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How do you do research in competitive specialty without knowing your interest?

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fastfingers

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I heard to get into a competitive specialty, you'd need to do research in that area. My question is, how can you know if you're interested in a competitive specialty since rotations are in 3rd and 4th year?

I'm going into my first year of med school and i'm concerned that I wouldn't know what specialty to do research in since I have no clue if I like it or not. Should I job shadow every competitive residency before entering medical school? Does job shadowing even give you a good sense of whether you like the specialty or not?

Right now, I'm mainly interested in surgery, so I feel like at the very least, I should shadow an ENT, ortho, plastic and neuro. Is this train of thought correct?
 

SpecterGT260

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this should not be pre-allo.

You do elective research rotations in your 3rd and/or 4th year You can also sometimes extend your schooling to include an entire year of research.
 

sliceofbread136

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Do most medical students pursue research in their 1st year? Is it something worth pursuing? And like op said, how do you know what specialty you want to research?
 

fastfingers

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Yea, I was really unsure if this belongs in pre-allo or allo since i'm technically still not in med school yet.

i hear a lot of medical students pursue research in the summer after their first year. which is why i'm curious how I know what specialty to do research in.
 

SpecterGT260

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many will do research after 1st year. I am not aware of many doing it during the school year alongside classes. But still - a good many med students change specialty of choice in 3rd year so the OPs question is actually a pretty good one. There are elective research rotations in the clinical years to help out with this.
 

fastfingers

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from your experience, how different is job shadowing that u do during ur premed years versus rotations in terms of how well it gauges your interest level in a specialty.
 

SpecterGT260

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not really at all. And it is impossible to have shadowed all of the specialties so just because you liked something in undergrad doesnt mean something better isnt coming - also doesnt mean you wont hate what you used to like once it is work and not play
 

fastfingers

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so would u still recommend i do the shadowing?
 

mmmcdowe

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Do most medical students pursue research in their 1st year? Is it something worth pursuing? And like op said, how do you know what specialty you want to research?

Many do, but most do not. I dabbled in it, especially as my first summer approached so that I could get a head start on the research that I was going to do. My advice is to try to narrow down your interest to a few specialties and pick which one to do research in based on 1) The ease of getting involved/productivity of available labs and 2) Which one is most competitive in terms of research. Ortho and Neurosurgery, in my experience, tend to be a shade more heavy on the volume of research (meaning you are much more likely to want to take a year off) than urology, ENT, optho, and even plastics from what I've seen (hard to gauge since there are just so few of them). Ultimately, you still will have ample time to get some research done after your clinical year. You can often squeeze out a case report during a rotation, and many medical schools allow you to take research time during your fourth year if you are not interested in a year off. It's also important to note that your level of interest in a major academic program can also alter your need for research. I know ortho and neurosurg programs where taking a year off in medical school is pretty rare among the residents.
 

mmmcdowe

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from your experience, how different is job shadowing that u do during ur premed years versus rotations in terms of how well it gauges your interest level in a specialty.
Very different. You know more and you get to experience it much more deeply as a medical student.
 

bucks2010

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Many do, but most do not. I dabbled in it, especially as my first summer approached so that I could get a head start on the research that I was going to do. My advice is to try to narrow down your interest to a few specialties and pick which one to do research in based on 1) The ease of getting involved/productivity of available labs and 2) Which one is most competitive in terms of research. Ortho and Neurosurgery, in my experience, tend to be a shade more heavy on the volume of research (meaning you are much more likely to want to take a year off) than urology, ENT, optho, and even plastics from what I've seen (hard to gauge since there are just so few of them). Ultimately, you still will have ample time to get some research done after your clinical year. You can often squeeze out a case report during a rotation, and many medical schools allow you to take research time during your fourth year if you are not interested in a year off. It's also important to note that your level of interest in a major academic program can also alter your need for research. I know ortho and neurosurg programs where taking a year off in medical school is pretty rare among the residents.

how common would you say it is for ortho/nsg residents to have done research year in med school? I am assuming it's much more common at the most competitive programs?
 

mmmcdowe

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how common would you say it is for ortho/nsg residents to have done research year in med school? I am assuming it's much more common at the most competitive programs?

I couldn't say off hand. At my school, >80% of neurosurgery applicants take a year off and most students are aiming for academic programs. I don't have access to the ortho statistic at my office, unfortunately.
 

KinasePro

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how common would you say it is for ortho/nsg residents to have done research year in med school? I am assuming it's much more common at the most competitive programs?

Can't directly answer your question, but it's my impression that research is more important to nsg PD's than ortho PD's. It's pretty rare to see an MD/PhD ortho resident, but they're not uncommon in nsg programs.

I'd also wager that the nsg match is, in general, more competitive and less "predictable" than ortho. An unusual number of baller applicants match low on their rank lists in nsg. I think the field is just very self-selecting and has a lot of bad asses applying each year.

Anecdotally, we had 6 seniors match into ortho this year and none of them performed research during MS-1 or took a research year. They all did research at some point, but only 2 of the 6 did research in ortho.
 

SpecterGT260

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how common would you say it is for ortho/nsg residents to have done research year in med school? I am assuming it's much more common at the most competitive programs?

look at the NRMP match data. They list research stats with matches to specific specialties
 

drizzt3117

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People match lower on their list in neurosx because there's fewer spots per program. In my experience ortho is a harder spec to match but neurosx may be tougher at the top programs.

Can't directly answer your question, but it's my impression that research is more important to nsg PD's than ortho PD's. It's pretty rare to see an MD/PhD ortho resident, but they're not uncommon in nsg programs.

I'd also wager that the nsg match is, in general, more competitive and less "predictable" than ortho. An unusual number of baller applicants match low on their rank lists in nsg. I think the field is just very self-selecting and has a lot of bad asses applying each year.

Anecdotally, we had 6 seniors match into ortho this year and none of them performed research during MS-1 or took a research year. They all did research at some point, but only 2 of the 6 did research in ortho.
 
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