Who doesn't want to be qualified for their desirable residency...
Goal 1; do well in my MS1 courses.
Goal 2; do well on boards.
However, the general consensus is that if you want a good residency, you need to publish. "Publish or Perish" as they say.
I have the opportunity to start research the summer between MS1-MS2, and then spend some time during MS2 to wrap up a paper, and hopefully publish by summer of MS2-MS3, then same summer that I need to be studying for my boards.
I did a couple years of research in undergrad, running blots... I didn't care for it at all. I was more curious memorizing my anatomy and pathology.
1) Catch22, Some say "research only helps", but does it help if you end up with a lower board score?
2) Anyone without research, and just decent grades/boards match into decent programs (gen surg, EM, or internal)?
If you have an inteest in academic medicine, you should be doing research. An applicant with a 232 with a good research productivity will be favored over another applicant without it with the same scores esepcially for academic Internal Medicine (and even some strongly affiliated communiversity places) as well as many university affiliated surgical residencies.
1) depends on how low that board score is, no amount of first pubs is gunna save your 205 usmle if you are shooting for a academic IM place, especially coming from a DO school. Research should not get in the way of board prep or courses.
2) Yes you can match into decent programs without research like EM and IM. IM will probably be a community hospital program and not an univ/academic one. EM ive never heard as being research intensive for getting into the programs outside of places like UCSD, UCSF, JHU. I have yet to know a 3rd or 4th year student interested in gen surgery who didnt do something in regard to research. Gen surg is competitive and research helps you stand out, it is expected that you will do well on boards.
Publish or perish is just a motivational statement especially for those looking to pursue an academic career. You wanna role with the big dogs and be a professor? You gotta show your weight in gold with research output.
From what I have learned from this site, there are definitely those who matched into a great program without having research (but the catch here is that they were stellar in boards and clinical grades). If you feel it will sink you, then don't do it. It is far more important to do well on your boards. If you do take it on during the summer and have to write up a paper during 2nd year, ask your PI if you could extend the time frame for submission (i.e. finish it during an easy 3rd year rotation). When I was trying to publish a paper during my post-master's years, I have several moments where I would ask the PI for some time to study for mid-terms/finals (this can be for 2 weeks at a time). I think I end up submitting my article in 1 1/2 years versus 1 year (if I consistently worked on it). On a side note, even my PI would ask for breaks on the article too (he had his obligations as well, since I was a post-bacc and his priorities were to his PhD students). I don't know if this will work, but it is worth a shot.