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    Hello,

    I am currently a third year medical student, recently (last ~6 months) I have been seriously questioning my reasoning for doing medicine and whether it is really the right path for me. Pre-Clinical studies I really enjoyed and found physiology and the basic science side of things fascinating. Clinical medicine though has not continued to provide that fascination/drive.

    The more I think about it the more I find my interests and personality lean more toward the side of pursuing a career in academic basic science research.

    However, what I am unsure of is should I simply crack on with the next 2 years and graduate then pursue a PhD or would I be better off pursuing an academic foundation/clinical fellowship etc pathway?

    Any advice help would be great.
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    I think you have many potential options if you wanted to pursue a more academic route either inside or outside of medicine.

    Firstly it is fairly natural to have your sense of motivation go up and down, especially during clinical years where there is often a big jump from being a normal university student to basically being a student doctor. If you are questioning whether medicine is for you I would recommend you speak to your careers lead and/or tutor because this does happen and they do have experience talking through the options.

    Given you are in third year I wonder if you have the option to intercalate? I personally took a year out to do a Masters in Research which was primarily lab based and gave me a masters level qualification that would help me get a PhD irrespective of how I do in medicine (about half the students were bio-medical graduates and/or on 4 year PhDs). This would seem like a relatively safe way to get some academic experience without having to give up medicine. In fact one person who intercalated ended up going directly into a PhD (although he does intend to come back and finish his medical degree afterwards!).

    Continuing your medical degree does have merit as well as there are lots of opportunities to do research/science in the future and to make that your focus - some specialties practically require you to get a PhD and most big departments will have a Professor or two that could support you. However you will still need to be clinically competent and if you absolutely hate the clinical side of things that won't be easy or particularly fun.

    Another option you mentioned would be an academic foundation post and that can certainly be a way to get some more research experience during F1/F2 however that is by no means a requirement. The only thing you need to progress in academia within medicine is a PhD and there are certain points in training where you can take the necessary time to get one, and hopefully be funded to do it.

    In the short term you could try to get a summer project or SSC that involves some lab work? I was fortunate that I was able to do both those things in my third and forth years alongside my clinical learning.
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    (Original post by RoadRunner)
    Hello,

    I am currently a third year medical student, recently (last ~6 months) I have been seriously questioning my reasoning for doing medicine and whether it is really the right path for me. Pre-Clinical studies I really enjoyed and found physiology and the basic science side of things fascinating. Clinical medicine though has not continued to provide that fascination/drive.

    The more I think about it the more I find my interests and personality lean more toward the side of pursuing a career in academic basic science research.

    However, what I am unsure of is should I simply crack on with the next 2 years and graduate then pursue a PhD or would I be better off pursuing an academic foundation/clinical fellowship etc pathway?

    Any advice help would be great.
    I can sympathise so so much with this. I did a BSc then a Masters and heavily considered 'dropping out' to do a PhD in science. I didn't though and now I'm going to do an AFP next year. I think the things to think about are really that the grass is not always greener. Spend some time looking at science PhDs/early postdocs - it's bloody tough... at least in medicine you have constant security and there are good oportunities to get involved in science if you want to. Also if you go into science with a medical degree, I think that is quite an advantage in many ways.
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    Finish the MBChB - even if you go straight into a PhD afterwards it will help propel your research career forwards. Unless you actively dislike clinical medicine, I would give serious thought to developing a career as a clinical academic. If you follow the AFP/ACF/CL academic training pathway and do your PhD at ST3, your salary under the new contract will be £52k per year compared to the £16k you can expect if you complete the PhD with a regular bursary straight after medical school.

    There are many funding opportunities available to you as a clinical academic that cannot be accessed by pure basic scientists. You can also fall back on your clinical specialty if your field falls apart or the research grants dry up. Pure scientists just get "performance managed" (and ultimately dismissed) if they aren't at the top of their game in the current academic environment. As a clinician scientist you can try your luck at research with the security of always being employed. If your research is successful, you can reduce your clinical hours to a day a week (or nothing if you want...) and evolve into a pure scientist. You will however always have the additional credibility that comes with having been a clinician.
 
 
 
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