mtwop

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Dec 18, 2009
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Sorry to have to post this in the resident forum. I'm a first year med student and I plan on applying for EM residencies (I know many students change their mind) but I really couldn't imagine doing any other specialty. I did two years of research during undergrad, but I'm not all that interested in doing more. I know the importance of solid board scores and doing rotations at your top programs. However, I also know that EM is becoming increasingly competitive, so I would appreciate your feedback on making this decision
 

MojoRisin

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Mar 15, 2010
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just out of curiousity how do you see yourself wanting to do EM at this early stage? past personal experience? advice from others?

of those i know who matched in EM at denver, hennepin, cleveland clinic, mayo, and wash u...none had any research (i dont know if those are good programs or not, but they had the most name recognition of those who matched in EM that i could recall)

those could be weak programs, but take it for what its worth
 

tremulousNeedle

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I matched into EM this most recent application cycle. I did research during the summer between my first and second year of medical school. I think the research experience made my application more well-rounded; it showed that I was willing to explore research in EM. However, many of my classmates also matched well into EM without research experience.

I am not sure what your undergraduate research experience was, but many students can obtain vastly different experiences in medical school. My research was funded by the NHLBI and involved studying CPR skills retention among pre-hospital emergency rescuers. I enjoyed this experience because it was very relevant to emergency medicine and far from any basic science bench research. Several of my classmates did research on injury patterns and prevention producing publishable material. There are definitely a lot more palatable options than bench research if you still want to get this experience in medical school.

-senior medical student (T-42days)
 

Emergency!

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The EM PD at our school tells everyone that don't do research if you don't want to. I did do research and was only asked about it at 2 interviews. At one program, it was clear that they were looking for people with the potential to do research. If you look at the surveys of PDs, research is way down the list in importance for selecting residents.

IMO, the bigger benefit to doing EM research as a med 1/2 is that you get to know your EM faculty early on, potentially leading to stronger LORs. It also demonstrates interest and commitment to the field.
 

mtwop

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Dec 18, 2009
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Thanks for the great advice. During undergrad I spent my time doing bench research studying autoimmune diseases. I think people choose EM for a variety of different reasons but I really think it fits my personality and lifestyle. I spent a lot of time working in a hospital setting during undergrad as a phlebotomist and EMT as well as a great deal of shadowing the ER docs there. I love how you can be dealing with day to day illnesses such as a babies ear infection, and then suddenly have a trauma dropped off at the door. I've seen people die and I've seen people brought back from death. I also love that the ER is so cohesive with the rest of the hospital in the care of the patient. ER docs are also some of the only physicians that I've seen that are able to have interests outside of medicine such as family due to the shift work. Sorry for the rant. Anyway, I think the point about getting to know the EM faculty early on is very important but could this be also be accomplished through consistent shadowing? Again, thanks for all the help
 

MSmentor018

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go to NRMP and look at the EM stats, it'll tell you what program directors surveyed as being important. research wasn't that high on the list.
 

iridesingltrack

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I am of the opinion that the residency application process is different than med school. In applying to med school it was all about "getting in." For residency it's about deciding what you will do with your career. So, during medical school do things that are professionally related to what you want your career to be like. If that is research, then do research and you will benefit from it, not because of the research per se but more that you've done something that is directed toward your career as a researcher. If you have little interest in research, but are curious, then this is another good reason to explore it. If you have no interest in research then avoid it. Do other productive things with your time.

The best thing you can do for your residency application is to do what you enjoy that leads toward a professional goal. This will give you something to talk about that is a passion as opposed to a random research project you did back in med school...

Just my opinion,
iride
 
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The best thing you can do for your residency application is to do what you enjoy that leads toward a professional goal. This will give you something to talk about that is a passion as opposed to a random research project you did back in med school...
What are some alternatives to research that are as accepted as research?
 
May 2, 2010
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volunteering in medical clinic stuff i've heard substitutes well, i also wrote up a poster on a rare case i had and presented that at a conference, it's listed under research and useful data since it's such a rare case but it wasn't really "research"
 

iridesingltrack

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What are some alternatives to research that are as accepted as research?
I don't mean to be appear coy...but, I was intentionally vague in my statement that you quote. In EM in particular, I don't think that doing research for the purposes of scoring a residency is advisable. Med school is, in part, about discovering what you want to do in the house of medicine and that includes how to handle your very limited free time. If you are completely unsure, then dabble until something triggers a response. Then when you find something, pursue it with gusto. If it is research, great, if it is service in a free clinic--run with it, if advocacy/politics/education/public health/administration/leadership/ etc. etc. then become involved and adept in it. If you pursue something, your CV will speak for itself. The list is endless. (BTW, Guitar Hero does not count; though I wish...).

iride