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Which hospitalist schedule is most conducive to research?

Discussion in 'Internal Medicine and IM Subspecialties' started by threecoins, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. threecoins

    threecoins Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    I am wondering what is the hospitalist schedule that is most compatible with doing some meaningful research in a lab? I am willing to sacrifice pay as long as I don't go below 100K.

    Does anybody have experience with doing research while being a hospitalist?
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  3. JayneCobb

    JayneCobb big damn hero.... Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    If you're on the 7 on/7off or 12 on/12 off schedule, why would you need to sacrifice pay? That would seem to me to give you plenty of time to perform research.
  4. threecoins

    threecoins Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    hopefully I won;t have to , my question though is whether 7 days on 7 days off will be enough to do some meaningful other words will any lab accept this kind of schedule?
  5. gutonc

    gutonc No Meat, No Treat Administrator Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    A fibrotic stroma
    I think a better question is "will the work you're doing in the lab allow that kind of schedule?". I've found that my experiments are more demanding of my time than my patients are.

    If you find a project that can be put on a shelf for a week or two at a time and doesn't require a huge amount of work to get started again (or can be maintained w/ minimal input by a technician while you're away) that would be the way to go. Larger labs would probably be more amenable to this as you would likely have access to more technicians (not to mention undergrads and high school students) would could help maintain your research while you're off making the boat payment on the inpatient service.

    And labs are always looking for warm bodies to get the work done, so as long as you don't cost the PI too much (or come w/ or can create your own funding), you'll probably find plenty of people willing to have you work with them.
  6. threecoins

    threecoins Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    Thank you so much for your reply Gutonc. I have zero familiarity with lab techniques ( never had the chance to work in a lab before). How long does it take to learn the basics? and what are the kinda projects that can be left alone for a while...( cell cultures and the like ?)
  7. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    My thoughts are based on what the IM docs do and what the residents who are heading into research oriented careers do. That is, the docs work a few months a year as a clinician (in one or two bursts) and then the rest they spend in research. To me it seems like it would be very difficult to switch constantly, such as one week clinical, one week research. When you're doing experiments scheduling is often an issue and you have to "strike when the iron is hot" so to speak. It's much easier to schedule things around large blocks of time than individual days.

    You can find jobs with built-in research time at academic institutions, but the question becomes how much training you've had. If you have little research training, they may not hire you for such a position unless you go back and complete some fellowship training (well under 100k/year) for a year or two. If you're seriously considering a switch to doing research at least 50% of the time, I'd recommend this.

    The question becomes what type of researcher do you want to be? Do you just want to try it for awhile? Do you see yourself as being a part-time lab technician for a long time? Without some sort of formal training and 80% of your time spent in the lab, you'll essentially be a lab technician. The goal to move up the ranks in academia is to bring in your own grants, which are quite competitive. Otherwise you'll just be doing the experiments or tasks the PI sets out for you. So my advice is to think about your own goals and let us know what you're thinking about going for.

    My advice is probably going to be to spend at least a year doing 80%+ research, but the pay cut will certainly be an issue. There are Loan Repayment Programs that you may qualify for if that's an issue...
  8. grendelsdragon

    grendelsdragon Synesthetic 2+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2007
    I assume you are interested in combining a basic science career with clinical practice in the inpatient setting. My response to you is that it depends on the stage in your career.

    I attend on inpatient cardiology services 4 weeks a year, with other minimal commitments (occasional weekend call, specialized clinic and miscellaneous stuff). Overall, I was able to negotiate an 80% effort for research and 20% effort for clinical. That being said, I have my own NIH grant and my pay is primarily for my research (my compensation for clinical duties is pretty minimal). Generally, the convention for early/junior faculty physician-scientists is to keep research commitment to >=75% (primarily because it is mandated by the NIH K08 and K99 mechanisms and BWF CAMS). It is definitely hard to get anything accomplished on less than that, especially in these ultra-competitive funding times (which is predicted to get worse before it gets any better).

    If you are not yet in the position to seek out faculty positions, and if you are only getting started with research, then I have to give you some tough love here. Basic science is hard. People will have their own opinions about this, but most people who have gone the distance with both medicine and lab research will say that science is infinitely harder (with a greater measure of luck and uncertainty). Succeeding in these times require you to give 110%. If you have completed clinical training with little prior research experience, you will need to spend dedicated research time for several years and crank out papers on a postdoc salary (with occasional clinical moonlighting to pay the bills). It is doubtful you will make 100K on this schedule and getting anything substantive accomplished. If you have student loans, be sure to choose a line of research that is PATIENT ORIENTED CLINICAL RESEARCH, so that you can qualify for NIH LRP (Loan Repayment Program). NIH LRP does NOT fundamentally support basic research. Be sure to visit the NIH LRP web site to review your qualifications and make sure your research falls wtihin eligibility. Once you've completed a successful postdoc (defined by high impact publication/s and competitiveness for independent grant funding), THEN you can be in the position to negotiate a faculty appointment with a research and clinical effort split.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  9. threecoins

    threecoins Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    Thank you both for all your helpful input. I know research is not a walk in the park. Let me start by clarifying my goals , my ultimate goal is to match in a top hematology oncology program with well grounded research opportunities to have a career that combines research and clinical duties. I am a IMG hence not eligible to any NIH funding. I also need to do full time hospitalist for a couple of years to get my permanent resident status but I want to make the best out of this time to have a footstep in the door in the research world, probably publish a paper and beef up my CV. I might end up doing a PhD or a Masters after I get my permanent resident status. I would love to listen for any advice you may have for me in this situation. Thank you all.

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