PhD/PsyD How much do pubs/posters impact competitiveness for clinical neuro postdocs?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by attitudelikeasunrise, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. attitudelikeasunrise

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    I was hoping for some advice regarding future research pursuits and how they may impact (or not impact) my future postdoc, board certification, and career goals.

    Some background:
    * currently in the internship application/interview/ranking process right now (applied solely to adult-neuro tracks) * want to do 2-year postdoc following internship so that I can become board certified in clinical neuro
    * want to do adult neuro assessment in outpatient settings for my career, with a long-term goal of obtaining an administrative/leadership position in a hospital setting (VA or otherwise)
    * have one first-author publication + five posters

    I have already successfully defended my dissertation, through which I collected original data, and could potentially write other publications (or at the very least make some posters) from this data. The problem is that (1) I don't particularly enjoy doing research, and (2) I very much do not like my dissertation topic (I was essentially roped into doing an extension of my advisor's prior research pursuits of which I have no personal interest). I am wondering to what extent does research production impact competitiveness for clinically-focused neuro post-docs? Furthermore, should I just bite the bullet and complete a few more research projects because I have the time and access to data? Or is that going to be unnecessary torture since I am seeking a predominantly clinical career and it won't impact my future pursuits? Any insight/advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    Research output, to an extent, can significantly impact competitiveness for neuro fellowships. Said fellowships will also likely require some degree of research output while there, even if they're very clinically-oriented. It doesn't factor quite as much into board certification. For jobs, it's hit or miss (some will very much care, others very much won't).

    My advice would be: 1) get at least 1 pub from the dissertation if you can stomach it, and 2) whether or not you follow through on #1, since you have the time and access to data (the importance and convenience of which can't be overstated), definitely get involved in additional research projects, particularly if you think it'll result in a publication.
     
  3. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    It really just depends on the postdoc and the job. More publications (especially first author) will only help you.
     
  4. OP
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    attitudelikeasunrise

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    Ah okay, I was figuring that research would still be a factor even for clinical-heavy sites, but it's helpful to hear from someone in the field. I do think a better course of action for me might be finding my way onto other research projects, as you suggested, that are hopefully more in line with my areas of interest. I presume part of the reason why I haven't enjoyed my research experience up to this point was due to the topic itself, and not necessarily the research process. Thanks for your input!
     
  5. Kadhir

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    This really can't be overemphasized. Also, the people you work with on the research. I was set on a more clinically oriented career (even though deep down I did enjoy research), ended up at a more researchy internship and worked with amazing mentors, and shifted my goals. If you have data access, try to squeeze out as much as you can. I wish I had done that earlier, but hindsight!
     
  6. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    Spot on.

    It’s not so much that the applicant w 6 pubs will beat out others w 5 or less. Having some pubs in decent/good journals (pref 1st author or sig contributions), as well as some posters/presentations (or talks) shows that you have tried to contribute to the literature and you know what is involved. Don’t worry about a bunch of published abstracts from conferences, as some ppl collect them like wine bottle corks. :D

    The more research heavy research sites will require a clear line of research, productivity, and will want to see who has secured funding (or who at least scored well), but that can depend a lot on your programs, so it isn’t usually a dealbreaker. Those really are a different animal and those ppl tend to self-select.

    I purposefully didn’t consider 50/50 fellowships bc I wanted to pursue double boarding (Neuro & Rehab) and only a handful of sites fit the requirements.

    Fellowship apps and interviews should be far more pleasant than the internship process. Fit still matters, but it was more of a collegial process...N=1, obviously.
     
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  7. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    This was my experience as well. I actually enjoyed the internship interviewing gauntlet, but it was definitely more stressful (and resource-demanding) than for fellowship. I actually got some nice lunches and dinners from the latter, was able to spend more time with training faculty discussing my career and training goals, and it all seemed more similar to job interviews than did the internship meetings, which were more akin to grad school visits.

    Actually, I think I was treated better on fellowship interviews than I have been by some prospective employers.
     
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  8. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Yeah, we had some overlap in fellowship interviews, definitely better experience than internship. As for job interviews, gets better outside of the VA. Get flown out, put up in a nice hotel, nice duck breast dinner....
     
  9. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    Just throwing in a caveat - if interviewing at INS, it will be a lot more like speed dating.
     
  10. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    Good (and accurate) point. Although I at least still felt like the interviews were more focused on me and what I wanted out of my training. I also appreciated being able to knock most of my interviews out in the course of 3-4 days, even if it was a bit exhausting.
     
  11. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Assistant professor
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    I found faculty interviews exhausting, tbh. 1.5-2.5 full, jam-packed 12+ hours days of doing nothing but talk and sell myself with pressure to be 100% “on” at all times wore me out.
     
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  12. WisNeuro

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    Was that more for teaching/research positions? In all of my interviews for mostly clinical positions it was pretty relaxed. About 6 hours of interviews and tours, plus a nice meal or two and maybe a few drinks.
     
  13. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Assistant professor
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    Faculty jobs (TT and non-TT, non-TT usually only about 1.5 days)
    TT was usually:
    -Fly in, get picked by the search committee chair, eat dinner with committee members
    -7:30am-9:30 pm the next day: interviews and research presentation all day
    -More interviews the next day, ending about 1 pm

    Non-TT usually lobbed off the last half day but not always.
     
