A Guest Post from Sandra Ochoa…
Well.. .my idea is always that prior you decide to set yourself on one of these paths do a little clinical shadowing and several lab research.
Some definitions first….
MD: Indicates Doctor of Medicine, a doctor’s education in medicine
PhD: Is the highest qualification obtained at a college or university, usually requiring 3 to 5 years of original analysis in a specific field of study.
MD/PhD: refers to an education consisting of both the medical training of a medical doctor (MD or DO) with the rigor of a scientific examiner (PhD)
You could also consider to get involved in some clinical research. This can get you a taste of the different fields. Some MDs do clinical research, if you decide to get interested in that, you would not need an MD/PhD.
You actually must gain some quality exposure before you make any decisions. Neither clinical work nor lab bench job is what it really may appear like in theory. You will need to get your hands dirty. Make an effort to request information, learn about them, and have a couple of tastes of each one.
I do think it’s more easy to find a personality niche when you find yourself delighted by the specific work you’re doing daily, rather than make an effort to enjoy doing work you hate, even if you fit the “typical profile” of the career.
Generally a double degree is made for those who find themselves interested in both, basically. However, you will possibly not wind up doing a lot of the actual bench work if you are an MD/PhD. The MD/PhD that’s the P.I. of the research laboratory I currently work for NEVER does the actual experiments we currently do, he simply manages administrational stuff and discusses problems/ideas together with his henchmen.
All his time throughout the week is spent on clinical work. I am not sure this may be the way it always works, but this really is my own experience. However , if you might be equally interested in both, then I would still think an MD/PhD will probably be worth considering.
MD/PhD will place you at some advantage in grant-writing when you are a new researcher. (Eventually, the degree matters less because research employers assess you according to your actual accomplishments.)
Imagine that studying scientific research can be easier if you have been trained as being a physician. This advantage just isn’t well worth the extra 3 years, however it is somewhat of an advantage. It offers you the flexibleness to determine patients if you want. A slight majority of the MD/PhD’s I have come across don’t, but some do and in any case all of them could. It may help out with the pursuit of an academic position too.
So you? What are your advantages and disadvantages of choosing a MD, MD/PhD or PhD career?
About the writer: S. Ochoa is writing for the clinical research training program blog, her own and non-commercial in nature hobby blog to deliver free ideas for clinical research training newbie’s/experts to help them get a new job.