DocYuki

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I am an incoming 1st year trying to get my sights set straight.

I am aware of this: "Remember, you may change your mind 10 times during medical school, but if you stick with EM, then the early start and foresight would most likely help you be a pretty strong applicant come 4th year."

How valuable is research to landing the residency of your choice? Since most medical students change their minds so much, how can one be expected to get published in research related to their field when research is a serious commitment?

Sure, I'm very interested in EM and it would be prudent to get started building a strong application from day one. But how can anyone be expected to commit that early? Then, everyone would have weak applications because they didn't realize that they wanted IM/FP/GSurg/Etc until SM3 or SM4 when it might be far too late to do research.

:confused:

Thanks for any input, any at all!!!

-Dazed and confused
 

Pinner Doc

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I'm also curious about this. I met with my advisory dean regarding upcoming residency applications (I'm an MS3), and he said that if I went into EM, having experience in research during med school wouldn't be necessary. I don't know if this is because of my other credentials (doubtful!), the fact that he's a neurosurgeon and doesn't really know about EM, or if it's indeed true that research is not heavily weighted in choosing residents for programs.

As an aside, I *do* have research experience from undergrad and from the year between undergrad and med school.
 

Sweet Tea

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Research helps, sure, but what you're missing is that it doesn't have to be EM research and it doesn't have to be new, ground-breaking work. I'm published from my pre-med years, but it's in rheumatology. There were 2 big things I learned during those 2 years of rheumatology research a) I hate rheumatology and b) what goes into getting a paper published. I've written grants, I've gotten projects through IRBs, I've helped flakey PIs stay on task, and I've presented at an international conference. I've done a little bit of EM research, but it wasn't until med school and it's not as good as my rheum stuff. You don't have to know to come to the table saying "I want to become a major publisher in the realm of diagnosis and treatment of acute neurogenic shock using divining rods and 20-sided die" to check off the research box. Just having a familiarity with how to jump in through the research hoops will help you out.

If you want to get a head-start in EM, get to know the folks in your local ED. Get involved with EMIG, introduce yourself to a bunch of attendings in the ED and adopt one as your own personal mentor, but get out there and show some interest! EM likes the self-motivated folks.
 
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Sweet Tea

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Keep in mind that I am but a lowly MS-4 and all I'm going on is my experience getting interviews and feedback I've received on the interview trail. There's a PD or 2 on here that could also chime in with opinions.
 

AnonEMous

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Doing research is not an absolute requirement in EM like it may be in RadOnc or Neurosurg, but it is still helpful. It isn't necessary to have done research in the particular field you end up applying in, but it's an added bonus -- most program directors simply like to see you demonstrate an academic interest, and follow a project through to completion.

For example, having just come off the interview trail I interviewed at a number of programs that use a numerical score to compile their ranklist. At one program, I caught a glimpse of the scoring system they used. The program had something like 8 categories, each with a 10 point scale, and research was one such category. The categories that I remember were:

Interview performance
Board scores
Clinical grades
Letters of Rec
Extracurricular/Community Service
Strength of medical school
Research

Each category had a 10 point scale next to it, with guidelines for how to come up with the score. For example, for board scores applicants got 10 points for a USMLE > 240, 0 points for having failed, etc.

So, while research is not absolutely necessary, it can obviously make a difference.
 

Hawk22

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I've done a good amount of research in medical school, so here are my thoughts.

1. Research definitely helps your application. I've had alot of compliments on my work and spent significant time talking about it in my interviews this year. HOWEVER, think about research like "icing on the cake" for your application, with your interview, clinical grades, board scores, and letters of rec being the cake (i.e. the most important part).

2. If you want to do research, do it because you're interested in the project and the work and not because you think it will benefit your application in the future. Research takes alot more time than you think, especially if you want to do it well. What's important is that you're "into it" and really take something from your work in the end. If you hate it, there are better ways you could spend that time.

3. Research in your ultimate field of choice would be ideal, but you're right in that you are early in the process and might change your mind. Don't worry about that at all, especially early in your medical school career. Like Sweet Tea said, you can get alot of valuable skills (IRB and grant writin, managing a project, learning stats, etc.) that will be useful no matter what you eventually do. Plus, when you're a 3rd/4th year and know what you really want to do, you can easily get involved in a more career-specific project then.

Hope that helps.
 

dchristismi

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...diagnosis and treatment of acute neurogenic shock using divining rods and 20-sided die" ...

I believe this has already been elucidated in a multicenter trial. (Norris, C. 2002 Int J. In-N-Out 23(3);325-34).


What they said. Research is helpful, but not everything. And if you do get into a project, be damn sure that your PI has things together and you know what's going on. I sunk a ridiculous amount of time into a (poorly planned) retrospective chart review that ended up getting tossed because of the poor data quality.
 

FoughtFyr

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Here is what Dr. Overton (the head of the EM RRC) and program director at Kalamazoo has to say about research. In my experience it plays out most places.

from: http://www.kcms.msu.edu/pages/residency_programs/Advice for EM Applicants 2006.pdf

"Should I do Research?

Many applicants want to do know if they should do some research to bolster their application. Programs vary in how much weight they place upon research in their ranking decisions. Some give lots of extra brownie points, others don’t.

Remember, that not all research experience is created equal. It’s very common for applicants to have spent some time in a lab somewhere as a research assistant, and maybe even got their name on an abstract or publication. If it isn’t related to emergency medicine, it usually doesn’t count for much. Of course, be sure to list it on your application; just don’t count on getting many brownie points.

On the other hand, emergency medicine research counts more, particularly if it is clear that the applicant played a major role in the project. For example, I’ve had students who themselves came up with an emergency medicine research question, themselves developed the protocol, themselves sought and obtained external grant funding (as the principle investigator, no less), themselves completed the study, and themselves presented it at SAEM as first author. Now, THAT’S impressive!

However impressive, it takes an unbelievable amount of time. It is critically important that activities such as research (or any outside activities, for that matter) do not in any way impact how well you do in your class work and clinical rotations. Research isn’t going to make up for flunking your surgery exam. This is important, because the very applicants who are most anxious to buff their applications are those who perceive that they have weak applications in the first place – just the ones who should be concentrating on acing their clerkships.

Thus, I advise you to pursue research ONLY if you actually want to do it in the first place (and not simply to buff your application), AND you have sufficient extra capacity to do it, in addition to the rest of your academic load. An exception might be those medical schools that require some sort of research project as part of their required curriculum. In that case, you might as well double-dip if you can, and do something emergency medicine-oriented, while satisfying a graduation requirement at the same time."​

Now, I was an example of one of those applicants who he described. I did design, get funding for, and present EM research both before and during medical school. So I have a bias toward research. But after helping with our residency applications this year, I can tell you that even at a very academic place, it is more the complete package that matters.

- H
 

NinerNiner999

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Research experience is all that is important, not the subject you are researching. Residency programs know that you will change your mind. The real reason research helps your application is it shows your familiarity with the research process. Can you design a study? Can you appropriately conduct a study and use good statistical rationale to validate your findings? Are you familiar with IRB? Can you get grants? These are the things that help you - not that you studied the impact of two In-and-Out double doubles, animal style with fries on a lab rat.

P.S. If anyone steals this project, I will hunt you down. Animal Style.
 
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