Am I missing something? Is CP training helpful for research in a way that I don't understand? I've been thinking of it as a way to market yourself to private practice groups who may need someone to cover blood bank or something.
Yes, you are missing something. CP is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to have an 80/20 or MORE research-type career. Reasons:
1. CP training, while 3 years officially, only has 18 months of "required" clinical time. This means a built in 18 mo. post doc. That means a possibility to become a research-focused faculty member right out of residency.
2. The clinical component is not as strenuous as, well, probably any other residency program out there. Yes, CP-only residency programs are a LOT more intensive than the "tack-on" versions in most AP/CP training programs, but compare to anything else and it's a breeze. Even during your transfusion medicine/pheresis time, and if you have in-house call it is not that bad. seriously.
3. When finished, your clinical responsibilities, in chemistry and micro at least, probably won't interfere too much from running a lab full-time. And you get paid like a clinician. in transfusion medicine you will likely have to see patients, but residents will do most of the grunt work (like any medicine team). I am quickly realizing that AP is not the haven I thought it would be for running a lab- if you are on service in surgical pathology it is a LOT of work.
4. If you are interested in Hemepath, this is a nice way of getting to that route without having to be a slave to the gross bench.
5. CP, as it's name implies, is a lot more related to medicine. You will have to keep up with your medicine and act more as a consultant to medicine services. You will be more up-to-date (IMHO) on specific patients and their care. In AP you have a high case load, and it is only a rare occurrence that you know more about a patient than there age, sex, ethnicity, and past surgical pathology history.