

    Administrator Moderator Physician

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    The machine sounds uncommon. Working as a first responder or CNA teaches you to use a BP cuff and scope which are truly tools of the trade. This machine sounds like a space filler and thusly not a good idea to list.
     
  7. Margaux1985

    Margaux1985 0k member

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    I don't think it will be really useful or unique in the ADCOM's view. I've been introduced to several new technologies as well when I attended the ASTRO conference. Their sales people and engineers hold so many meetings and teaching seminars that are geared towards selling their product that it's more of a marketing gimmick than an actual training session (think of it as a pharmaceutical rep coming by your hospital and giving a presentation on their drug). At the best, the ADCOM will know that you keep up to date with new technology trends. At worst, they'll think that you're trying to pad your application or put emphasis on something that has no relevance with how well you'll do in medical school or as a doctor.
     
  8. brianmartin

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    Something about this sentence just makes me crack up :)
     
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Depends how intelligently you can talk about the machine and what you have done with it. If you truly were just shadowing and heard a spiel (sales pitch) about this machine to visiting administrators, then no, I don't think you should list it. If you helped do studies on it, or helped run it, then perhaps you can squeeze in a casual mention. But as an "observer" I don't think you want to go out on a limb and list this as expertise. I mean, what if an interviewer wants to ask about it beyond what you described. Or wants to know what role you had in using it?

    You will soon see in medicine that EVERY new piece of equipment that GE, Siemans and Phillips, etc comes out with is groundbreaking and "revolutionary". That's part of their marketing fluff. And after a few months/years of trying it out a lot of them are proved not to be, or something even more revolutionary comes out and steals their thunder, and then it's back to the drawing board. Such is the nature of research -- for every hundred "revolutionary" ideas, maybe one will stick. I've got a publication which is based on research on a revolutionary new machine one of these companies came out with a while back. Know how many of these machines are still out there being used today? zero. Some revolution.
     
  10. Great points above. :thumbup:

    If you truly have been trained to operate this piece of equipment, and it's really that unique and revolutionary, then yeah, talk about it during your interview. But if you merely listened to some presentation/sales pitch on the device, I probably wouldn't mention it.
     
  11. Droopy Snoopy

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    It's part of your clinical exposure, so talk about it in that context. Don't overdo it though, you're not applying to a radiology residency program.
     
  12. bcat85

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    :eek:
     
  13. cavalier329

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    i have never used it on a patient because that is pretty unethical. However, I have been taught how to use it without any patients around and I have been taught its capabilities and why its extremely helpful diagnostically.

    I haven't listened in on any sales pitches. I call it revolutionary not because of any sales pitches I have heard but because of its unique capabilities and because of the articles published about it in a number of popular medical and science periodicals.
     
  14. BluePhoenix

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    Unless you actually use it, I wouldn't add it. Unless you developed it, no one cares about it's capabilities and diagnostic help. You're not promo'ing it to the adcoms. If you use it on a regular basis for some sort of research, go ahead and mention it in an essay or something, while talking about your research. Otherwise, understand that in research labs, half the things we use are frankenstein machines that are unique to our labs and have been modified to do something we feel is beneficial. Using a new machine doesn't mean anything unless you're applying for a job where using that machine would somehow make you a better candidate.
     
  15. cavalier329

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    thats the thing though....aren't i essentially applying for a job? And by already being exposed to equipment that will probably, at some point , characterize a part of my career make me more qualified?
     
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  17. cavalier329

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    i totally understand some of your points, but i just want to make sure everyone understand my train of thought as well before I make any decisions

    thanks for the feedback
     
  18. BluePhoenix

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    No, you're applying for medical school. Being exposed to equipment (but not actually running it on a regular basis) means nothing. If you were applying for a radiology residency and you were using this device on a regular basis, then it might be helpful to mention it. For med school, they're training you on generic doctoring. If you're sitting at an MRI scanner all day, that's one thing (and even then they probably won't care), being trained on some new device that you don't actually use and isn't a common device used all the time in the medical setting means nothing really. Companies do training sessions on nearly every device in a lab, it's nothing special. If you're not doing research with the device, I wouldn't mention it. They don't care about your list of equipment you have used.
     
  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    No. If this piece of technology is really cutting edge right now, it will either be hopelessly out-of-date or updated beyond recognition by the time you actually start using it during residency.
     
  20. cavalier329

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    ok well what is the disadvantage of me putting it on, if I have a bunch of solid EC's, activities so as to make this seem only supplemental rather than filler
     
  21. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Disadvantage: space filler.

    Adcoms hate space filler ECs.
     
