Thursday, April 12, 2007

Research Class and Third Formative Portfolios

I'm very tired of going to my clinical research class. But I don't want to drop it, because now we're so close to the end. The last day is May 3, so are only a few more sessions. And the readings are actually helpful. I just can't stand sitting through the three hour power point talks. Today's session was about health economics. The readings weren't bad, and I wouldn't even have minded sitting through the class for an hour or so. But three hours of it is just too much. The basic gist of today's session is that it is difficult to decide between treatments when one gives a better survival but a worse quality of life than the other. Or, it's hard to decide if one has a certain set of bad side effects and the other has a different set. There is a calculation called QALY (quality adjusted life years) that takes these issues into consideration. Like I said, it's a good thing to know about, but wow, I couldn't wait for class to be over. It felt like noon would never come. I guess I am just feeling kind of all around burned out.

It doesn't help that our third formative portfolios were due today at 5 PM. We're up to seven of the nine competencies now, and they had us address each bullet point under each competency. I got mine done around 3:30, but now I feel too exhausted to do any of the reading for tomorrow. Thankfully, I don't have to do a learning objective tonight. I will just have to get up early and do some reading for seminar in the morning before school.


Anonymous said...

I have questions about the research year.
About how many students choose to do the research year in the 3rd year instead of the 5th? And, if you want to do it in the 3rd year, is this generally accepted by adminstration or do you have to go through a lot of hassle to arrange this?

I ask this because, I feel, that doing the research in the 3rd year offers some advantages. 1) you can really use that time to study for and hammer the board exams. granted, research takes time, but i imagine itd be easier to study for boards while working in a lab versus doing 3rd year classes.
2) i feel like doing a research year after finishing the M.D. curriculum might send you (or at least me) into this weird feeling of a "transition phase" of life. you know you'll do residency in a year, you're just sorta waiting. 3) and related to 2, if your research goes really well, than by doing it in the 3rd year, u buy urself more time/opportunity to finish it off. lets say a few exps still need to get done b4 publication. itd be easier to do that if u still have 2 years left at cclcm versus diving into a residency program thatll take up all of ur time. 4)and it may feel awkward applying for residencies while doing research since most students applying will do it in the 4th year. it may confuse people?

anyhow, id like to hear ur 2 cents. thanks again for the blog
also, is there a stipend for the research year? if so, if you win HHMI grant, can that be used + the stipend by cclcm?

CCLCM Student said...

Yes, you can definitely do your research during M3. Actually, you could NOT do the research during M5 even if you wanted to, because your thesis is due in January of that year. Most of the current M3s chose to do their rotations first. But a few did their research this year, and a few are alternating blocks of research with blocks of rotations. Right now, I plan to alternate my research and clinical blocks. Each block is 4 months, and you have a lot of flexibility to schedule the research and clinical blocks over 2.5 years, as long as you complete all of the requirements in time. If you chose to do your research during M3 and your rotations during M4, this would not be a problem at all.

Just to clarify though, you CANNOT take Step 1 of the boards during M3, because passing Step 1 is a pre-requisite for passing M2. So we will all take Step 1 at the end of M2 (usually in late June, not in March of M2 like the UP students do). We get six weeks off at the end of M2 to study for Step 1, which I think is pretty comparable to what other med schools do. You have a lot more flexibility with scheduling both parts of Step 2. Some people will take them during M4 and others during M5, depending on when they finish their rotations.

The issue of outside grants has started to come up. Two of the current M3s have Howard Hughes grants, and my understanding is that the school will NOT give you the CCLCM stipend on top of the outside stipend for the research year. The rationale for this is that you cannot receive two grants to do the same research. On the other hand, the administration recently decided to still give the summer research stipends to those of us who won outside summer research grants from private organizations. And I do not know how they will handle it if you have a Dean's Scholarship (which awards full tuition and a stipend for all five years) and then you also win an outside grant. The school is new enough that a lot of these issues are still being worked out.