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    #13 futureapppsy2, Jan 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  14. Seven_Costanza

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    What is the job interview like at the VA? Is it just that they don’t offer foie gras and champagne? :)

    Or are there other aspects that make it more challenging than other settings?
     
  15. WisNeuro

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    I just did teleconference interviews for both VA jobs I had, with some PBI questions. That was pretty much it. I knew the people I was interviewing with somewhat, so it was kind of low-key. But, it was larger VA's, one being a flagship, so there is no negotiation. You just get whatever GS level you are at. Aside from that, we've hashed out the VA difficulties before. Good starting salary, but you quickly fall behind peers after a few years, working within the service compensation where a third to a half of your patients are malingering to some degree, rigid structures, red tape, etc. I'm very happy with my move outside of the system.
     
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  16. Seven_Costanza

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    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It has definitely paralleled a lot of what I’ve heard.
     
  17. psychstudent5

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    I know quite a few psychologists who see the VA as the holy grail given the salary, benefits, and its a qualifying institution for PSLF. I'm curious...which setting do you now work in where the compensation exceeds the VA? Are you in private practice or an AMC?
     
  18. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    Yes TT faculty teaching/research interviews are a different animal. 1-2 full days. I was really worn out after some of those. Usually a job talk and some even required guest lecturing in class. Setting-specific.
     
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  19. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist, Centene Corp
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    I also left the VA...moreso cause I wanted to go a different direction with my career, but also because I had trouble with the rigidity (schedule, nonsensical policies and measures), the monotonous nature of treating VA patients (insomnia, anxiety, depression...repeat over and over and over), service-connection/disability seeking that contaminates clinical work. I also had a weird hang-up about being beholden to appoint times everyday that I had no control over. I maximized the EDRP I was able to get and then left when this expired after 5 years.
     
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  20. Seven_Costanza

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    Is it difficult to get in the EDRP?
     
  21. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist, Centene Corp
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    Yes, generally. It was inexplicably in my job announcement, so I got. This was back in 2013 when they were in a bit of a hiring boom, so maybe that had something to do with it.
     
  22. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I work for a not for profit hospital system. When I left, I got approximately 20% salary increase, similar retirement benefits for 403b. No pension, but they do pay all of my license and ABPP fees, as well as give me extra PTO for CMEs and several thousand dollars to spend on CMEs, computers, etc.
     
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  23. psychstudent5

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    I'm in the interview process for two VA positions and completed my internship at a VA. So I definitely recognize those annoyances.

    Wow! That is great! Thanks for the detailed reply! I tend to think of the VA and DOD as having the best benefits package, but I clearly need to keep in mind and be open to other settings.
     
  24. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Talk to people in many settings to get an idea of what you want. Also, with the VA, my money is on some pretty substantial changes to the pension system in the next decade, and it won't be in the position of being more favorable to employees. They've already been whittling down the pension and it's likely to be continually whittled. Along with who knows how many more COL pay freezes.
     
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  25. ClinicalABA

    Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I can't speak to the VA benefits (still waiting ~10 years later for the call back regarding an interview I had with them!). I'm at a large private group practice (Psych. Assessment and ABA services), and I get a competitive salary (with good incentive bonuses typically between 10-20% of salary), standard health care and contributions, all license and certification fees (I have 3 licenses and one board certification, so that adds up), conference registration/CEU fees (typically 2 regional and one national conference per year, with flight, hotel, and stipend paid for annual conference), student loan payment reimbursement program, mileage, reimbursement for professional liability policy (in addition to coverage on company policy), and a small retirement plan (no match, but they typically will automatically contribute ~3% of salary annually for all employees. Pretty flexible scheduling, and lots of autonomy too, but also easy and quick access to other psychs and allied clinicians for consultation. I also get to (actually- I'm kinda expected to) teach in a separate but affiliated graduate program,with additional stipend. From what I can tell, all better than VA benefits except for retirement/pension. Negatives are that I have to sit in REALLY small chairs (or on the floor) for a good portion of the day, and my clients often yank on my beard.
     
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  26. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Are you........Santa Claus?
     
  27. OP
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    attitudelikeasunrise

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    That certainly sounds like a much more enjoyable process than the internship interview sequence. It's obviously very common to get asked about your dissertation on internship interviews, but do they continue to ask about it on post-doc interviews as well? Or has that ship pretty much sailed by the time you get to that point?
     
  28. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I had people ask me about my research, dissertation and other published works. I was applying to places that still had decent research components, so I was expecting it.
     
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  29. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    Same for me. I had a few folks ask about my dissertation, but some of the other papers I'd worked on were brought up more frequently. I'd say of the places I interviewed, maybe 70-80% asked about or mentioned research in some capacity, even if not discussing my past work specifically.
     
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  30. sacredrage

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    The more generally well regarded the site, the more papers and publications matter. If you're looking at top neuro sites (Harvard, Brown, UCLA, Boston VA, UCSD, Northwestern, etc) then not having significant posters, speaking engagements, and especially publications are going to probably knock you out of the running unless you have some sort of amazing hook (i.e. you are a one armed native american trans war vet) or you have an in at the instution through personal or advisor relationships.

    At less research focused universities (though, there aren't many of these with neuro since neuro is inherently a research focused field), the emphasis on publications is diminished.
     
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  31. OP
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    attitudelikeasunrise

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    hahaha I don't have a whole lot to offer in the way of multicultural anomalies...so it looks like more research is the best option for me :)
     

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