Research Mentor Change Due to Specialty Decision

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


New Member
Jan 18, 2023
Reaction score
I'm in an unusual situation as an MS3 involving translational research. I am on a required research block as part of the regular MD curriculum with a PI in a specific specialty. The issue is that we had to choose our mentors and project for this research block even before clerkships, and I have decided I want to go into a different specialty at this point. I wanted to work with a mentor that I had worked in at a different lab for an M1 summer fellowship since that mentor is in the field that I now want to go into.
My current lab mentor was not happy when I told him that I wanted to take a research year after this research block ends to pursue the specialty I am now interested in and tried to convince me to stay with him for the research year even though it is not in the field that I want to go into anymore. We had never even discussed me taking a research year in his lab or anything beyond me completing the research block for the curriculum, and I feel guilty since I will be on 1-2 papers from the work I have done with him. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or has gone through something similar with research mentors in med school and what to do. I feel like I am disappointing this mentor since he likes the work I have done for him but feel that doing something in the specialty I want and getting clinical mentorship in the field as well is probably the better decision. I just feel like I am burning a bridge/disappointing a mentor, but I just came to the realization a month or so ago about the field change since clerkships recently ended. Thank you for any help/advice.

Members don't see this ad.
Last edited:
Trying out different specialties via clerkships and discovering what resonates with you is an intergral part of the med school journey. If you have now found a different specialty than before, then by all means pursue it without any guilt. Of course your mentor is disappointed with your decision as he likes your work and perhaps hopes to get a paper or 2 published. But you do you. Do not worry about his disappointment or burning a bridge (as long as you are civil about parting company). He will have other mentees going forward. You will not have another chance to pick and pursue your specialty. Just my 2¢ FWIW.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users