Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
May 26, 2007
Attending Physician
Alright, I'm a first year medical student and I've been trying for almost a semester to get an Ortho research project lined up. That hasn't worked out very well, because apparently everyone else had the same idea and it's sort of hard to get the Ortho department to return your calls. There is a very good chance I could get involved in some FM research, and a not as good but still not terrible chance I could get involved with Plastics research. In terms of my chances of matching into ortho: should I do the FM/Plastics research or hold out for ortho? Would doing plastics research be any better than FM for matching into Ortho?

I realize this is looking ahead, but I figured since it takes such a long time to go from the start of a research project to a publication I'd better start now. I'm pretty sure that I can't handle more than one research project at a time on top of medical school, and I won't back out of commitments, so if I start on FM reserach I'd pretty much be stuck with that. Not that I'm not sure that I'd want to FM anyway, but of the options I'm considering I think Ortho is the only one that would require me to do research in medical school to match.

Thank you in advance for any advice.


10+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2008
Medical Student
I hate first-year medical students who think they know what field they're going into. You and half your class wants orthopedics, yet at application time about 6 will actually apply. You'll simply have no idea what you're talking about until you're almost through with third year.

So don't pursue something so specific as ortho research, or else when (or just in case...!!) you choose to do something different it will count for next-to-nothing. Do research in immunology, or clinical IM research, or genetics. These things are applicable to all fields and will help you no matter what.


Fading away
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 12, 2006
I realize this is looking ahead, but I figured since it takes such a long time to go from the start of a research project to a publication I'd better start now.
Your thinking is right on.

I'm not an attending, so obviously I can't speak with any real authority, but I will tell you that as a student, I did nephrology and pediatric research. I got into Ortho.

I got the impression in my interviews that it was more important to show that I was interested in research and able to do it effectively, rather than the particular research that I did.
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Bacteria? Don't exist.
10+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2006
Land of Entrapment
Attending Physician
When I was an M1 and looking for ortho research, I spoke with one of the ortho attendings who usually had projects, but he didn't my year. He told me that just doing the research was good to show interest in it, like Tired said. He gave an example of looking for research in radiology and then applying it to ortho when explaining it at interviews. On the interview trail, I've had to talk about my college research which was immunology and my med school research which ended up being ortho.


15+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2003
Visit site
I agree with the above posts. It's doesn't matter that it's ortho, just that you have shown interest in research and understand the research process. Most of all you just want something to be able to talk about on your interviews when the topic of research comes up. I did research on proteins in undergrad and neurosurgery research (because the ortho projects were taken) in medical school.
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