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Would medical research experience will be applicable to a neuropsych PhD?

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catiedid92

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Hello all!

I am planning to apply to neuropsych programs in the future. I have a year of undergraduate research experience and presented a research poster based on our findings at the annual APA conference, but I suspect that I need some more experience to be a viable candidate.

I have been applying to research assistant positions in the psychology department at my local (very prestigious) university without much luck. I'm sure that anyone here knows how difficult it is to get your foot in the door for these sorts of positions. Currently, I am working as a hospital tech caring for psych and medical patients at a well-regarded hospital with an affiliated research institute. There is currently an available research assistant position in the clinical oncology research department. I suspect I have a much better shot at getting this position--my current manager has expressed to me that she would give me a glowing reference and it is always easier to get a job at a "familial" organization.

What I am wondering is, would this type of research experience be viewed positively by psych PhD admissions committees? I would like to study neuropsychology or rehab psychology--whatever I do, it will probably overlap with medical conditions. I have a background in health psych and human bio, so this job is not entirely out of step with my past interests. The position involves working directly with patients, administering questionnaires and unspecified "neurological tests" (amongst other duties).

I fear that this is the only realistic opportunity I have to gain paid research experience. Is it better to get this experience, or none at all? The institute also does research into neurological conditions including dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases--these are the populations I most want to work with. It's possible that if I can snag this job, I could transition over to another department in time.
 
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NeuroJaguar

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This sounds perfect -- you can definitely use the neurology -> neuropsychology and rehab angle in your application materials. You can probably find some PIs/advisors who study neuropsych of cancer and/or health psych in oncology to work with in grad school. And the transfer to neurological conditions research sounds like a great opportunity too.
 
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catiedid92

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This sounds perfect -- you can definitely use the neurology -> neuropsychology and rehab angle in your application materials. You can probably find some PIs/advisors who study neuropsych of cancer and/or health psych in oncology to work with in grad school. And the transfer to neurological conditions research sounds like a great opportunity too.

Thanks so much for your insight!
 
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conky124

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I'd even consider it a strength that can set you apart from other student/applicants.
 
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