Having a solid understanding of the research process allows for an informed interpretation of hypotheses, results and translation to practice.
A health care career can span a half century. How you practice in your first year of out of school is going to differ from your practice in the year before you retire. To be an effective health care practitioner you must understand how treatments, drugs and therapies move from discovery and development to the bedside. You should also be able to read scientific journals critically. The best way to truly understand research is to live the practice for a time. Even if you don’t plan to engage in research as a practitioner, having some research experience will be of value in your career.
Research can be bench or clinically based; it can be volunteer, a summer internship, part-time during the school year, or a full time co-op. When assisting with research make sure that you aren’t blindly gathering data or performing experiments. Rather, make an effort to understand the process and outcomes of the work. Think critically about the hypothesis being tested and the results gathered.
For MD and DO applicants, programs will expect you to have some research experience in college. Though not required for dental, optometry, podiatry or veterinary school, research experience makes your application stand out among the applicant pool.
For some practitioners, research will be a part of your career. If you are interested in being a physician scientist, then research as an undergraduate is particularly important. Please visit the Research and Medicine section of the website for more information.