Medical CV building Watch

Dreamweaver
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Hi, I'm a second year medical student. At the moment I'm going though a process of exploring specialties and seeing what sort of things I like. I've realised that certain fields are ridiculously competitive. What sort of things should I be doing to build a CV? I would like to do some generic things that would look good for anything that I apply to, however I have taken a liking to ophthalmology. Would doing some research/an audit be useful and how do I go about organising it? I would be very grateful if anyone could impart some knowledge. Thanks!
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Beska
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(Original post by Dreamweaver)
Hi, I'm a second year medical student. At the moment I'm going though a process of exploring specialties and seeing what sort of things I like. I've realised that certain fields are ridiculously competitive. What sort of things should I be doing to build be CV? I would like to do some generic things that would look good for anything that I apply to, however I have taken a liking to ophthalmology. Would doing some research/an audit be useful and how do I go about organising it? I would be very grateful if anyone could impart some knowledge. Thanks!
Are you just finishing second year or just finishing first year, just going into second year? Basically I'm going to suggest doing a summer project - it's probably too late now to get a project for this year's summer, but if you're just going into second year most medical schools have a long summer between 2nd -> 3rd year, so you could do one then. I never did one because I didn't really knew they existed and I regret it, so I'd recommend it. If you're currently in 2nd year and going into 3rd year then it's probably not going to be possible because summers get too short during clinical years.

On a similar vein, I'd recommend intercalation - I think generally it's a good idea for medics to intercalate just for the good of our future medical academics/doctors as scholars/etc and for the skills you develop. Particularly if you're keen on a competitive specialty. What medical school are you at? Most intercalate after 3rd year into a BSc (or equivalent) but some allow intercalation into masters degrees later in the course. A degree doesn't need to perfectly match your future specialty, just the general skills are useful but it's obviously a plus if your degree matches your career aspirations. It isn't life or death though. The points however carry through your entire career so it's quite a good "CV thing".

Other general things - get involved in societies at your medical school (don't need to be medically related). Will help you develop leadership, teamwork, <insert other buzzword> etc. skills and it's also fun. General stuff includes BMA, academic medicine societies and medical education societies (if you have one). Medical education is very rewarding to get involved in. Do thing for fun though, don't do them "for your CV" because it'll be dull and people will know you're not actually interested. It's your spare time and you don't want to be doing dull things in your spare time, enough of that during working hours.....

For ophthalmology specifically, later on in the course you can register to sit an external exam called the Duke Elder prize. It's taken in the later clinical years and is an advanced ophthalmology exam that has lots of beyond-medical-student anatomy, physiology, investigation, management etc. and it's a good way to help you show off if you like that field. My understanding is that the number 1 person in the country actually gets the prize, but everybody that passes receives their ranking (e.g. 54/432) and it's useful presumably for ophthalmology interviews.

As for doing 'research', easiest way to get involved would be to do an intercalated degree or do some during a student selected component, the latter being good for conducting audit as well. It's possible to do an audit at any point though as long as you can juggle time well. For both cases have a look on your local university website for any kind of ophthalmology research group and get some contacts from that. Or ask colleagues in years above if they know anybody decent to do an audit with, or see if you have an ophthalmology society at your uni? It's a fairly niche specialty though.

All that said at the end of the day you don't really need to do anything up and above. It's somewhat useful to think ahead for competitive specialties but don't spend all your time worrying about it. If you don't want to intercalate because you want to earn $$$ sooner then don't force yourself if you wouldn't enjoy it, equally don't spend all your time auditing stuff and missing out on the pub/footy society/rugby society/ping pong society/watching TV with friends/etc because that's no fun either.
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Dreamweaver
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Thank you very much for the reply, it was very helpful. I have just finished my first year at Bart's and the London. By summer project do you mean organizing some research? I am planning to intercalate, perhaps in something like anatomy which would be useful for many specialties. I totally agree with you about the CV stuff, yes I do want stuff on there but it's more important that I find something that I enjoy and am passionate about. Thanks once again for the advice 👌🏻


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Beska
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(Original post by Dreamweaver)
Thank you very much for the reply, it was very helpful. I have just finished my first year at Bart's and the London. By summer project do you mean organizing some research? I am planning to intercalate, perhaps in something like anatomy which would be useful for many specialties. I totally agree with you about the CV stuff, yes I do want stuff on there but it's more important that I find something that I enjoy and am passionate about. Thanks once again for the advice 👌🏻


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That's good, you still have summer after 2nd year (presumably for Bart's) for a summer project. Yeh, a summer project is basically a 'taster' of research for usually around 6 weeks. It's useful because it gets you in contact with research, academics and gets you hands-on with an on-going research project (be it lab-based, clinical or dry) and can usually have some output. Most people I know that have done a summer project at the very least get a poster presentation out of it.

