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MD in research and alternatives

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MindCastle15, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. MindCastle15

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    Ok, I've posted here before on roughly the same topic, but please bear with me! :p I am taking a gap year (after high school) right now, and am seriously confused about some stuff! (Indecision is one of my biggest problems :p) I KNOW what I want to do, but Idk how to go about it :( I am basically interested in medical research- genetics, autism, neuroscience, alzheimer's, molecular biology, pharma- these fascinate me. I LOVE chemistry, like bio a lot too, HATE physics, and maths is ok, I guess, but DEFINITELY not one of my stronger points. I love psychology too, even if I've never studied it in school. My computer skills are nil (for some reasons, I've missed out, long story, but I'm definitely excited to learn.) So starting with that, I have a few questions:
    1) Can MDs do basic science research, if they choose to? I've done my research,so I want to know about routes OTHER than getting a PhD (after MD)
    2) Also, can MDs work in biotech and pharma companies? In R&D- specifically? And what kind of work do they do- is it just overseeing, or do they have a part in the actual research- (NOT there to bring in patients, or for clinical trials or something?) I should mention that, for now, I've decided that if I DO study medicine, I'll specialise in pathology, so is it a good way to get into basic science research? (Also, does any1 specialise in pharmacology?)
    3) I love teaching too, (its one of my passions) so going into academia is fine with me. Even if I don't have a PhD/ research experience, is it possible to do relevant research after being a professor? Also, how hard is it to become a professor at a medical college?
    4) I am not too interested in seeing patients (unless you count going to Africa and helping underprivileged children ;) ) Many might ask why I'm not thinking about the PhD route- this is mainly because if I ever get tired of research (I've been told this is quite possible), I will have an alternative. And I prefer seeing patients to a lot of other jobs. Its not that I hate talking to patients or something- its just. mundane. More on that later.
    5) Also, I've heard that PhDs in life sciences (specially) have a very hard time of it nowadays. How is the job market for PhDs in say, chemistry? Or bioenginering? I'm asking specifically for biotech/pharma companies. After the depressing stuff I read on the internet about academia, maybe I'll be better off in industry anyway.
    How is bioengineering as a pre-med degree? Also- psychology? I actually looked at the medicine syllabus- I know I'd love everything in the pre-clinical years- the only things stopping me are the clinical (seeing patients) parts of medicine.
    here are a few other criteria that I'd like in a job
    1) No desk jobs. I like being active, not staring at a computer screen all day. This is another reason why I steered clear of engineering (both my parents are highly qualified engineers- EE, and ChE) and they seem to have pretty mundane jobs :p Just my thought. They, obv, think differently.
    2) Its been one of my dream to work in a lab, or hospital lab, or teach. Though ONE thing I am not too sure about is i I can handle dead bodies and blood etc :p Does everyone learn? Are there any students who drop out on this count?
    3)Also< i have this dream of travelling around the world :) - is that feasible in medicine? How about other jobs in pharma/biotech?
    4) Another question: I apologize if this offends anyone. The impression I've got from watching a lot of doctors is that the average doctor identifies symptoms x,y,z-which means they have so-and-so disease-so they must take so and so medicine. Its like following a formula. No analytical thinking, or critical skills. Is this true? Please answer honestly- I know that prescribing that medicine takes years and years of study, but at the end of it, is there really much thinking, or intellect involved? I want a job that challenges me intellectually and creatively, has variety and makes me think new things everyday. Mundane is literally my enemy- I like surprises everyday- and unpredictability, i thrive on it- give me a routine, and I get bored. Very easily :p This is the same reason i would like flexible job timings.
    If I really love it, the amount of time I spend on studying doesn't matter to me. (Altho MD-PhD is a little tooo long) Grad school is ok. The money is not the most imp factor for me, but I would like having enough ;) I'm just scared of landing in a job where I will only have a passing interest in my work. I'm passionate about everything I do, and I'd like to stay that way.
    So any thoughts on the best careers for me? Am I right to pursue med school? I know its ultimately my decision in the end, but if anyone could point me in the right direction (eg: MD or not MD) it would really, really help. I'm relatively new here, but from previous posts, I've got amazing responses- I really love this forum :D
     
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  3. ChrisMack390

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    4) I am not too interested in seeing patients


    Wrong career.
     
