Mar 11, 2010
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Hello all,

I'm graduating this year with a masters in biomedical engineering. I was a two year volunteer at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis then became a FORE-SCI scholar there working in analgesic effects of NRM stimulation to alleviate spinal cord injury pain. I subsequently conducted my own research in the biomaterials lab on hydrogel scaffolds for use as axonal regeneration matrices
for partial SCI. Recently I completed an NIH grant for the investigation of electroactive polymer scaffolds for use in the same therapeutic area and received an NIH stipend to further investigate the aforementioned topics. This is the good.

The bad is that during my undergraduate career, I had five renal surgeries and worked a 40+ hr/wk restaurant Job to help support myself and my family after my family declared bankruptcy and my GPA dropped substantially. My GPA, suffice it to say, is abysmal (2.75). My MCAT practice scores are in the 35 range.

Questions:
(1) I chose engineering as an undergraduate because I wanted to be a technically skille surgeon - particularly neurosurgery. I have acquired a unique subset of skills that I feel are very beneficial in my intended future career. If I get the privilege of being accepted into medical school, what are the first steps I should take in working towards a neurosurgery residency?
(2) As far as research is concerned, will my previous backgroud be taken into account when and if I interview for NS residency? Basically, does my masters in engineering help my cause?
(3) I currently work for a top 2 biomedical device company as a staff engineer and biomedical consultant. Although our products aren't NS related, will my experience here help me as well?
(4) Aside from acing the USMLE, what are some other things I can do in medical school to facilitate entry into NS residency? I've contacted the residency coordinator at the school I'd like to attend and he Told me that I wad the type of student that NS residencies like to get to know early in their medical school careers. Should I follow up immediately if I'm accepted to medical school?
(5) because of my GPA, I am humbled and know that attending a U.S medical school is a longshot (I do have a 4.0 in grad school). If I have to attend a foreign medical school like Ross in the Carrib, will it effectively eliminate my chances at a NS residency? I know it's near impossible to get a NS as an IMG.
(6) how can I shadow a neurosurgeon? I've scrubbed in on 2 cases where I was a junior consultant (perfusion specialist) but never as a casual observer. How can I shadow a practicing NS?

Thank you all so much for answering any questions and for all of your help. I have thought logically and at length, trying to dissuade myself from choosing this path, knowing it will compromise my future family and friends, however, I believe that it is a calling. I am eager to demonstrate my competency in medical school if I get the chance. The rest of you involved in NS are an inspiration!

My question: assuming I get into
 

Conqueror

Doctor Light, P-H-D!!!
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1 is answered in other threads in this subforum, I suggest reading the archives first.

2,3 have similar answers: research/work stuff you did before med school does count, but they will still want to see some research/work stuff during med school. Be prepared to discuss, in detail, any research or engineering work experiences you list on your ERAS application.

4 - you don't need to contact them "immediately" on getting into medical school. But you should be on their radar sometime during your first semester, to inquire if they have some research projects you can get involved with. The longer they know you and the more they interact with you, the better-equipped they will be to ultimately write you good LORs.

5 - My advice would be to avoid the caribbean at all costs. There are a few neurosurgeons, including a couple current residents at excellent programs, who did med school there. But they are very few in number. The odds are stacked against caribbean students. Having a 4.0 in grad school will give you a solid boost. I would choose even a lower-tier US med school over Ross, et al.

6 - Just call one and ask him/her. Most of them are nice people and receptive to student interest. I got to scrub for NS cases as an undergrad simply because I asked one of the attendings at my institution if I could follow him around for a while.
 
Mar 11, 2010
34
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Thanks for the help.

1 is answered in other threads in this subforum, I suggest reading the archives first.

2,3 have similar answers: research/work stuff you did before med school does count, but they will still want to see some research/work stuff during med school. Be prepared to discuss, in detail, any research or engineering work experiences you list on your ERAS application.

4 - you don't need to contact them "immediately" on getting into medical school. But you should be on their radar sometime during your first semester, to inquire if they have some research projects you can get involved with. The longer they know you and the more they interact with you, the better-equipped they will be to ultimately write you good LORs.

5 - My advice would be to avoid the caribbean at all costs. There are a few neurosurgeons, including a couple current residents at excellent programs, who did med school there. But they are very few in number. The odds are stacked against caribbean students. Having a 4.0 in grad school will give you a solid boost. I would choose even a lower-tier US med school over Ross, et al.

6 - Just call one and ask him/her. Most of them are nice people and receptive to student interest. I got to scrub for NS cases as an undergrad simply because I asked one of the attendings at my institution if I could follow him around for a while.