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Clinical Research – Medical Students in Science

Clinical Research – Medical Students in Science - Celine Broderius

Becoming a clinician is a big dream for many young people. Medical education and clinical training require a lot of strength, patience, time and effort. It is not always easy. Especially one important aspect that medical students should not underestimate – science in medicine. Not only the term ‘science’ for/in medicine but also what it actually means/takes to do science and how to imply and work with science as a doctor, needs to be considered.

In the best-case scenario, studying medicine in Germany takes about 6 years. First, you complete a preclinical section for two years, which ends with the first state examination. This is followed by another three years of subjective clinical studies and the second state examination. Finally, the so-called practical year, in which you learn practical skills and gain experience for four months at three different stations in the fields of surgery, internal medicine and an area of ​​your choice. You are then finished and approbated with the final third state examination. After you have completed this university part, you have to choose one of the medical specialties. The university contents are very general up to this point and cover all medical disciplines. Now, if you decide to do surgery (for instance) after completing your studies, – the assistant doctor period begins. During this period, you work as a doctor and undergo further training in the hospital. After about 6 more years, you absolve the last exam to become a qualified specialist. 

Nevertheless, learning and continuing education should never end, even as a specialist. Medicine is constantly evolving and a doctor needs to stay up to date in order to ensure the best possible treatment for his or her patients. How is it possible for a working doctor to further educate oneself, receive further training and stay up to date? Well; you read trade journals, find out and realize new research results/outcome and latest perspectives, ideally develop innovative ideas by yourself and attend relevant congresses/expos. This requires a certain amount of experience in the field of scientific work. 

As a young student, aiming to start working soon and want to achieve his or her goal of being a practicing doctor, the following questions arise: How long will the way to the destination be. When does learning end and when does independent work begin? And, in addition to those, when should a dissertation/thesis be completed in order to meet the scientific standards of medicine later?

Fortunately, there is the possibility of starting your doctoral thesis during and not after your studies and, for example, to participate in a clinical study. You will be trained by a M.D. supervisor and, in the best case, by an experienced scientific expert/team. They will support you to contribute in a study as independently as possible. Recruiting patients, carrying out the examinations, recording the collected data and then of course evaluating and writing down the results are parts of the activities.

In my opinion, participating in this field of work is an important part of becoming a good doctor. How can you successfully approach with specialist texts in the future, understand them and integrate them into your own work? How do you acquire the ability to deal with particular ideas, implement them and further publish them as a study? The theoretical content in medical studies does not convey these skills. So, it is a great opportunity to be an active part of such a process, especially as a student. You gain experience within the organization, know what is behind the interdisciplinary work, recruit patients, initiate examinations, submit ethical applications, etc. In order to interpret the data, you will need to learn summarizing results and writing scientific texts on them. The aforesaid skills (involved in this field of scientific/experimental medicine), are defined as very important and handy for the further career.

In my opinion, scientific work needs to be considered as highly important for budding doctors and their professional career. Just like the theoretical knowledge that the course imparts to you and the practical skills that a doctor learns in training you should be able to include scientific work in your career and continue to educate yourself throughout your professional life. The opportunity to start a doctoral thesis as a medical student while studying is a great chance to be part of science and become a comprehensive clinician.

  • Celine Broderius is 24 years old, from Lübeck, a town in northern Germany. In 2016, she started her medical studies in Rostock University to become a Doctor. She will be graduating from the university and will start working in a hospital within next two years (studies and internship). She dreams to become a surgeon. Since 2019, she is working on her M.D. at the clinic of trauma surgery. They are working on the metabolic profiling of postmenopausal aging and Osteoporosis. She loves spending her free time in the boulder gym or if possible, in the mountains hiking and rope climbing.

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