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  4. MindCastle15

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    Ugh...this is so long mybe I should have split it into 2 questions...thanks so much for ur patience :( I forgot to mention I'm interested in public health/epi as well
     
    #3 MindCastle15, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  5. ChrisMack390

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    I can't answer your question about other careers, but if the idea of seeing patients is so unappealing/uninteresting, don't put yourself through med school.
     
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  6. MindCastle15

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    As I stated in my post, I prefer patient interaction infinitely more than careers in any other field (except the ones I mentioned, of course)- it is not exactly "unappealing". I love helping people, and I'm a caring person by nature- its just not something I want to go on doing my entire life. And how is pathology as a specialty with less patient interaction?
     
  7. Petrichor1

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    Who said that phds are having a hard time obtaining a job? (they have a hard time obtaining faculty and tenure positions). Yea in life sciences it may be tough but why not go into biotechnology or material engineering route? I know you don't like physics but the job offers will set you in for life.
     
  8. ChrisMack390

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    Sure, path and radio don't interact with patients a ton. However, if you go to a med school interview and tell them you aren't interested in seeing patients, you will not be accepted. If you lie you will be unsuccessful.
     
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  9. mimelim

    mimelim Vascular Surgery
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    The best career choice for you is to go to college. You know to learn things since you know nothing about medical school or any of these careers that you are talking about. How about you start there...
     
  10. cantankerous

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    As you get further and further into academia and research, you'll find that you'll be sitting at a desk more and more. I've never seen a PI do lab work unless that lab is severely understaffed (which is occurring more and more often due to the lack of funds in the sciences).

    As for international work, there is plenty. Unpaid, but abundant.
     
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  11. MindCastle15

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    I was talking about faculty jobs too- thats why I wanted o know about the job market in industry. Biotech/Pharma/ Biopharma-R&D- which degrees do they usually look for in an applicant? Bio/Chem/Bioengineering/Pharma?
     
  12. gothicfoxes

    gothicfoxes MD & MPH goals
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    Have you ever dissected anything, particularly a cat?

    Absolutely false. You'll encounter patients who have multiple ailments and you're going to need to figure out which illness is causing what.

    My grandmother died of complications from sepsis, a secondary infection (likely meningitis), RA, an aneurysm, and 5 other diseases I do not want to mention. She had a host of symptoms, all of which were conflicting and made a treatment plan exceptionally difficult to develop. During her last 2 weeks her doctors did nothing but analytical thinking to determine the cause of her rapid decline. Her death/hospice timeline stumped her multidisciplinary team of doctors, and she was cared for at a top teaching hospital.
     
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  13. Goro

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    Yes.
    1) Can MDs do basic science research, if they choose to? I've done my research,so I want to know about routes OTHER than getting a PhD (after MD)

    Yes.
    2) Also, can MDs work in biotech and pharma companies? In R&D- specifically? And what kind of work do they do- is it just overseeing, or do they have a part in the actual research- (NOT there to bring in patients, or for clinical trials or something?) I should mention that, for now, I've decided that if I DO study medicine, I'll specialise in pathology, so is it a good way to get into basic science research? (Also, does any1 specialise in pharmacology?)

    Define "after being a professor". Do you mean "once I become a faculty member?" Or "After I finished my teaching career?"
    3) I love teaching too, (its one of my passions) so going into academia is fine with me. Even if I don't have a PhD/ research experience, is it possible to do relevant research after being a professor?

    For a PhD? Hard, but not impossible. You have to be in the right place at the right time. For an MD? Not too hard, but it depends upon at what level. PI and running a lab, while seeing some patients? Moderately difficult to hard. Being a clinical preceptor. Easy.

