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Keeping up with medical school content during PhD

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natxbug

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I'm getting ready to start my PhD work next week and I was wondering if anyone had any advice about staying on top of medical school content during my graduate school years. The department I'm going into streamlines a lot of requirements for MD/PhD students, so I'm looking at a 2-3 year "stint in the joint".

I appreciate any advice (or links to relevant threads).

Thanks!
 

Shifty B

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It's basically not worth staying on top of anything except your PhD work. Your goal is to get a few high quality papers and graduate as quickly as possible. Anything that takes away from that is wasting time. Once you finish your defense, then you can read some quick reviews before going back.
 

gutonc

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It's basically not worth staying on top of anything except your PhD work. Your goal is to get a few high quality papers and graduate as quickly as possible. Anything that takes away from that is wasting time. Once you finish your defense, then you can read some quick reviews before going back.

^^^This. Your job for the next 2-4 years is to get a PhD. You should be focused on that.

Nobody is prepared for their first day of M3...nobody. You will be marginally less prepared, but most places will cut you a little slack (at least for your first rotation). But the disconnect between pre-clinical education and clinical rotations is so vast that vanishingly little of what you learn in M1/2 will be directly relevant to M3/4. The background will be massively important...but you'll remember that. I'm not sure what the kids are using these days but a day spent reading FA for Rotation X or Step Up to Rotation Y immediately before starting, will be enough to get you on the same page.
 

solitude

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I'm getting ready to start my PhD work next week and I was wondering if anyone had any advice about staying on top of medical school content during my graduate school years. The department I'm going into streamlines a lot of requirements for MD/PhD students, so I'm looking at a 2-3 year "stint in the joint".

I appreciate any advice (or links to relevant threads).

Thanks!


Agree with above, with the exception that I found an easy way to keep reasonably up to date is to read the NEJM every week, especially the clinical practice review and the case discussion. Takes less than an hour, can do it during commute, etc. but will keep a lot of stuff fresh in your head. Otherwise, do nothing.
 

debateg

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When I did my PhD, I always thought that the transition from PhD to MD would be difficult because of my lack of knowledge about medicine, as I had forgotten a tremendous amount during my time in lab. That was true, but it wasn't the reason that the transition was hard.

The transition was hard because the culture and process of the PhD is so dramatically different than the lab. As you transition from M2 to PhD, you will find that there also is a culture shock. You almost certainly will not know what is going on, you will spend a lot of time confused, failing, and struggling. Most good labs understand this and help you through it.

The transition from PhD to M3 is similar. You still are confused, failing, and struggling because you do not understand the process of the service your on, the hierarchies, basic protocols (e.g. where echocardiograms are in the system, which fax machines don't work), or even your role on the team. But unlike the lab, your rotation is anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks, so you're being judged for your performance in a very narrow timeframe. And of course, it's not entirely clear what you're supposed to do, as most M3s are extraneous to the team. It's like rotating through a new lab every 2 weeks and being expected to be self directed and entirely functional. On top of that, you're being judged against your peers who have been doing this for several months more than you and are more savvy.

If I had to do it again, find yourself a few mentors who are M3s or M4s and shadow them on a regular basis. Actually making this happen is very difficult.
 
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