  22. Mister Pie

    Mister Pie Senior Member

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    I doubt it would hurt your application but I also doubt that it'll do anything for you on your application. And if you devote more than like two or three sentences to this piece of equipment, it might look like you are just adding filler, regardless of your intent.
     
  23. BluePhoenix

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    Well, it could hurt you if you put it down and then they ask you about it in your interview. Being unfamiliar with the device, they may want to know what you did with it and if your only interaction was being trained on it but not actually using it for research or a study, it's going to be very obvious that you were padding your file (with something not that impressive) and didn't use it. No one cares what you're trained to use if you didn't actually do something with it.
     
  24. pianola

    pianola MS2

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    Presumably you learned about the machine in some "context" right? Volunteering, shadowing or whatever you did to get into the medical setting in the first place? Something that goes into the Work/Activities section?

    Mention the instrument in that section if you really need to mention it. But you only have 1325 characters anyway, and likely if the instrument is so new, the ADCOMs haven't heard of it anyway and will think you're name-dropping.
     
  25. Margaux1985

    Margaux1985 0k member

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    The impression that I'm getting is that the OP can't distinguish between an actual bona fide training session and a sales pitch. Unless you're a technician, a dosimetrist, or had a direct hand in the development of the machine, it really won't help your application in any way. Most members of the ADCOM are physicians themselves and they've seen dozens of these kinds of informative sales pitches at trade shows, conferences, and at their own hospitals. It's really not an accomplishment to list on your application, especially if your going to echo the salesman in using terms such as "revolutionary" and "one-of-a kind" to describe it (they'll wonder if you're going to try to sell them something during the interview). Playing in an orchestra for 8 years, spending your summers volunteering in Africa, being a co-author of a publication - those are all worthy accomplishments to list on your application. This, on the other hand, is just a space filler.
     
  26. cavalier329

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    actually, the "sales pitch" you are referring to was probably when I stood in the room with the chair of the department himself while he explained every inch of the machine and how to use it. No one else around. Not sure where you came up with this impression.

    I have plenty of "worthy accomplishments" and if you would like to know them, then PM me and I will be happy to fill you in so you can verify that they are "worthy" in your mind.

    Try not to assume Im trying to fill space and simply answer my question. If you want to be a stereotypical pre-med and chop down another person's sense of accomplishment for some twisted sense of self-worth, then find another post to do it on.

    Thank you to those who provided a constructive response.
     
  27. cavalier329

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    I just finished meeting with my university's head pre-health adviser and her advice goes hand in hand with the one quotes above...so thank you.

    I mentioned to her the other thoughts provided thus far and she couldn't quite understand why I wouldn't add it on. She just felt it did more as supplementary information to my overall experience in radiology.

    Just goes to show how lightly we should be taking some advice on this board sometimes. My own fault for openly posting.
     
  28. BluePhoenix

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    Is this the extent of your experience with the device?
     
  29. cavalier329

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    what i do on a weekly basis is usually set it up and position it prior to the pt being wheeled in. To do this requires a knowledge of how to maneuver the C-Arm to where it needs to be for the doctor and the patient.

    I also occasionally work with the C-arms associated computer system to bring up imaging and to pre-set it for the procedure.

    it has definitely made me more familiar with the terminology associated with patient positioning.
     
  30. Law2Doc

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    List it if you want, but it sure seems too much like you are trying to get some "benefit by extension" by mentioning someone else's innovation in your essay. You had nothing to do with this revolutionary new machine, and probably won't wow anyone by mentioning it in your PS. You probably want to distill it down to something along the lines of "assisted in patient positioning and imaging".

    I would also note that what seems revolutionary to you, and the folks who run it, might in fact not be. Bear in mind that other facilities may disagree. Chairmen routinely go to other schools and hospitals and industry to check out what others are using, and often come back and report that they aren't too impressed. Revolutionary sometimes means you are the first to use something novel but sometimes means that you are the only ones using it for a reason. The number of designs that don't pan out for Siemens each year is not small. Which is why they find places to use and promote them and hope they catch on.
     
  31. BluePhoenix

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    I agree. Also keep in mind that while it may sound impressive to someone who is new to the field or to an advisor that most likely has absolutely no idea what you're talking about, doesn't mean that it's actually impressive or significant to people in the field.
     
  32. SirGecko

    SirGecko Go Navy

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    See now that is what I'd mention in your description of your time volunteering in radiology. No one cares what machine it was. What they care about is what you actually did while volunteering.
     
  33. pianola

    pianola MS2

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    And I understand your position, too. And I understand your desire to add it into the Work/Activities section. I really do.

