Meeting w/ head of department in specialty of interest. How do I proceed?

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by Soulidaulph, 09.24.14.

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  1. Soulidaulph

    Soulidaulph

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    I am very interested in a specialty that is a very small field. I am meeting with the head of the department at our school in two weeks and would like to discuss shadowing and research opportunities. I want to cut to the chase and express that I want to become involved w/ clinical research and more extensively over the summer between m1/m2. How should I approach this? I want to be clear of my intentions as far as publications go but dont want to come on too strong. Any advice on anything else we should talk about?
     
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  3. Soulidaulph

    Soulidaulph

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    to clarify, i have 3 years of experience in research in this field from undergrad
     
  4. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Use your words and people skills. Let your enthusiasm show. Don't overthink it. You'll be fine.
     
  5. WaylonS

    WaylonS 2+ Year Member

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    Don't put the cart before the horse. Unless your UG research was clinical, you may realize that you actually hate the day-to-day operations of this specialty. Shadow a few times and see if you like it because there is nothing worse than a studnt who commits to a research project and doesn't follow through/half-asses it
     
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  6. Soulidaulph

    Soulidaulph

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    Sorry about that, I should have clarified. I have about 300 hours of shadowing from highschool/undergrad. About 50 of those hours were in this specialty at both academic and private hospitals. I know that there is always a chance I will change my mind, but I'm pretty sure this is what I want to pursue.
     
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  7. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Step one: Tell them you are very interested in specialty XX
    Step two: Provide your background and why you are interested in the specialty; limit the amount that you reference high school and undergrad shadowing as a reason for being interested as most will immediately discount this
    Step three: Discuss briefly the type of research you have done and what skills you have from a research perspective
    Step four: Ask what faculty in his department he would suggest as productive research mentors

    Before the meeting you should already have researched who the productive researchers are and talk to upperclassmen for advice about who people have worked with before.

    Do not make any explicit references to or discussion of wanting publications as this is the obvious end goal of any student seeking research opportunities.
     
  8. Soulidaulph

    Soulidaulph

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    So why is it a bad idea to reference the shadowing I did last year? ( i am a ms1) I can understand highschool but why college?
     
  9. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    It's a weird double standard.

    To get in you have to make shadowing seem like the most special profound life changing experience of your life.

    Once you get in, shadowing is diminished and considered a superficial reason to choose a field.
     
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  10. Soulidaulph

    Soulidaulph

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    Ok that makes sense but it seems silly as my interest in the field is through experiencing the field which is from shadowing. I guess i'll just focus more about what in that field is interesting to me and my research.
     
  11. jw3600

    jw3600 2+ Year Member

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    Another ****ty catch 22 for medical students.
     
  12. operaman

    operaman 5+ Year Member

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    SouthernIM has it right above. Just talk to him like a normal human being; it's not rocket science. A good rule of thumb is that you should do more asking than telling. Ask about the department, who he would recommend as mentors, suggestions for research during the summer, etc. Every decent dept chair out there knows what's up and knows what students need to match in these smaller uber-competitive fields. You may even want to ask his thoughts on this very subject and what sort of things you can do now to make yourself a better applicant down the line. Ask which faculty he thinks would be great letter writers down the road with lots of national pull.

    The publication/authorship conversation is something you should have with your mentors/PIs individually, not with the chair. And I ALWAYS clarify authorship plans/expectations before lifting a finger on a project. Again, this is expected and everyone knows that publications and authorship are basically academic currency so you can discuss it openly as professional adults.

    In the end, I think the goals coming out of a meeting like this should be:
    1) Make a good first impression as a polite, intelligent, interested, and ambitious young student
    2) Make your face and story vaguely familiar to him for when you're back on service as an MS3/4
    3) Learn about the department and what's available for students
    4) Have a plan for next steps as far as who you will contact for mentors, projects, etc.

    Bravo to you for taking the initiative and making these connections early. If you had the gumption to set up the meeting, you've probably got the chops to make a great impression.
     
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  13. Soulidaulph

    Soulidaulph

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    Thanks for the advice! I appreciate everyones messages. You only get one chance to make a first impression so I just wanted to make sure I knew what i was doing.
     
  14. MalloryWeiss

    MalloryWeiss ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    out of curiosity, what field is are we talking about?
     

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