Perhaps because I am a veteran of the “good old days” (they were really quite bad), young physicians who hope to become clinical investigators often ask me how they might establish their careers. Many are more than a little worried about their futures and often have trouble envisioning a career path that is financially secure for themselves and their families. The grumbling of clinical investigators a few years their senior enhances their angst. So I try to encourage these young physicians because I know the great intellectual (if not monetary) rewards of the field and because I know that the future of medicine absolutely depends on clinical investigators. The following is what I try to say to them.
David G. Nathan
Submitter: Pramod K. Garg | email@example.com
All India Institute of Medical Sciences
Published May 5, 2005
I read with great interest the commentary on ‘Patient Oriented Translational Clinical Investigators’ by David G Nathan in the April issue of the journal. Congratulations to him on an excellent piece and in giving credence to people who occupy the middle ground between basic scientists and clinicians. It sums up effectively many things – the dilemma a POTCI faces while starting a career, the conflict a POTCI confronts with between clinical enthusiasm and basic science rigor, the fine balancing act in the tug of war between family and career, and the fear of failure that looms large over a POTCI’s head.
There are of course many ‘Ps’ to keep company with the ‘Cs’: the problems a prospective POTCI faces in pursuit of scientific truth, the paucity of funds for research (and for family), the saga of publish or perish, the perils of failure, and peer pressure. But in the end, it is his passion and perseverance that prevails for him to reach the pinnacle of success.