    Also, how hard is it to become a professor at a medical

    You're not interested in seeing patients, but in case you stop doing research, you'll see patients? This is a piss poor reason for considering Medicine and you'd hate it.

    4) I am not too interested in seeing patients (unless you count going to Africa and helping underprivileged children ;) ) Many might ask why I'm not thinking about the PhD route- this is mainly because if I ever get tired of research (I've been told this is quite possible), I will have an alternative. And I prefer seeing patients to a lot of other jobs. Its not that I hate talking to patients or something- its just. mundane. More on that later.


    True. Grants are hard to come by.

    5) Also, I've heard that PhDs in life sciences (specially) have a very hard time of it nowadays.

    Look at the back pages of Science, on the web in Science Jobs, or any other trade journal.
    How is the job market for PhDs in say, chemistry? Or bioenginering? I'm asking specifically for biotech/pharma companies.

    In academia, at least you can get tenure. If some MBA decides your project doesn't have any future, then you're unemployed.
    After the depressing stuff I read on the internet about academia, maybe I'll be better off in industry anyway.

    Adcoms don't care what your major is, only that you do well. Any field of study that helps you with Plan B is a good one. But psychologists are a glutted profession nowadays.

    How is bioengineering as a pre-med degree? Also- psychology? I actually looked at the medicine syllabus- I know I'd love everything in the pre-clinical years- the only things stopping me are the clinical (seeing patients) parts of medicine.
    here are a few other criteria that I'd like in a job


    Maybe on the Planet Zool they don't, but here on Earth, doctors still have lots of paperwork to do.

    1) No desk jobs. I like being active, not staring at a computer screen all day. This is another reason why I steered clear of engineering (both my parents are highly qualified engineers- EE, and ChE) and they seem to have pretty mundane jobs :p Just my thought. They, obv, think differently.

    They learn.
    2) Its been one of my dream to work in a lab, or hospital lab, or teach. Though ONE thing I am not too sure about is i I can handle dead bodies and blood etc :p Does everyone learn?

    Nope. Dropping out of med school is usually due to physical or mental issues.
    Are there any students who drop out on this count?


    Not practically. I used to dream about being a fighter pilot.
    3)Also< i have this dream of travelling around the world :) - is that feasible in medicine? How about other jobs in pharma/biotech?

    Many diagnoses are empiric, and the thinking is like flowcharting, and Medicine also means knowing more and more about less and less. BUT but it's not always that way, and you have to be prepared for anything and everything.

    4) Another question: I apologize if this offends anyone. The impression I've got from watching a lot of doctors is that the average doctor identifies symptoms x,y,z-which means they have so-and-so disease-so they must take so and so medicine. Its like following a formula. No analytical thinking, or critical skills. Is this true? Please answer honestly- I know that prescribing that medicine takes years and years of study, but at the end of it, is there really much thinking, or intellect involved? I want a job that challenges me intellectually and creatively, has variety and makes me think new things everyday. Mundane is literally my enemy- I like surprises everyday- and unpredictability, i thrive on it- give me a routine, and I get bored. Very easily :p This is the same reason i would like flexible job timings.
    If I really love it, the amount of time I spend on studying doesn't matter to me. (Altho MD-PhD is a little tooo long)



    Go to grad school. You don't even need a PhD, just get a research MS and be a Lab Mgr or tech. You'll be in demand for the next 50 years.
    Grad school is ok. The money is not the most imp factor for me, but I would like having enough ;) I'm just scared of landing in a job where I will only have a passing interest in my work. I'm passionate about everything I do, and I'd like to stay that way.
    So any thoughts on the best careers for me?


