When it comes to research, many people may immediately associate it with wet lab bench work. However, there are many other types of research and one of them is clinical research. If you haven’t heard clinical research, it revolves around medical treatment and diagnostic equipment intended for human use.
Now that we have a general idea of clinical research, we can now look into some benefits and disadvantages in performing clinical research.
- How did you obtain clinical research experience?
I was very lucky that someone approached me with the opportunity. She was a medical student looking for clinical research assistant for her project, which involves a lot of patient interactions. In terms of getting the experience, I think it would be summarized into one sentence: APPLY BOARDLY and EARLY. It’s generally harder to get the position than web lab experience as they are less positions available. But I believe with determination and persistence, you would eventually find one 🙂
- The benefits of having clinical research
I think the most obvious benefit for having clinical experience is that you would know if medicine is right for you. This is the most proximate path for you to see what doctors do, what is it like to work in a hospital and what kind of obstacles you may encounter. Throughout my project, I have to say that my thoughts of doctors’ life changed dramatically. I first thought that a doctor spends most of his/her time talking to patients for accurate diagnosis. However, after learning and interacting with many doctors and resident doctors, I found out that doctors spend 40% of their time in patient interaction, but more time in paperwork, such as writing diagnosis, having meetings, or processing referrals. Thus, I strongly recommend participate in clinical research if you are interested in becoming a doctor.
- The drawback of clinical research
For myself, I think one of the drawbacks is time commitment can be very long. For example, in the project I involved in, we spent a year to finish it when our goal was 4 months. This was because we need to troubleshoot many things, especially the protocols in patient recruitments, which was the biggest obstacle. It was very hard for us to find suitable patients. Thus, if you want to be productive, I recommend to find an existing project that have everything figured out. This way not only will you have a high output but you could also yield a publication.
I hope this post would help those who are interested in medicine or just want to learn more about research. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below or message me. I’m more than happy to help you 🙂