(9/27/00 6:04:44 pm)
Ortho Research/Taking a year off for Research
I am a second year med student interested in ortho. I have read your postings and have found them
extremely helpful. I realize that grades/evaluations are crucial to the application for orthopedics. During
the past summer, I did some clinical research in opthalmology (retrospective study) that hopefully I will
be able to publish. I am finishing and writing up the project this year. However, during the summer, I
really developed a fascination for ortho. while observing surgeries. My worry is that I have not done any
research in orthopedics. How important is doing ortho. research, and can I wait until next year (third
year to start a project)? Is publication crucial? Also, what do you guys/gals think about doing a year of
ortho. research after med school (since research is so important and since I am still not 100% sure I
want to do ortho.) I read somewhere that it might not look good to take time off. I would greatly
appreciate if anyone could respond. Thanks a lot,
Confused little med student
(9/28/00 11:53:03 am)
As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking a research year. Ortho, for better
or worse, is quite competitive, and research is becoming a prerequisite for the better programs. My
decision to take a year off following my second year of medical school served two purposes: to pursue a
research project I had initiated the previous summer and to enjoy a break from school. In the past few
months I've picked up a few more projects, and have had the opportunity to spend time in the clinic and
the OR with many of the attendings at this institution (including the residency director). I've also had the
chance to experience the normalcy that the majority of my friends have enjoyed for the few years since
graduating college. However, this year is becoming an expensive propostion. The grant money that I've
received is inadequate, and I've been forced to take out loans to support my living expenses. In addition,
I would have enjoyed finishing medical school with my class, which included a number of my good friends.
You have to ask yourself a number of questions. Have you taken a previous break from your education?
Can you afford to take a year off? Can you work on viable projects that will be in manuscript or poster
form before you apply to residency? Would you potentialy want to go out of house to do research( your
med school may/may not have a strong ortho department)? Are you sure you want to be an orthopod?
(although this research would be beneficial regardless of what you eventually decide to do). These are
the questions that are relevant to the decision. I feel that a year of research can only augment your CV.
Others may feel differently. I can only speak from my experience. It's a great way to get exposure to the
field, and maybe get a few letters from reputable surgeons in the interim. Having said all of this, its only
one year, and it won't make or break you either way. You have some research done, which is more than
most students can say. Decide what's good for you, and don't sweat it.