    Nope.
    Am I right to pursue med school? I know its ultimately my decision in the end, but if anyone could point me in the right direction (eg: MD or not MD) it would really, really help. I'm relatively new here, but from previous posts, I've got amazing responses- I really love this forum :D
     
  14. studentdocftw

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    Not sure medicine is the right path for you...1) you don't enjoy patient interaction...2) you have an issue with staring at a computer screen all day....if you pursue medicine...outside of patient interaction...you will be charting in the EMR the majority of the day (unless you are lucky enough to have a scribe ;) )...which requires staring at a computer screen. 3) traveling around the world as a physician? only a select few get to do that. 4) "the only thing stopping me are the clinical parts of medicine"...that is literally the opposite of what is needed to pursue medicine...most med students dread year 1/2..and are so excited to finally put their knowledge to work and interacting with patients in 3/4. To me, you shouldn't pursue medicine...go PhD/research route..and do what you are truly love.
     
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  15. ac62994

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    You're asking all the right questions and hopefully you'll find more customized answers as you start your College career shadowing/researching/etc. because mindsets change rather quickly from High School to College.

    There isn't going to be one job that checks all the things you've listed and you'll learn this as you go. Don't lose that vigor!
     
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  16. Doug Underhill

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    Ph.Ds in biology can find jobs- my field has a 0% unemployment rate. However, many of these jobs pay around $50-70k. Tenure-track faculty positions are fiercely competitive: 12.5% of our postdocs go on to achieve one.
     
  17. Goro

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    Given the length and degree of PhD training, being a professional post-doc is not optimal. Far better to get a MS and be a research tech or lab mgr.

     
    #16 Goro, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  18. avgn

    avgn Lv 30, HP 85
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    How to do work if no use desk and computer
    How to know what you like when you have done nothing
    How to plan life when 17 years old
    How to not overload SDN with countless open-ended questions

    You are far too premature, OP. You need exposure to the fields you're daydreaming about before you can cure your "indecisiveness" that's really a product of not being informed at all. You cannot possibly know you're interested in so many things when you have no experience. Wanna tell me what you like about epidemiology? What's your favorite basic science research technique? What mode of inquiry does psychology invoke and why does it fit you? You can't answer those questions because you don't know anything. This is not your fault as a teenager. But asking these questions with no basic prior knowledge is useless.
     
    #17 avgn, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
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  19. MindCastle15

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    About 1) and 2)- thank you! But how do they usually go about it? Is a post-doc necessary?
    3) I mean, after I become a faculty member!
    4) Ok, about seeing patients- most of my views come from watching a general practitioner (my grandfather)- he loved his job and the patient interaction- but most of his patients were of this type- "I have a stomachache" "I have a headache" and then it turned out to be flu or something,-well, not very interesting. BUT I think if he was a neurologist, or like my pediatrician who also treats kids with down's syndrome- I would prob find patients more interesting then, I would be more interested in learning about them. I'm a good listener, but not the comforting types, and really shy and introverted. I can't really say unless I have more experience, obv :p The reason I'm actually thinking so much about it right now is because I'm an US citizen living in India, and here in India (also in UK, where I'll be applying) medicine is an undergrad degree!! I'd rather not go into details here, becos its really complicated. The reason I'm applying to the US at all is because I'm so unsure. (and also cos' I'm a citizen) If I'd been 100% sure about medicine, I would have gone with UK/India, instead of spending so much time and money studying in the US. This is for the benefit of all those who think I should be worrying about all this later, too.
    About psychology and travelling the world and 4)- thanks for the tip! :)
    Lab manager..hmm, I'll have to look into that. But working in R&D in a pharma company sounds good to me!
     
  20. MindCastle15

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    Please see my reply to @Goro.
     
  21. MindCastle15

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    How about the jobs in biotech/pharma- R &D? Are those fiercely competitive as well?
     
  22. MindCastle15

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    Thank you for your input! :) I'll keep that in mind.
     
  23. intangible

    intangible a tiny existentialist
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    If you want to work in industry, a PhD in the life sciences is probably the most feasible path for you. I think that even physician scientists (MD/PhD) maintain some kind of clinical presence. If clinical work isn't something you want to do, an MD isn't really in your alley—and that's totally OK.

