Relevance of Research for Residency

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by tbo, May 29, 2008.

  1. tbo

    tbo MS-4

    May 5, 2002
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    Medical Student
    I've been perusing a number of the residency forums and have found a considerable amount of discussion on doing research during medical school to improve ones chances of getting into some residences, notably the competitive ones such as derm, radiology, orthopedics, etc.

    My question is, what exactly are program directors looking for with respect to ones research experiences/achievements? What one gets from research experience can range from nothing (doing a small part in a big project that you are given little to no context for but you go through the motions in order to "do research") to truly moving the field (properly designing a study that really tests and challenges the field and its experts). Is it as simple as showing a time-commitment to a subspecialty? Is it the fact that it exercises a different side of the brain from medical school (applying the rote memorization/theories learned to make something meaningful out of it). Critical thinking abilities? Ability to analyze data? Is it as simple as observing their ability to be academic clinicians?

    Has anyone ever discussed this with program directors candidly? I'd be interesting in hearing what exactly they're looking for.
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  3. atsai3

    May 15, 2002
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    Fellow [Any Field]
    Program Directors at academic centers are looking for people they would be proud to have represent their institution. At a minimum that includes knowing you can fulfill their service requirements and won't fail the boards. Nothing can compensate for lack of clinical competency: if you're going to make the program look bad to the other specialties, or make your fellow residents struggle to pick up your slack, then they don't want you.

    With regards to research, they are looking for people with intellectual curiosity and who have the potential to be leaders in academic medicine. If you represent yourself as "interested in research" on your residency application, the program will likely make every attempt to match you with an interviewer with interests in roughly the same sphere as yours, so you should be prepared to discuss your research. Within a few minutes it will be apparent whether you were a disinterested lab monkey going through the motions or whether you were truly engaged in the project and can see how it fits into a broader overall program of research.

  4. Faebinder

    Faebinder Slow Wave Smurf

    May 24, 2006
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    Attending Physician
    Program directors are usually uninterested in research, the usually are too busy being program directors to be good researchers. The faculty of university programs on the other hand look for candidates that want to do research because it helps continue their research. So if you wish to get bonus points with committees then research is one way.... but attracting the PD's attention to rank you higher is not based on one factor.

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