Question for med students regarding research/residency

mwalker394

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This question has probably been asked before, but I searched and didn't find anything that directly answered my question.

I'm about to enter MS1 and have a non-science job lined up for the summer (nanny--I need money!). However, for the summer after MS1, I have been planning a trip around Europe with an Italian friend of mine. As Italy is the main country we'll be visiting, it seems like a once in a lifetime trip. However, I know research is pretty important for residency programs. I don't know what specialty I'll choose, but I'd like the OPTION of trying for a competitive one. Is that summer pretty much my only time to do research? Is my trip totally out of the question if I want a competitive edge? Is research absolutely required?

*The med student forum said not to post this there, which is why I'm posting it here.
 

whoknows2012

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It really depends. You have to weigh your options because summer after MS1 isn't the ONLY time for research but it is the easiest time to complete it. If you definitely want to do something competitive then I would say some kind of research is basically a must. On the other hand just wanting to have the option of the competitive residencies is a different story and you'll need to think about how to proceed. Throughout medical school you will have to make many sacrifices whether it be socially or economically, etc, however, not taking this once in a lifetime trip doesn't seem like a sacrifice I would want to make, however, I have no interest in the uber competitive residencies. BTW I am an MS1 and this summer I will be working at a summer camp making a decent amount of money as well as enjoying myself.
 

Law2Doc

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This question has probably been asked before, but I searched and didn't find anything that directly answered my question.

I'm about to enter MS1 and have a non-science job lined up for the summer (nanny--I need money!). However, for the summer after MS1, I have been planning a trip around Europe with an Italian friend of mine. As Italy is the main country we'll be visiting, it seems like a once in a lifetime trip. However, I know research is pretty important for residency programs. I don't know what specialty I'll choose, but I'd like the OPTION of trying for a competitive one. Is that summer pretty much my only time to do research? Is my trip totally out of the question if I want a competitive edge? Is research absolutely required?

*The med student forum said not to post this there, which is why I'm posting it here.
The more competitive specialties like to see research. So most (but not all) med students use this first year summer to do research. If you end up being a strong student in med school, it may be possible to squeeze in some amount of research during your "spare" time first or second year. You may find you really need that time to study or de-stress however, so it's not realistic for everyone. It's also possible, if you decide on a competitive path, to take a year off after third year and do targeted research. I know a few folks who did this and they managed to get a few publications and it seemed to help them get to their goal. Not everyone has the stomach to prolong med school though.

FWIW, life is full of those "once in a lifetime" things. I used to say that a lot until I realized that for every cool thing you miss out on, there's another cooler one around the bend. So don't psych yourself out on this kind of thing.
 

typhoonegator

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I got paid to do research in the summer after MS1. Couldn't you look for a summer research internship that helped to pay the bills as well as get some publications?
 

mwalker394

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I got paid to do research in the summer after MS1. Couldn't you look for a summer research internship that helped to pay the bills as well as get some publications?
Well my school does offer summer research programs. However, I've already committed to working as a nanny this summer. I suppose I could back out of that, but I'm not sure... so that leaves only next summer. I would earn money and all of that, but I'm just a little concerned/bummed out about missing out on my trip.
I guess I just wasn't sure how many med students actually do a lot of research.
 

drizzt3117

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This just depends. My brother did absolutely nothing the summer after m1, did a little research between 3rd and 4th year and got a podium presentation, poster, and pub out of it (4 total research experiences including a pub he had in ug) and matched into a top 5 academic program in a very competitive surgical specialty. Then again, he had > 265 step, aoa, and nrmp average research experiences for his specialty was 4.5. There's so many factors that go into it. If you have your heart set on rad onc, then you'd probably get in the lab as soon as you can. peds/fam med? Not so much.
 

thesauce

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Well my school does offer summer research programs. However, I've already committed to working as a nanny this summer. I suppose I could back out of that, but I'm not sure... so that leaves only next summer. I would earn money and all of that, but I'm just a little concerned/bummed out about missing out on my trip.
I guess I just wasn't sure how many med students actually do a lot of research.
So long as you're committed to fitting in research at some point, I would go on the trip. I really doubt the summer after MSI will make-or-break competitive residency pursuits. If you're concerned about it down the road, you can look into one of the year-off research programs that law2doc spoke of. I personally did one and had a fantastic time. But even that will probably be unnecessary.
 

