Oct 21, 2013
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I'm trying to go into a competitive specialty and decided to take a year off for research to improve my chances. It makes me wonder though, what is it about research that makes residencies find you a better applicant? Seems to me that if you can find a good mentor, it's very easy to publish a bunch of papers. All research is at a med student level is copy pasting data off of patient charts into an excel sheet, dumping it on a statistician to do the dirty work, and then mimicking an already published article in an attempt to write up a paper that the mentor will inevitably completely change anyway. Doesn't seem to take much brains or skill to me. Obviously, if someone can do all this while crushing his rotations and steps and publishes multiple papers without taking any time off, that student is better than the one with only good grades but no research and the one with good grades and research but needed extra time. But as in my case with taking an additional year to pump out abstracts and papers, I feel like any monkey can accomplish that and don't get why residencies care so much about it
 

qwerty89

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Jun 7, 2010
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Academic prestige is all about research. You think there's a big difference between a top 25 vs top 5 program in terms of actual clinical training? The big difference is research. To be an elite academic center you need big time research. PDs want residents who will do research which makes the program look better in the short-run (more residents presenting at national conferences) and also in the long-run (as future academic faculty making for a better alumni list).

Of course in reality only a small minority REALLY care about research. Everybody else just feigns legit interest and does it to reach the next step on the ladder. Undergrad to top medschool. top medschool to residency. residency to fellowship. and so on...
 
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68PGunner

Another metrics in order to thin out the applicants. If a PD has excess of applicants with great Step scores, great preclinical grades, and a bunch of published research, another metric will be put in place in order to thin out the applicants. Gunning for that special competitive specialty in the name of prestige is a lose-lose scenario. Imagine yourself with that great Step scores, preclinical grades, and published research as an Attending Physician in Rad-Onc right now. Life will be depressing. I can say the same thing for those IM studs that go into Nephrology. So, the msg here is to do the best that you can and gun for that specialty that you find interesting regardless of other people's view of the prestige factor.
 
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fasteddie911

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Nov 29, 2009
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Competitive programs are typically linked with large academic centers where research is heavily emphasized as way to be seen as a leader in medicine, being important and putting your program's name out there, and money. The programs want residents/fellows that will embrace this mindset and help them achieve these goals and potentially join the team as an attending and continue to build their prestige and funding. Secondly, PD's also realize that most people won't stay in academics and are just padding their resume with research, but having some research background at least shows you can be used as a research workhorse during your training and it shows (at least on paper which is what matters for an application) who is truly interested or committed to the field.
 
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Lya

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May 13, 2013
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All research is at a med student level is copy pasting data off of patient charts into an excel sheet, dumping it on a statistician to do the dirty work, and then mimicking an already published article in an attempt to write up a paper that the mentor will inevitably completely change anyway.
There are med students who can do all the statistics without relying on statisticians. There are med students who help with protocols and prospective studies. There are med students who come up with their own ideas after reading literature.

After you work with the same mentor for years and write several papers with them, you know what they want in your paper and the quality of your first manuscript draft gets better over time. Eventually your mentor revises less and less.

Also remember, usually no one publishes a first-author paper in Lancet/NEJM/etc. as their very first publication in their CV. Everyone has to start somewhere to get their feet wet, like case reports and retrospective studies.
 

Anti-PD1

Neurosurgery :)
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There are med students who can do all the statistics without relying on statisticians. There are med students who help with protocols and prospective studies. There are med students who come up with their own ideas after reading literature.

After you work with the same mentor for years and write several papers with them, you know what they want in your paper and the quality of your first manuscript draft gets better over time. Eventually your mentor revises less and less.

Also remember, usually no one publishes a first-author paper in Lancet/NEJM/etc. as their very first publication in their CV. Everyone has to start somewhere to get their feet wet, like case reports and retrospective studies.
This.
 

failedatlife

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Jul 20, 2016
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There are med students who can do all the statistics without relying on statisticians. There are med students who help with protocols and prospective studies. There are med students who come up with their own ideas after reading literature.

After you work with the same mentor for years and write several papers with them, you know what they want in your paper and the quality of your first manuscript draft gets better over time. Eventually your mentor revises less and less.
...And this matters to PD because?????

This is all really nice (i.e.: I enjoyed doing everything you listed in med school), but at the end of the day NO ONE cares. It's your Step 1 or bust kids, just focus on that. Let the future unmatched people (like myself in a year) sit and write your papers when you become residents and later attendings in the fields we failed to match in.
 