I'd recommend looking into it. If you have an academic medicine society at Bart's there's likely somebody there that knows what's the haps locally, but I imagine it must be fairly common for people to do summer projects in London. INSPIRE (http://www.acmedsci.ac.uk/careers/me...reers/INSPIRE/) is a 5-year grant given to loads of universities that provide funding for medical students to do summer projects, amongst other things. I'm not sure if Bart's has been given the grant. There's a chance they'll also be funding from other sources if not, or directly from one of your supervisor's grants depending on who/what subject/etc.

e: Yup Bart's has a grant, coordinated by Professor Thomas MacDonald who seems to be into ID/immunology (http://www.blizard.qmul.ac.uk/immuno...onald-tom.html) You don't necessarily have to do the summer project with him though, depending on the specific grant INSPIRE will fund any summer project. But it's best to contact him and ask for some advice. INSPIRE is all about getting medics involved in research so he will presumably be very happy and keen to hear from you!

e2: Yeh something general like anatomy is a good choice if you know you want to do surgery but not sure which specialty. Not sure if you want to do a taught intercalation or primarily a research one. Alternatively there is lots of research in areas such as immunology, transplant science, etc. that is relevant to surgery.
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Dexa
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For competitive specialities, you perhaps need a few extra things on your CV:

- Intercalate - although nowadays this is quite common and almost 50% will have a BSc. Wouldn't be surprised if MSc and MRes starts to become more popular. Some uni's are now even offering MB PhD 8 year degrees!
- Presentations - either oral or poster, national/international. Even better if they win you a prize.
- Publications - Quite difficult to get without a good supervisor. But possible to do in your intercalated year or even clinical years if you do some research outside of your course.
- Audits - Good to get under your belt after preclinical years. Especially closed loop audits, and if you can present them at a meeting or make them into a poster
- Prizes - undergrad e.g. distinctions, honours, postgrad, bursary awards, grants etc.
- Teaching - running a course or even informal teaching of some kind is a good skill

and lastly extra-curricular! don't turn into a machine and show that you still have a life outside medicine.
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Dreamweaver
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(Original post by Beska)
That's good, you still have summer after 2nd year (presumably for Bart's) for a summer project. Yeh, a summer project is basically a 'taster' of research for usually around 6 weeks. It's useful because it gets you in contact with research, academics and gets you hands-on with an on-going research project (be it lab-based, clinical or dry) and can usually have some output. Most people I know that have done a summer project at the very least get a poster presentation out of it.

I'd recommend looking into it. If you have an academic medicine society at Bart's there's likely somebody there that knows what's the haps locally, but I imagine it must be fairly common for people to do summer projects in London. INSPIRE (http://www.acmedsci.ac.uk/careers/me...reers/INSPIRE/) is a 5-year grant given to loads of universities that provide funding for medical students to do summer projects, amongst other things. I'm not sure if Bart's has been given the grant. There's a chance they'll also be funding from other sources if not, or directly from one of your supervisor's grants depending on who/what subject/etc.

e: Yup Bart's has a grant, coordinated by Professor Thomas MacDonald who seems to be into ID/immunology (http://www.blizard.qmul.ac.uk/immuno...onald-tom.html) You don't necessarily have to do the summer project with him though, depending on the specific grant INSPIRE will fund any summer project. But it's best to contact him and ask for some advice. INSPIRE is all about getting medics involved in research so he will presumably be very happy and keen to hear from you!