    However, if you only have 1325 characters to spend on that activity, I would choose the SINGLE most INTERESTING thing that you can say about your experience with this machine. It'll have more impact than going on about it.
     
  34. cavalier329

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    fair enough about the 1300 character reasoning.

    However, I suppose it may only seem "revolutionary" to those who read the neuro-interventional radiology literature or who are involved directly with the field.

    Outside of the hospital which I shadow at, I have approached other radiologists asking about it and everyone I have spoken to (10-15 radiologists from 4 other medical centers) have not only heard of it, but have been excited about recent research concerning the C-arm and its capabilities and hope their hospital acquires the C-arm soon.

    I guess its very field-specific and exciting for those in the field. But I can say with very little hesitation that the technology which this C-arm offers will most likely be in every hospital in the near future...in various forms, of course. Yay for capitalism.
     
  35. cavalier329

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    that comment is based off of the research and various symposiums held in the field which feature the C-arm.


    Anybody interested in reading more can PM me.

    But Im not going to respond to anymore posts concerning the "sales pitches" which I am apparently a victim of
     
  36. BluePhoenix

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    Umm...is there something unique about your C-arm? Considering they were invented in 1955 by Philips and are currently produced by 5+ major imaging companies, I'm sure they're in at least a few hospitals.
     
  37. cavalier329

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    Traditional C-arms have very little, if any, 3D capabilities (the old models usually dont). This C-arm has a feature which allows for a sort of 3-d road mapping view which facilitates catheter navigation through vasculature. What it does is it basically superimposes 3D reconstructions onto live 2D fluoroscopy images. Also, it provides live updates through the click of a pedal and allows numerous levels of zoom and maneuverability which isnt available with traditional c-arms.

    Basically, the hype is that it can create a 3-D image of vital organs in addition to traditional cross section CT scans. The advantage of this is a much much much greater diagnostic accuracy and early detection of disease, stenosis.

    Particularly (and this is what the research I help with involves), the medical center here is utilizing it especially for internal chemo treatments of the liver. The 3-D capabilities allows a much more precise treatment of specific cancerous lesions which really reduce the amount of tissue damage of the surrounding area.
     
  38. cavalier329

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    the c-arm's biggest technological advantage is its maneuverability though. It allows for cross sectional imaging that is much more advanced than anything out there right now.
     
  39. BluePhoenix

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    So basically you have a fancy new C-arm that you position for the doctor? If you didn't have anything to do with the development of it, no one will care that you're using a new and novel C-arm. If you're developing programming of the C-arm or imaging sequences or whatnot, that's one thing. If you simply position the device for use on a patient, that's what you should say you do in your blurby. You're not trying to sell them one or describe a new device that you helped create, newer and fancier toys are produced everyday in the imaging world, it's great to learn how to use them but it the grand scheme of applying to med school...just say what you did and don't get all focused on the fact that it's a new device.
     
  40. cavalier329

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    you asked, I told. My premed advisor and an adcom member I know both have told me today to mention the name of the machine if I had room because my experience with it would be something that may be interesting to ask, hear about in an interview. Basically because its not everyday a premed is exposed and to a certain extent, quite familiar, with equipment that is at the cutting edge of the field.

    Not really sure why so many here are against certain ideas. Its almost weird.

    I appreciate your feedback, however try to do it in a more tasteful manner in the future. You telling me that "no one cares" is basically a groundless statement. Are you an adcom? And if so, have you ever come across something like I have noted above? If you haven't or aren't an adcom, then you really dont have much of a basis for that comment now do you. You may not care, however the professionals in the field that I have spoken to seem to say otherwise.

    Don't mean to come across as a jerk with this, but I find it frustrating to learn that you are making statements based on nothing more than your opinion as perhaps a former pre-med. This is particularly upsetting after learning that your very comments cause confusion among the professionals who actually admit medical students and who work to train them...


    Regardless, thank you for your thoughts. Although in the future I hope they are more constructive. As for now, I believe my question has been answered and I will no longer be reading this thread unless someone PM's me with a specific question relating to my experiences...or who is willing to offer some additional constructive advice.
     
  41. pianola

    pianola MS2

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    Hold the phone. It sounds significantly less like a space-filler if you're talking about the machine in terms of research/research capabilities than it does if you're saying "I was just shadowing this guy and he had a neat new gidget he let me set up on Friday afternoons."

    I guess the bottom line is that it's really all in how you *present* it.

    Good luck.
     
