Quick M1 question: Research over summer?

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by psych, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. psych

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Even though I'm only an M1 I'm pretty sure I like psych more than any other field. So, seeing how psych isn't that competitive I'm wondering if I should do psych research this summer. I had to go out of state for med school and I really want to go back to CA for residency :xf: (or at least AZ, NV, Fl... someplace warm!).
    I planned to do research this summer because I have very little research experience from undergrad and I'd like to be competitve and have a publication or at least a poster under my belt. Thx in advance for any input.
     
  2. Doc Samson

    Doc Samson gamma irradiated
    Physician 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Messages:
    1,963
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Aside from UCLA, UCSD, Stanford, and UCSF, it's not all that competitive to get into a residency in any of the states you've named.
     
  3. BobA

    BobA Member
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Messages:
    931
    Likes Received:
    4
    I wish I had done research over the summer.

    Instead I was a camp counselor b/c I wanted to be outside for my last real summer. First of all, if you've ever been a camp counselor you'll know it's a TON of work (no 80hr/wk for camp counselors!!).

    However, most places who are truly interested in candidates with research will want more than a summer project - they'll want multiple projects showing a sustained interest in research. I'm guessing those programs would be MGH, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, UCSF.
     
  4. psych

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Thanks for the replies. I don't think I'm going to do research but I do plan on doing some clinical work. Seeing how this is the "last" free summer of my life - school wise, I prefer doing some traveling and visiting my relatives. The research projects offered at my school are 40hrs/week for 10 weeks. That's my entire summer! :eek: Anyway I doubt I'll regret this decision, but we'll see when I'm applying to residency...
     
  5. billypilgrim37

    billypilgrim37 Unstuck in Time
    Physician Faculty 7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,387
    Likes Received:
    115
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    There's probably nothing less important than what you do after your M1 year. The only scenario in which it might matter is if you were going to get involved with a project you might stay involved with over the next few years. If you're not actually interested in research, and don't plan on continuing with that, do whatever. Have fun. Knock yourself out.
     
  6. psych

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Okay I'm going back in forth on this because I'm afraid that having NO meaningful research will end up hurting me later. Do residency programs (aside from those listed above) need to see that I've done some medical research in my past (whether it be after M1 yr or from undergrad)? The only research I've ever done is computational chemistry research for 1/2 a summer + a semester. No poster/paper.
     
  7. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon
    Physician Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2004
    Messages:
    6,144
    Likes Received:
    3,590
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Only if you're trying to get into a highly academically focused residency and/or claiming that you REALLY WANT to do research.
     
  8. masterofmonkeys

    masterofmonkeys Angy Old Man
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,582
    Likes Received:
    255
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    I would guess that research only matters if you're interested in doing research (or tell them you are). By the same token, it was kinda obvious which residencies were research-friendly based on whether and how much they asked about the research I did. Several of these 'top programs' never mentioned it one way or the other. Then again, just because they didn't bring it up in the interview doesn't mean that they didn't care about it at all.

    have you seen the NRMP program director's survey? I can't access it from here (ED), but IIRC, research was ranked pretty low by psych PDs. And at most of the places I interviewed at, most people had little to no research.
     
  9. psych

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I did look at the NRMP survey which is why I'm going back and forth. 52% listed involvement in research as a factor they consider when choosing who to interview. I thought this was pretty high especially when I looked at fields like peds, IM, & ob gyn.
     
  10. masterofmonkeys

    masterofmonkeys Angy Old Man
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,582
    Likes Received:
    255
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Basic surveys like that, while helpful, are fairly hard to make such assumptions based off of.

    52% of PDs said that they factor in research in deciding who to interview. All that means is that about half of the PDs actually look at research, one way or another. It doesn't mean that they decide to interview you based on whether or not you've done research. Half of them completely ignore that aspect of your application.

    My experience is through the lens of an MS4 who's done research and who presented a plan for his research career even in his PS, so I guess you'd have to take it with a grain of salt. That said, even though my psych research is pretty meager (sole author of a couple of meta-analyses that are still in the working paper stage), just having research made me an outlier, and this was interviewing at some of the most competitive programs out there (except for Columbia, MGH, and UCSF, who all hated me apparently).

    But here's where I'm coming from: How many people actually go into research? 5% 10% Not many. How many programs heavily emphasize and structure research into their curricula as a requirement? None that I'm aware of. Although a few schools do have a 'research track' and several others readily accomodate residents with research interests.

    Residents doing research is not a priority of psychiatry residency program. Training solid clinicians is. So it makes little sense to emphasize research abilities in your search for future residents.

    That said, research can be a decent proxy for several desirable traits in a future resident. Research experience (depending on level of involvement) implies that the student has had exposure, learned more about psych than they would have solely through clerkship experience, and a commitment to the specialty. Each of these things can be demonstrated in other ways, though.

    Research is kinda like the opposite of a D-Dimer. Positive means that (within reason) you can assume several qualities about a candidate. A negative result doesn't mean a whole lot.
     
  11. psych

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    6
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Thank you so much for your post! There are other psych related things I really want to do this summer that will show my interst (if I don't do research). Originally I was just so surprised from what I saw on the "2007 charting outcomes in the match." The mean # of research experiences was 1.9 and mean # abstracts, posters, pubs was 2.0.
    Seeing those numbers I made me think I have to do research.
     
  12. Still Kickin

    Still Kickin Attending
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    15
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    My school requires all students to do some sort of "project" in the second year. Usually it's research, or community service, or developing something "curriculum"-related to benefit future students at the school. I debated long & hard because I want to go into research and felt that's what I was "supposed" to do. (I do have quite a bit of research experience from before med-school, however, so my background is probably a little different from yours in that way.) However, what I really wanted to do was a community-service type project that (I felt) had a mental-health tie-in, and in the end that's what I decided to go with. My thinking was I really didn't have as much of the "human-interaction" type experience and it was silly for me to be getting more research experience when I already had a pretty good idea what "research" was like. (And also because I didn't think I could accomplish any meaningful research project in the allotted time.) It seemed much better to "try something new".

    Still, I've always wondered if my conspicuous *abscence* from research throughout med school was going to hurt me in the end. Well, I got plenty of interviews from some terrific programs. As MoM has said, at some places the topic of research doesn't even come up AT ALL (or only if YOU YOURSELF bring it up). Even when it did come up "I see you have research experience, are you interested continuing with research throughout your career?" no-one ever questioned why I had been focusing more on the clinical stuff the past 4 years. Also as MoM has said, at this point they are interested in training CLINICIANS, not RESEARCHERS.

    (So - I'd always felt all along that the community-service experience [vs. research] was the "right" choice FOR ME, but now I've got some additional "data" to let me know I didn't make a big mistake a couple years ago.)

    P.S.: If you want to travel this summer, go travel. That's what I wanted to do, and that's what I did. I've never regretted it, but I think if I had spent the summer pipetting in a lab, I very well *might* have regretted *that*.
     

Share This Page