TexasPhysician

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How much time do you find you have during the school year? I found ample time to do research during the school years, so I didn't need the summer to do it. Writing up a case report isn't time intensive.
 
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If I took a year off after undergrad and did full time research and hope to be named on several future publications, will that be sufficient research for residency purposes or is research completed before med school begins looked at similarly to volunteer hours completed in high school, nice, but not really worthy of consideration?
 

austinap

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I have a somewhat related question, but didn't feel I should open an entirely new thread for it: I'm finishing a PhD in chemistry/biochemistry before starting med school. I'll have a few publications, a few posters, a few presentations, etc. I'm not entirely decided on a specialty yet, but would like to keep my options as open as possible. I'd also like to keep somewhat active in research during med school, but would certainly enjoy taking part of the MS1 summer to travel. My question is this: how much will my PhD / current publications count towards the 'research requirement' for the more competitive specialties?
 

drizzt3117

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Research done at any time is good. The whole idea is that you understand it, have gone thru the publication process, etc. If you have a PhD people aren't going to question your research credentials, never mind that on future pubs from their lab it will say MD/PhD after your name.
 

thesauce

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If I took a year off after undergrad and did full time research and hope to be named on several future publications, will that be sufficient research for residency purposes or is research completed before med school begins looked at similarly to volunteer hours completed in high school, nice, but not really worthy of consideration?
Research during medical school is looked upon much more highly than research before medical school for the purposes of residency selection. The reason for this is that research-focused residency programs are looking for people who are interested in doing research long-term, so they see continued (i.e. recent) participation in research as a sign that you will do so. If you have undergrad research and nothing during medical school, it will look like you did it to satisfy a perceived requirement (almost like a checkbox) rather than because you were actually interested in it.
 

thesauce

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I have a somewhat related question, but didn't feel I should open an entirely new thread for it: I'm finishing a PhD in chemistry/biochemistry before starting med school. I'll have a few publications, a few posters, a few presentations, etc. I'm not entirely decided on a specialty yet, but would like to keep my options as open as possible. I'd also like to keep somewhat active in research during med school, but would certainly enjoy taking part of the MS1 summer to travel. My question is this: how much will my PhD / current publications count towards the 'research requirement' for the more competitive specialties?
You're in excellent shape with the PhD and will be competitive for any specialty (assuming your step 1 isn't too low), although I would still take on a minor project or two in your specialty area of interest.
 
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austinap

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You're in excellent shape with the PhD and will be competitive for any specialty (barring your step 1 isn't too low), although I would still take on a minor project or two in your specialty area of interest.

Thanks, this is what I was planning on doing.
 

TexasPhysician

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If I took a year off after undergrad and did full time research and hope to be named on several future publications, will that be sufficient research for residency purposes or is research completed before med school begins looked at similarly to volunteer hours completed in high school, nice, but not really worthy of consideration?
You would be better off to take a year off in the middle of medical school and do something like a Doris Duke Research Fellowship.
 

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What I've found is that doing clinical research during med school is fairly easy. There's so many things going on and the docs would love to have a student help out cause they're so busy anyway. Plus you can do it in your spare time at night or weekends and the docs are pretty flexible about time since they know how busy you are. Bench research requires a little bit more time commitment as PIs want you to be able to contribute something to their lab and not just waste their time. This probably recommend a summer or year off type but it's definitely doable during the year too. You just gotta manage your time well. I'm personally doing both and will probably have 1 pub in each by the end of the year. Time is what you make of it really. :)