  42. 135892

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    So do you have a link for this or something, sounds interesting... :)
     
  43. Margaux1985

    Margaux1985 0k member

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    I'm not sure why you think everyone is against you personally if they simply disagree with you about putting this in your EC. You posted on here to solicit our opinions. We gave you our humble opinion and suggestions about what we would do if we were in a similar situation, but you seem offended when we mention that it won't make a real difference in how the ADCOMs will perceive your application. Take all the opinions on this forum at face value, however, a lot of the people on this forum have already successfully applied and are in a better position to judge whether or not this activity is relevant to your situation. If you want to disagree, then your perfectly free to list it on your application in whatever way pleases you.
     
  44. Droopy Snoopy

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    Good lord buddy, folks told you what they thought based on the information you provided. If all along you were only interested in input from admissions committee members, why'd you ask the question here in the first place? Quit being a passive-aggressive dyckhole and go work on your app, tis the season after all.
     
  45. Margaux1985

    Margaux1985 0k member

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    Yes, I suggest that the OP logs off and go work on his applications. It's a bad sign when he spends more time debating what do put down on his application than actually working on it.
     
  46. BluePhoenix

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    Well, as someone that has a doctorate in imaging technologies, has spent a good amount of time with various imaging techniques, and also has patents in the area...I'd like to think I probably know a bit more about this than your advisor or the general premed. But fine, puff it up as much as you like. But if I were interviewing you and you made a big deal about how awesome this technology is and the only thing you were doing was positioning the patient, I'd be inclined to think you were just trying to boost your application. As I said before, if you're doing actual research studies on the machine, fine...mention the studies. But if you're simply moving around the machine to center it on the patient, it's experience but it's not that big of a deal and for the most part, no one is going to be terribly wow'd that you were doing it. It's the machine that's impressive, not the fact that you were using it. Yes...it's experience and you can write about it, but adcoms will most likely care more that you had some experience working with a imaging device than the fact that it was a new device...unless you actually had a hand in it's development.
     
  47. brianmartin

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    I shadowed a surgeon a few months ago, and he was a urologist performing a robotic prostatectomy, you know the "DaVinci" system with all the crazy arms, cameras, 3d vision, the whole shebang. It was awesome. Even let me sit in the robot chair and look in the googles so he could explain the stereo vision. As a result I probably know a lot more about the system than any lay person. But far far less about it then those actually using it. It's really not a big deal. The same day I saw a surgeon walk in with a box full of his new lap tools, we got to play around with them, grab stuff. Am I going to put THAT on my app? No way, it's just what happens every day at the hospital. New tools and machines come about.

    Now with the OP, it's the phenomenon where the new person encounters the complexity of what's ahead of them, and they find it really cool/interesting, so they feel that could be a good indicator of their career path. But that's focusing too much on the *tools* I think. Tools are tools, they're always advancing, and we'll always need training on them. It's just the territory you're in. Have you seen some of the new cath labs out there? It's amazing stuff. Those cardiologists have this insane little niche of medicine in there and it is highly advanced. If that's what you like, you are the tech geek or whatever, just hold off on stuff like that for your PS and application. It doesn't really answer the question of why medicine?
     
    #45 brianmartin, Jun 21, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  48. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agreed. OP, I think the take home message for you here is not so much about whether to list this device or not, but how NOT to win over a crowd (which is precisely what you need to do in your PS). Look back over your posts and see where you lost people, where you became argumentative, and remedy that in your PS and before you get to the interview stage. Perhaps pick up a copy of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". It's a quick read and may give you ideas as to how to modify your approach in such settings.

    I probably would stay away from words like revolutionary, because you don't really know that's going to be the case. If you want to mention the C arm, fine, but I'd stay clear of doing more than indicating what role you actually play in positioning patients, because you didn't invent this machine. Most adcoms won't care what's going on in the world of radiology, and any adcoms who are radiologists probably won't consider it much value for you to have already worked with a new machine because I promise you that after 4 years of med school and your internship year, after which you might actually become a radiology resident (if you go that route), this machine will no longer be state of the art. The field moves too fast. Plus, as mentioned above, it rubs some people the wrong way if it sounds like you are trying to get a boost in your app by "name dropping" a new machine that you had nothing to do with developing, if the case is that you only position patients for others who are using the machine. So I would spin your PS to talk about whatever role you had and less about the machines.

    As for undergrad premed advisors, you might want to do a search on that on here. The consensus is that good ones are actually pretty rare. They usually mean well, but they just aren't in the loop with adcoms enough to add much value. They are guessing what adcoms want just like you could.
     
    #46 Law2Doc, Jun 21, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008

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