Research and academia - how important for applying to specialty training?

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Galapagos630
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Hi, sorry if this is in the wrong place or easy to find answers to elsewhere.

I'm a current final year on a grad med course, I've done well academically in med school and long-term I'm looking at haematology in particular. Long-term I'm keen on applying for posts in London which will obviously be pretty competitive.

The problem is that I had a rough time with research in my undergrad degree - I really disliked my lab work (I wasn't interested in the topic and felt unsupported and unwelcome by the post-doc supervising me) and underperformed on my dissertation because of that. I've really thrown myself fully into clinical medicine and loved it, but always had the nagging feeling that I really need to dip back into research if I'm going to be a haematologist one day, and I feel like the clock is ticking.

My question is how important is research/published papers in terms of applying for specialty training, particularly in haematology? Almost all of the haem consultants and higher trainees I've spoken to have done postgraduate degrees during training. How can I make my application as strong as possible as I go through FP and after (I'm planning at least one post-F2 year before applying), what should I be doing, and how do I actually go about it?
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Cheesychips1
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For Haem you would need to apply for IMT post F2
They lay out the point scoring for applications really nicely on this website -https://www.imtrecruitment.org.uk/recruitment-process/applying/application-scoring so you can start tailoring towards that
As you'll be able to see, presentations/ publications etc do carry a lot of points, but so does good quality QIPs, designing teaching courses etc.
If you did a decent audit and presented it at a conference that would get you quite a few points without horrendous effort.

You could even have a google for the Haem ST3 application guides to see what you would need to be doing later down the line.
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Cheesychips1
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Oh sorry to actually answer the part of your question about doing research, you could try and link up with a friendly Haematologist and do a project? Or as part of a student selected module or elective? Then there's academic foundation programmes which incorporate 4 months of research, and yes lots of Reg's in more academic specialities (Haem, onc, cardio) take time out during their training years to complete a PhD.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Galapagos630)
Hi, sorry if this is in the wrong place or easy to find answers to elsewhere.

I'm a current final year on a grad med course, I've done well academically in med school and long-term I'm looking at haematology in particular. Long-term I'm keen on applying for posts in London which will obviously be pretty competitive.
"Keen" or 'definitely definitely only London'? Might make a big difference.

... but always had the nagging feeling that I really need to dip back into research if I'm going to be a haematologist one day, and I feel like the clock is ticking.
It would be useful - you've seen the application criteria. But lab work is not the only kind of research, let alone lab work in the specific lab you were in before. Most people start with a simple case report, observational study or review article! Not a foot in the lab needed.

Almost all of the haem consultants and higher trainees I've spoken to have done postgraduate degrees during training.

True but if its anything like oncology, that's much less common that previous. The NHS is desperate for consultants and pushing people through without any higher degrees is way more common.

How can I make my application as strong as possible as I go through FP and after (I'm planning at least one post-F2 year before applying), what should I be doing, and how do I actually go about it?
As stated - have a look at the application criteria. Things like teaching and audit are way easier than research, although if you get in touch with some haematologists you can get some research (clinical, or whatever) easily enough.
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Galapagos630
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Thanks both, much appreciated.

(Original post by nexttime)
"Keen" or 'definitely definitely only London'? Might make a big difference.
Keen, because I'm not 100% sure I want to go to London, but I want to have that option and therefore would like to structure my application so I would be a strong candidate there. What sort of things would you say are "musts" for London that are "nice to have" for everywhere else?

(Original post by nexttime)
As stated - have a look at the application criteria. Things like teaching and audit are way easier than research, although if you get in touch with some haematologists you can get some research (clinical, or whatever) easily enough.
Yeah, I've previously had a good look at the application criteria and would like to get started with small teaching projects and audits, but obviously the prospect of research is something I'm seriously considering. Do you think that's something I should be doing while I'm still at university (even in final year?) or something to consider during FP or in my year out afterwards? I'm not planning on applying for AFP.

I know that lab work is only a small part of research but is there any particular benefits attached to it (especially in haem) that would be advantageous? Or is it not relevant what type of research it is?
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nexttime
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(Original post by Galapagos630)
Keen, because I'm not 100% sure I want to go to London, but I want to have that option and therefore would like to structure my application so I would be a strong candidate there. What sort of things would you say are "musts" for London that are "nice to have" for everywhere else?
No not really. Its just that you can expect the average scores to be higher. How you get those points is up to you.

Yeah, I've previously had a good look at the application criteria and would like to get started with small teaching projects and audits, but obviously the prospect of research is something I'm seriously considering. Do you think that's something I should be doing while I'm still at university (even in final year?) or something to consider during FP or in my year out afterwards? I'm not planning on applying for AFP.
Yeah nothing to stop you doing it at med school. Its easier in some ways - you might have more free time. The audit and research projects I've done that I'm most proud of were done on my elective, and I talked about them in my interview for ST3 jobs.

I know that lab work is only a small part of research but is there any particular benefits attached to it (especially in haem) that would be advantageous? Or is it not relevant what type of research it is?

It won't get you more pre-interview marks, but given that haematology has a lab component in the day to day job it might enable a stronger interview.
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