Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Combining clinical and experimental careers

Once upon a time in the last century I was admitted to the medical school at Uppsala university; to a special branch program for just twelve students who thought they wanted to do research as well as become Real Doctors(TM). That program was canceled just a few years later because not enough people went into basic research.

I did, but, like the cellophane man, I am all but invisible. After having done research exclusively for a couple of years I am now trying to get back to clinical work and hopefully work out a combination of sorts. This may sound stupid to you (as it should), it even sounds stupid to me. As of today I know no one in my generation who has done it successfully, and I know of very few in the earlier generation. Most whom were already consultants when they started doing research, and produce somewhere upwards of half a day per week of clinical work.

That may be enough for a consultant but as a junior doctor working half a day a week will get you nowhere. Possibly make you dangerous. I have been considering a fifty/fifty arrangement, but how do you compete for grants while putting in only half the work of the competition? The result will inevitably be that I become a cellophane man in research as well.

Ignoring my all knowing, prescient and synical self I set out to get such a fifty/fifty position.

Damn it's hard. I didn't really mean all that about being a cellophane man, but damn. I thought I had been working pretty hard, writing papers and doing generally important stuff, but what does the hospital think about that?

Me: - I have done some really interesting research.

Hosp. - So, you haven't even worked as a temp in the ER?

Me: - But I have external funding.

Hosp. - So, you haven't even worked as a temp in the ER?

Me: -mmmf...

Then my limbs start sticking toghether like cellophane does and I crumple into a small ball of see-through plastic.

So now I am trying to juggle research and grant writing with getting a temporary position as a clinician so that I can apply for a proper job at some future time.

Wish me luck,


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