brianmed

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Jan 1, 2009
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Medical Student
I have a general question. I am just completing my first year and I was thinking about the future and residency. So this summer I am doing Oncology research- I have no idea what I actually want to go into yet. Here's the issue let's say I actually find out by middle of next year or beginning of third year that I want to do a specialty requiring heavy research like Derm, or Anesth, or Urology? Assuming One were to have the required step one scores, how would they actually strengthen their application further at that point in the game? Just take a year off? Everyone says that third year is when people know what they want - but it sounds like if you want something competitive you need to be working for it from day one.
Again - I don't know what my situation will be like(maybe my step one will only allow me in FM or IM) but I like to be prepared for every situation.
Thank you!
 

Law2Doc

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Dec 20, 2004
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I have a general question. I am just completing my first year and I was thinking about the future and residency. So this summer I am doing Oncology research- I have no idea what I actually want to go into yet. Here's the issue let's say I actually find out by middle of next year or beginning of third year that I want to do a specialty requiring heavy research like Derm, or Anesth, or Urology? Assuming One were to have the required step one scores, how would they actually strengthen their application further at that point in the game? Just take a year off? Everyone says that third year is when people know what they want - but it sounds like if you want something competitive you need to be working for it from day one.
Again - I don't know what my situation will be like(maybe my step one will only allow me in FM or IM) but I like to be prepared for every situation.
Thank you!
All research looks good. You can't always guess right as to ultimate specialty, but for eg a derm residency, research and publications in any medical field looks better than none.
 

Sheldor

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May 21, 2011
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All research looks good. You can't always guess right as to ultimate specialty, but for eg a derm residency, research and publications in any medical field looks better than none.
Additionally, it is very reasonable to do specialty specific clinical research during second and third year, which when combined with your oncology research should put you in a good position.

Also, oncology plays a role in nearly every specialty (Uro, derm, etc) so it can be tailored to what you decide to do.
 
Jan 27, 2010
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I have a similar question. pre-MS1, but I noticed for choice specialties, you have to already be "locked on" before you step in the door, then hit your checklist thru all 4 years.

This idea really perturbs me, because we are supposed to find what we like, what fits us, what we're good at during the rotations, no? That's the whole point of rotations. Yet, the "best" medical students are those who for some reason (good or bad) have decided "I'm going to be a pediatric gynecological deermatologist" from day negative one.

What proportion of each choice specialty are students who found their way into that specialty from exposure in med school, and what proportion found their way into that specialty from reading salary numbers prior to med school?
 

Law2Doc

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I have a similar question. pre-MS1, but I noticed for choice specialties, you have to already be "locked on" before you step in the door, then hit your checklist thru all 4 years.

This idea really perturbs me, because we are supposed to find what we like, what fits us, what we're good at during the rotations, no? That's the whole point of rotations. Yet, the "best" medical students are those who for some reason (good or bad) have decided "I'm going to be a pediatric gynecological deermatologist" from day negative one.

What proportion of each choice specialty are students who found their way into that specialty from exposure in med school, and what proportion found their way into that specialty from reading salary numbers prior to med school?
First, although the timing for career choices in med school is not ideal and often hurried, you absolutely should not be "locked on" to a career path from day one. Instead, you should be locked on to the notion that you are going to do what you need to to keep lots of doors open. So that's going to mean scoring well on the tests, doing some research (in whatever -- as we said above it needn't be exactly on target initially), working hard. You can always score high enough to get derm but choose peds instead (many do) but it's harder to go the other way round.

Basically what I would suggest is to use your spare tine during first and second year (especially the summer between, doing some research). Use spare time during second year to shadow some fields you might be interested in that might not be core rotations. Put a lot if effort into your cores and try to get the broadest possible exposure. Meaning if you are in IM and your patient is going to get bronched or have an EGD, ask if you can go and watch. you can see glimpses of a lot more subspecialties that way. You have time for a couple of electives/away rotations at the start of fourth year during which you can hone your decision. Finally, if necessary you can always take a year after 3rd year or before graduation to do more targeted research as well as figure out what specialty you want, if necessary. Not that many people do this but the ones I've known have done so all ultimately got things they wanted. But no, you don't need, and aren't even supposed to, come to med school knowing what you want. Most people who think they know realize they are wrong when rotations start anyhow.