e2: Yeh something general like anatomy is a good choice if you know you want to do surgery but not sure which specialty. Not sure if you want to do a taught intercalation or primarily a research one. Alternatively there is lots of research in areas such as immunology, transplant science, etc. that is relevant to surgery.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah Professor MacDonald is in charge of the research here. I missed out on the stuff this summer as i applied too late. I'm impressed you found out he does it so quickly lol. For the coming summer I plan to attend an Ophthalmology based course for medical students at Moorfields and i'll try to find a consultant who needs some donkey work done for an audit. I'll start working on the things you mentioned at the beginning of next year. Thanks for clearing it up, I would say about 80% of the year still have no clue about this sort of stuff. I'm glad I have a sense of direction now.
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Dreamweaver
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(Original post by Dexa)
For competitive specialities, you perhaps need a few extra things on your CV:

- Intercalate - although nowadays this is quite common and almost 50% will have a BSc. Wouldn't be surprised if MSc and MRes starts to become more popular. Some uni's are now even offering MB PhD 8 year degrees!
- Presentations - either oral or poster, national/international. Even better if they win you a prize.
- Publications - Quite difficult to get without a good supervisor. But possible to do in your intercalated year or even clinical years if you do some research outside of your course.
- Audits - Good to get under your belt after preclinical years. Especially closed loop audits, and if you can present them at a meeting or make them into a poster
- Prizes - undergrad e.g. distinctions, honours, postgrad, bursary awards, grants etc.
- Teaching - running a course or even informal teaching of some kind is a good skill

and lastly extra-curricular! don't turn into a machine and show that you still have a life outside medicine.
Thanks for the reply, that's quite an extensive list. Does it matter if i do an audit that isn't related to the speciality i want to apply for? And how would one go about presenting at a conference?
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Beska
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(Original post by Dreamweaver)
Thanks for the advice. Yeah Professor MacDonald is in charge of the research here. I missed out on the stuff this summer as i applied too late. I'm impressed you found out he does it so quickly lol. For the coming summer I plan to attend an Ophthalmology based course for medical students at Moorfields and i'll try to find a consultant who needs some donkey work done for an audit. I'll start working on the things you mentioned at the beginning of next year. Thanks for clearing it up, I would say about 80% of the year still have no clue about this sort of stuff. I'm glad I have a sense of direction now.
No probs. Definitely do a summer project though - although I've caught the bug now for research/academia/teaching I think I would have caught it sooner if I knew about summer projects.

Most people (me as a key example!) wouldn't really know anything about this research stuff during the early years, and most won't really know what specialty they want to go into so won't really worry about CVs. As the course goes on people will start making decisions and increase their participation in this kinda stuff.

That audit stuff sounds fine. Audits are actually surprisingly easy to do all on your own - you don't need to just 'join' an audit already running. You still need a supervisor though. Maybe ask if there's anything that they've been wanting to audit but not got around to it yet - I know you've had no clinical experience yet so it's difficult to come up with topics off the cuff. The supervisor then might just give you a whole audit project - means you can then design, implement, data collect and analyse the data which 1) is more useful for your development than just data collection and 2) is a higher achievement as far as CV scoring goes.

As for your post above saying it's an extensive list - yeh it is, I remember reading lists like that in first and second year and thinking "no chance". But don't worry you'll probably get opportunity to achieve most things on the list, usually later in the course.

Oh and although it would probably be more useful to had an audit in the specialty you want, it doesn't matter too much - you'll be doing additional audits between now and when you apply anyway.
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plrodham1
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(Original post by Dreamweaver)
Hi, I'm a second year medical student. At the moment I'm going though a process of exploring specialties and seeing what sort of things I like. I've realised that certain fields are ridiculously competitive. What sort of things should I be doing to build a CV? I would like to do some generic things that would look good for anything that I apply to, however I have taken a liking to ophthalmology. Would doing some research/an audit be useful and how do I go about organising it? I would be very grateful if anyone could impart some knowledge. Thanks!
The best thing you could probably do is try and find someone who publishes a lot in the field you enjoy and then try an get in doing projects with them. The publications/presentations/posters will come so long as you are enthusiastic and have a good relationship with your supervisor.

It will also give you the chance to get into the department, make some more contacts (trainees are always looking for students to get involved with audits) and gain some clinical experience in the field.