Dwan

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...And this matters to PD because?????

This is all really nice (i.e.: I enjoyed doing everything you listed in med school), but at the end of the day NO ONE cares. It's your Step 1 or bust kids, just focus on that. Let the future unmatched people (like myself in a year) sit and write your papers when you become residents and later attendings in the fields we failed to match in.
There are many people with high step 1 and many pubs, esp in ENT. They do care, but why not take someone who has both?
 

IslandStyle808

Akuma residency or bust!
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Aug 5, 2012
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...And this matters to PD because?????

This is all really nice (i.e.: I enjoyed doing everything you listed in med school), but at the end of the day NO ONE cares. It's your Step 1 or bust kids, just focus on that. Let the future unmatched people (like myself in a year) sit and write your papers when you become residents and later attendings in the fields we failed to match in.
When a PD has to go through tons of people that have high scores, uh yeah they DO CARE about research. I know you are trying to vent as usual but lets be real here.
 
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6

68PGunner

...And this matters to PD because?????

This is all really nice (i.e.: I enjoyed doing everything you listed in med school), but at the end of the day NO ONE cares. It's your Step 1 or bust kids, just focus on that. Let the future unmatched people (like myself in a year) sit and write your papers when you become residents and later attendings in the fields we failed to match in.
The field of ENT could always use more coffee boys or massage therapists. All of those ENT procedures with games of tennis after work will surely bring along some sore shoulders to work.
 

neusu

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Finishing a research project is an indicator that a student follows through on assignments and delivers. Too many are motivated and idealistic, hunkering down and completing something shows resolve. Also, medicine is about communicating our knowledge and written manuscripts are the standard. Finally, an academic department desires people who add to the contributions of the department.
 
OP
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Oct 21, 2013
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I understand what everyone is saying and it all makes sense. However, it still seems to me like any average joe can do clinical research and pump out the results. It takes time and effort, sure, but any med student can do it. I don't see how having research done makes you a better student, resident, or doctor. And like what someone above has said, the majority of med students who pump out research in med school have no intention of doing it in the future or going into academic medicine. I'm taking the full year off for research because I want to match into my desired specialty, but I have absolutely no desire to do any more once I am an attending (and will probably do only the minimum that is required of me as a resident). Just seems like much ado about nothing.
 
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Anti-PD1

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I understand what everyone is saying and it all makes sense. However, it still seems to me like any average joe can do clinical research and pump out the results. It takes time and effort, sure, but any med student can do it. I don't see how having research done makes you a better student, resident, or doctor. And like what someone above has said, the majority of med students who pump out research in med school have no intention of doing it in the future or going into academic medicine. I'm taking the full year off for research because I want to match into my desired specialty, but I have absolutely no desire to do any more once I am an attending (and will probably do only the minimum that is required of me as a resident). Just seems like much ado about nothing.
This is basically it. Jump! How high?

Same equation.
 
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Jul 30, 2017
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Interesting thread.

Several of the comments are probably correct, depending on the program you are applying to.

I think at the end of the day, many folks are trying to recruit people who are similar to themselves -- during our interviews, you see the heavily research-minded people weighing this particularly high in their evaluation of an applicant, and you'll hear comments ike: "they didn't do any research...", "didn't know what they were talking about on this paper that their names shows up on...", "really seems to have a drive to become a funded researcher..." -- whatever. Faculty who don't really care much about research won't even look at the research done by an applicant unless it's a significant part of what they want to do later on.

While I agree most PDs think it's important, it's usually just "icing on the cake" -- we've never ranked somebody higher or lower just because we thought they would be a kickass researcher (after all, during the bulk of your time in residency, this is not what we're asking you to do). We mostly just want to know that you fit in with the culture/atmosphere/other residents and that we can get you where you want to go. To comment on the OP's question: I'd imagine most PDs got there by being research-minded in some capacity, and therefore they are recruiting individuals who are like themselves.

I think an applicant just has to be honest with themselves and explain exactly what they want to get out of training. I really appreciate the applicant who can come to our institution (high end academia) and say "I know research is important, but I don't want it to be my primary thing" -- these are people who aren't playing a game, they know themselves, and sometimes will surprise you with what they can produce research-wise during their time in residency.
 
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