close× Email

What even is academic medicine?

Ever thought about a career in academic medicine? Interested in research? Or have you ever wondered what that big pile of BMJs was for, other than to prop up your bookcase? Then look no further, as Jess Leighton's blog reveals...

I was in second year when, much to my surprise, I realised academic medicine was exactly what I wanted to do. It was a real shock to me, having stormed into medical school determined that I would spend every possible moment with patients, holding hands and saving lives. I’ll come on to what changed my mind, but first a little introduction to this blog; I’m now a fourth year medical student at Newcastle University, and this blog will follow my experiences as I try to make it in academia (and pass medical school at the same time).

Today’s question really needs to be, what even is academic medicine? I didn’t know when I came to med school, although I thought I did. I pictured doctors who decided after 5 years of study that they preferred test tubes to patients after all, and tested drugs on mice and won Nobel prizes. But they definitely didn’t get to do the hand holding. Which brings me to…

1.Academics are still doctors!

Most academic medics balance their academic commitments with a ‘standard’ clinical role. So, they still see patients in clinics and on the wards, but have so many hours a week earmarked for research or teaching.

2.Academia is huuuuuuuuuge.

Large scale and pharmacological research may be limited by funding availability, but research really straddles the whole field of medicine. Any specialty, from orthopaedics to palliative care and neonatal to geriatric medicine will have ongoing research. Not to mention epidemiology, public health and global health. So research can be all patient-based, lab-based or something else entirely.

3.Don’t forget about the teachers!

If research doesn’t tickle your fancy but you quite enjoy explaining things to your housemate who never comes to lectures, you can make this teaching into a fully accredited part of your career and get all the accompanying development and perks.

4.And the rest…

Medicine is dynamic, and it’s impossible to say where it will be in 100, 50 or even 10 years. Academics can be a mish-mash of leaders, teachers, scientists and just people who have taken an unorthodox career route.

While I may not have convinced anyone to commit themselves to a life of research (yet), I hope I may have piqued a few peoples’ interest just enough to come back next time and find out why I think its worth bothering with!

Guest Blog: Jess Leighton, 22.02.2017


    Leave a Reply

    Note: HTML is not translated!
    * Required Field