There are also a significant number of prizes aimed at students you can enter which seem to have a reputation of not being too competitive. These are generally 500-2000 words (though some higher) which realistically is not to hard to research and write.
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Dexa
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(Original post by Dreamweaver)
Thanks for the reply, that's quite an extensive list. Does it matter if i do an audit that isn't related to the speciality i want to apply for? And how would one go about presenting at a conference?
No it doesn't have to be specific to opthal. In some instances it's good to keep your CV a bit generic and not too speciality oriented, just in case you change your mind later but more importantly it's good to safety-net as ophthal is a competitive run through specialty. So if you don't get into opthal first time, you may wish to do some core training and reapply later rather than taking a year out, in which case having generic stuff on your CV can help you land a good job in CMT/CST (core medical/core surgical). So ideally your CV should have a mix of opthal related stuff and generic stuff.

It's very easy to present at a conference. You'll come to realise that conferences are actually big money making events for companies and sponsors, and most of them will accept a half-decent abstract just so they can make you attend their £200 1 day event. But it's important to have presented some work so you can slap it on your CV. Almost any research work can be presented, you just need to find a conference related to the field of research you've done and note the deadline for their applications e.g. if you have some opthal research presenting it at the royal college ophthalmologists congress would look very good on your CV: https://www.rcophth.ac.uk/events-and...congress-2016/

They normally ask you to upload an abstract of your work, and will email you later saying if its been accepted as a poster/oral presentation.
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Dreamweaver
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(Original post by Beska)
No probs. Definitely do a summer project though - although I've caught the bug now for research/academia/teaching I think I would have caught it sooner if I knew about summer projects.

Most people (me as a key example!) wouldn't really know anything about this research stuff during the early years, and most won't really know what specialty they want to go into so won't really worry about CVs. As the course goes on people will start making decisions and increase their participation in this kinda stuff.

That audit stuff sounds fine. Audits are actually surprisingly easy to do all on your own - you don't need to just 'join' an audit already running. You still need a supervisor though. Maybe ask if there's anything that they've been wanting to audit but not got around to it yet - I know you've had no clinical experience yet so it's difficult to come up with topics off the cuff. The supervisor then might just give you a whole audit project - means you can then design, implement, data collect and analyse the data which 1) is more useful for your development than just data collection and 2) is a higher achievement as far as CV scoring goes.

As for your post above saying it's an extensive list - yeh it is, I remember reading lists like that in first and second year and thinking "no chance". But don't worry you'll probably get opportunity to achieve most things on the list, usually later in the course.

Oh and although it would probably be more useful to had an audit in the specialty you want, it doesn't matter too much - you'll be doing additional audits between now and when you apply anyway.
Thanks for the replies guys i really appreciate it.

@Beska

Sorry to bother you once again, i have a couple of questions. I did an audit project at a GP surgery as part of a SSC in 1st year. There were 4 of us, does this count as an actual audit or do i have to publish it? I asked the same tutor if i could do one myself and he agreed. Would this be a good thing to do? Is it better to do a hospital one and how do i make it "official"? Many thanks :-)
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Beska
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(Original post by Dreamweaver)
Thanks for the replies guys i really appreciate it.

@Beska

Sorry to bother you once again, i have a couple of questions. I did an audit project at a GP surgery as part of a SSC in 1st year. There were 4 of us, does this count as an actual audit or do i have to publish it? I asked the same tutor if i could do one myself and he agreed. Would this be a good thing to do? Is it better to do a hospital one and how do i make it "official"? Many thanks :-)
Still counts. Very very few audits get published because by their very nature they are local pieces of work with local impact. The main thing is that you do the audit and then present the results back to the relevant people - ie you told the GP surgery your findings and how they can improve. Something important in clinical audit is 'closing the loop', which is when after the initial audit has been done and you make recommendations you then go back again and re-audit to see if your recommendations have had any effect. You've spoken to the GP already and I'd recommend closing the loop of the initial audit.

Just conducting the audit makes it official. Audits generally aren't high impact pieces of research that generate lots of poster, presentation etc. output. It's always worth seeing if you can try and present it - either locally (ie to your department) or nationally at a conference, and usually student academic medicine conferences are good for this. I'm sure there are equivalents down in London but Newcastle has one annually called the Newcastle Academic Medicine Society Conference (that you are welcome to!) and Edinburgh has one called, I think, ATRIUM?
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