Monday, July 18, 2011

MD or PhD

Let us return to the discussion about combining research and clinical work. Specifically starting a new group in a physiology lab and working as a junior doctor at a university hospital.

I have now finished my first spat of full time research in the new lab after a year as a clinician. I have been able to do most of what I set out to do this semester, but I will probably have to work as much next spat of research to make it work then too. The reason for this is that none of the senior PIs are directly behind my project, therefore none of them thinks that I should encroach on their space. At the same time they are all very supportive and positive to me being there. Just in a more theoretical way. What will happen is that in a year or two (hopefully sooner), there will have to be a centrally controlled reallocation of the lab space at the department, until then I will probably have to continue on borrowed space.

Funding wise, it is going alright. With a couple of minor grants I have had enough production of preliminary data to be able to apply for some real grants. Career wise, the next step will be a docenture, which is kind of like the Swedish version of tenure. You need a number of original publications and you need to show that you are independent as a scientist. On top of that you have to have taught a minimum number of classes. In combination with clinical work it is a chore to get it all done as quickly as possible, but nothing much happens until it is done.

Clinically I have spent the first year in medicine, which is my home field, so that has been good. Now I am going to rotate out into psychiatry and surgery this autumn, and while that may be interesting and possibly good for something, it is also a bit of a waste. Especially as I am just picking up speed in the lab again after moving back to Sweden. I know, it was my choice to try to combine the clinic with research and rotation is a necessary part of a junior doctor's life, but I can still complain. There is surprisingly little time over when working clinically, but I hope to spend the autumn revising and submitting some new and exciting manuscripts, and writing even more grants.

But now for my last week of vacation.

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