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Medical School Arms Race

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I remember looking back on my own med school odyssey - and looking down on applicants who didn't have even a single 1st author publication while applying to med school.  Interesting counter-point article.  Especially as I've seen several high school students working on projects with doctors recently

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/924457?src=soc_fb_200204_mscpedt_news_mdscp_residency&faf=1

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I like the article but want to clarify something to avoid scaring people; about half of the applicants to residency (in Canada) don't have a first author publication. When it comes to med applicants (again, in Canada), the vast majority don't have one, particularly of those who are applying straight out of undergrad.

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58 minutes ago, Galaxsci said:

I like the article but want to clarify something to avoid scaring people; about half of the applicants to residency (in Canada) don't have a first author publication. When it comes to med applicants (again, in Canada), the vast majority don't have one, particularly of those who are applying straight out of undergrad.

Just out of curiosity, where did you get those stats regarding amount of applicants with no first author publications applying for residency? Quite interesting, having done file review for a competitive specialty, almost all applicants had at least 1 first author publication.

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49 minutes ago, Aetherus said:

Just out of curiosity, where did you get those stats regarding amount of applicants with no first author publications applying for residency? Quite interesting, having done file review for a competitive specialty, almost all applicants had at least 1 first author publication.

Yeah but that is for a competitive specialty, the OP was saying in general. I don't know where they got the number from but it broadly makes sense to me at least. 

There is also way more to an applicant than how many first author pubs they have. I've also done file review and an applicant who has done a PhD is going to be expected to have more publications than someone who is fresh out of medical school and just because you have 20 publications, if we somehow know that you had family connections to get those publications i.e. parents are academic doctors etc. then it also won't be looked at in the same way. 

People know that a first author paper means you usually took the project from start to finish which is very different from a 3rd author who got tacked on as a favour or for a bit of data collection etc. People know that basic science research takes longer and is more work intensive than clinical research etc. 

All in all my advice is, work hard and don't worry too much about how your resume will be perceived. You will get credit where credit is due. 

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51 minutes ago, Edict said:

Yeah but that is for a competitive specialty, the OP was saying in general. I don't know where they got the number from but it broadly makes sense to me at least. 

There is also way more to an applicant than how many first author pubs they have. I've also done file review and an applicant who has done a PhD is going to be expected to have more publications than someone who is fresh out of medical school and just because you have 20 publications, if we somehow know that you had family connections to get those publications i.e. parents are academic doctors etc. then it also won't be looked at in the same way. 

People know that a first author paper means you usually took the project from start to finish which is very different from a 3rd author who got tacked on as a favour or for a bit of data collection etc. People know that basic science research takes longer and is more work intensive than clinical research etc. 

All in all my advice is, work hard and don't worry too much about how your resume will be perceived. You will get credit where credit is due. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think the amount of publications an applicant has is a mostly irrelevant metric unless you are trying to predict who will be productive researcher in residency. I would say being a good resident extends far beyond that and clinical acumen and collaborative skills are way more important.

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6 hours ago, Aetherus said:

Just out of curiosity, where did you get those stats regarding amount of applicants with no first author publications applying for residency? Quite interesting, having done file review for a competitive specialty, almost all applicants had at least 1 first author publication.

It's anecdotal from people who have done file review for larger, generally less competitive specialties. I'd imagine there's quite a large difference between specialties and the amount of research applicants do.

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3 hours ago, Galaxsci said:

It's anecdotal from people who have done file review for larger, generally less competitive specialties. I'd imagine there's quite a large difference between specialties and the amount of research applicants do.

I am sure there is ha.

There is going to be selection bias as well - if you want a more competitive specialty from an early point, or just have more publications and think you would be competitive in a field you discover you are more likely to have them and apply. 

Also tricky with CARMS - never any clear idea of what anyone really wants so people do what ever they can to hopefully get some traction. 

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I really like this article. I'm not sure if spending a lot of time on polishing one's CV early in life is actually a predictor of burnout later in life, but I am inclined to believe it.

For me personally, I absolutely hate chart reviews. I've started a few projects over the years that I couldn't finish. The ones I do finish never feel well done. Yet I did them because I felt I had to, never because I wanted to. I've always wrote off research as not for me.

However, in the last year, I've discovered my niche - technology in medicine. I'm so into the topic I'm now doing a full time masters in it (when previously I had completely written off research!). And I now have faculty asking to collaborate with me from multiple institutions. This is after a first place win at the national conference in my specialty. Intrinsic motivation - i.e. doing what you genuinely enjoy - is crucial. Everything else is a waste of time.

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