Prometheus123

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So I've been hanging out with this circadian lab group at my hospital, and I'm about to start volunteering there. The PI told me that if they get this grant in September, and if they like my performance in the volunteer role, they'd be interested in me coming on as a part-time or full-time RA.

I do need to get a job. I've been Uber driving for the past few years to accommodate school, but I should have less Herculean course loads from here on out (unless I decide to break the 3.4 cGPA barrier in time for next cycle). But wouldn't it be better to get a paid clinical job? My premed friend is really trying to sell me on working as a ZoomCare associate (they do a lot of basic things like phlebotomy). Then again, after reading all these employee complaints against them, that might not be the best paid clinical option.

The pay for a ZoomCare is $14/hr. The average full-time RA salary in my city is about $51,000/yr. That's like a real sort-of middle-class salary, isn't it? I also really like the people in the lab and I enjoy learning from the physicians and scientists on the team directly. I would only do it part-time, so I wouldn't get nearly that much, but still.

But...won't some sort of paid clinical work just give me more of an edge next year if I need to reapply than working in a lab?
 

sat0ri

Everything we see hides another
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Great question and quick question to you first--are you sure you'll be offered a research associate position vs a research assistant salary (both are RA's, research associates are often 'post-doctoral' or 'post doc' positions). 51k/yr is very, very livable and pretty average for middle class americans (even those in there 40's and 50's). I think you might be getting ahead of yourself, has the PI confirmed and even given you the slightest inlking of what your salary may be?

In general, I'd say clinical is more valuable than basic science for most med schools and pre-meds. However, being a phlebotomists isn't going to be the greatest clinical experience. I think clinical positions are valuable because they give you an idea of what a doctor's day is like, as well as give adcoms a chance to see if you can walk the walk in the clinical life for a prolonged period of time. So something where you're more invovled in medical decision making (eg, Scribe, EMT) or at least understanding it. The circadian lab sounds a bit clinical (I'm thinking sleep medicine), unless you're doing cellular work or something.
 
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Prometheus123

Prometheus123

Membership Revoked
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5+ Year Member
May 9, 2013
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Pre-Medical
Great question and quick question to you first--are you sure you'll be offered a research associate position vs a research assistant salary (both are RA's, research associates are often 'post-doctoral' or 'post doc' positions). 51k/yr is very, very livable and pretty average for middle class americans (even those in there 40's and 50's). I think you might be getting ahead of yourself, has the PI confirmed and even given you the slightest inlking of what your salary may be?

In general, I'd say clinical is more valuable than basic science for most med schools and pre-meds. However, being a phlebotomists isn't going to be the greatest clinical experience. I think clinical positions are valuable because they give you an idea of what a doctor's day is like, as well as give adcoms a chance to see if you can walk the walk in the clinical life for a prolonged period of time. So something where you're more invovled in medical decision making (eg, Scribe, EMT) or at least understanding it. The circadian lab sounds a bit clinical (I'm thinking sleep medicine), unless you're doing cellular work or something.
Research assistant is what I would guess based on your description, because I am anything but post-doc.

And yes, this is all very tentative and up in the air still at the moment. It is not at all a for sure thing that the lab will get the grant that will make hiring me possible. And it's also dependent on a volunteer trial period, which I haven't really started yet (I've just been going to the weekly lab meeting and journal club meetings and hanging out basically). But it's clear they want it to work. And I do too. But I have to be smart and think about what's strategic for next cycle, my perspective on which has been improved on quite a bit recently thanks to the good folks on SDN.

The lab studies (sort of) healthy people sleeping in the lab. So it's human research, but that doesn't count as clinical, does it?

What you're saying about seeing the doctor's day makes a lot of sense. Scribing does sound like an exceptionally good option from that perspective. I'm pretty sure I could get a gig doing that. I'll think more about that and maybe just stick with volunteering 8 hours once a week at the lab. Thanks! :)
 
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Dr. Stalker

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So I've been hanging out with this circadian lab group at my hospital, and I'm about to start volunteering there. The PI told me that if they get this grant in September, and if they like my performance in the volunteer role, they'd be interested in me coming on as a part-time or full-time RA.

I do need to get a job. I've been Uber driving for the past few years to accommodate school, but I should have less Herculean course loads from here on out (unless I decide to break the 3.4 cGPA barrier in time for next cycle). But wouldn't it be better to get a paid clinical job? My premed friend is really trying to sell me on working as a ZoomCare associate (they do a lot of basic things like phlebotomy). Then again, after reading all these employee complaints against them, that might not be the best paid clinical option.

The pay for a ZoomCare is $14/hr. The average full-time RA salary in my city is about $51,000/yr. That's like a real sort-of middle-class salary, isn't it? I also really like the people in the lab and I enjoy learning from the physicians and scientists on the team directly. I would only do it part-time, so I wouldn't get nearly that much, but still.

But...won't some sort of paid clinical work just give me more of an edge next year if I need to reapply than working in a lab?
Interesting dilemma. The two things you should be considering are:
1. Payment - clearly you need compensation for your work and life, given our PMs, you're not some college kid whose mommy/daddy lets them run up the credit card bill
2. Work Schedule - If you're taking a hell courseload, hours of work can be a nightmare, and can be better spent studying for a huge test/writing a paper.

Either of the two jobs you mentioned should be alright; I see the issue of doing a research job and not a clinical job, however, to my knowledge, at an interview, so long as you can articulate yourself, you should be fine. A friend of mine from college is now a MS2 and spent his time working as a pharmacy technician cause he was making $30/hour, despite it being like, pharmacy and not pre-med work (such as scribing). I think either will work for you, but decide it based on the two aforementioned points, not which will look better for applications.
 
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