    Not everyone wants to be a doctor, which is kind of a taboo thing to talk about here.
     
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  24. Goro

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  25. MindCastle15

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    Thanks a lot for your help today :)
     
  26. sovereign0

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    It's always good to have an idea of what you want to do in the future, but it can be very bad if you get tunnel vision and fail to consider other routes. College is the time to actually EXPLORE those other routes so you can determine which path you want to take.

    There is a reason that medical school admissions place so much emphasis on your experiences, and it isn't because they want to laugh as you jump through hoops. The experiences which are valued so highly (clinical experience, service, shadowing, research, etc) your chance to get involved in activities which test your fit with a career in medicine. You say that you don't want to see patients because it is mundane. What evidence do you have of that? Just watching your grandfather, who seems to be a primary care physician? Have you shadowed a specialist? Actually worked with patients? I'd be interested to find a ER Doc or trauma surgeon working at an urban level 1 trauma center who thinks that seeing patients is mundane.

    I don't want to go off on too much of a tangent, so I summarize. You are very young, and don't have any meaningful experiences to decide whether or not you want to be a physician. You should use college to get experience and make that decision - that's what college is for.
     
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  27. Glazedonutlove

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    Medicine is not an undergrad degree in those countries because they go straight to med school from high school
     
  28. MindCastle15

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    So umm...isn't that an undergraduate degree? :p
     
  29. Glazedonutlove

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    Med school is not undergrad
     
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  30. MindCastle15

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    I understand what you mean...but if you've read one of my replies above- are you saying that, given my preferences, it will be a better idea for me to study in the US for 4 more years + incur expenses of med school rather than studying medicine in undergrad in UK? I'm just trying to summarize here...if I continue in bio/pharma related areas instead of medicine it makes sense, but otherwise it seems a hefty price to pay for indecision :( your thoughts? :)
     
  31. MindCastle15

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    One other question: There are passions that I want to pursue both during and after college-I've learnt the violin for 10+ years, and I want to learn the cello and piano as well :) Are these unrealistic expectations if I choose a career in medicine?
     
  32. avgn

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    Yes, it is unrealistic to think you will have any time to learn any sort of instrument from the ground up in college. Keeping up with an instrument is difficult enough; you will not have the time to learn something new. This has nothing to do with choosing a career in medicine.

    I don't think you've gotten the message yet...you are thinking too far ahead way too early. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you'll stop wasting time thinking 10 years in advance when you don't even know where you'll be in 3 years. Life changes, don't try to fight it.
     
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  33. raindropx

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    go to college, kid!
    you can find people to ask these questions there during volunteering and shadowing. and I like how you have ignored the multiple people here telling you the same thing (in addition to not going into medicine at all since you dislike patient contact...)
     
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  34. sovereign0

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    I'm saying that you need to get the experiences under your belt so you can make a semi-informed decision on whether or not you want to practice medicine.

    If you ever want to practice in the US, you'll have to go to school here.
     
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  35. Law2Doc

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    Everything the OP has written strongly screams that he should absolutely not pursue medicine (in any country). He wants to do bench work, doesn't want to see patients and sees medicine as a nice back up if he ever gets bored of science or has issues finding work. Of the list of bad reasons to go into medicine his is among the worst. He should get a PhD in whatever -ology interests him most and do what he enjoys. I don't see anyone putting up with overnight calls on the wards just to have a backup if they get bored running gels, sorry.
     
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  36. raindropx

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    Agreed with above. Op, do research and learn your piano and cello and whatnot. I feel that your parents may be pushing you toward medicine but it's not right for you.
     
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  37. MindCastle15

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    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    You are kind of right there :/ They're not forcing me or something, but STRONGLY hinting that pursuing medicine will be a better idea. Since I am (slightly) interested in medicine...I wanted to know if it is in any way suitable for me. Apparently not, if I follow everyone's advice here. Maybe I'll see in 4 more years?
     

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