Thursday, 5 November 2015

What are the information needs of a medical student about medical research?

I am currently a second year medical student at the University of Sheffield and have just completed a 6-week research attachment, on which I learnt how to design a grant proposal and how research involving participants living with dementia would be conducted.
Lucy Monro

So, why will I need these skills in the future? As a future clinician I feel it is very important to understand the need for research, both to improve the current care system and the way in which the health service works together as a whole. As part of my research, I investigated the idea of music therapy as a treatment of anxiety for those suffering from Alzheimer’s Type Dementia; as a result, this has increased my awareness of non-pharmacological interventions which is something I can now research further for use as a clinician.

The attachment has also increased my awareness for the opportunities to be involved in medical research once I have completed my training, primarily in a public health setting compared to laboratory based work. This was something I had not considered before this 6-week period, but is now something I may pursue in the future. This is why I believe it is important for medical students to have the opportunity to get involved in research, either in the planning stages or actively engaging in a current study. It is imperative that we are shown the difference that research makes to patients and how it can be implemented, as well as teaching us to look for ways to improve our own treatment methods rather relying on what has already been done before us. 

Medicine is a skill that is constantly evolving, and the pressure to remain up to date and find new treatments and interventions increases year on year. This pressure will not be met unless future clinicians are well informed about how research is conducted and how they can get involved in the process, and it is therefore vital that the promotion of research to medical students is delivered from an early stage and is encouraged throughout the course.

Written by Lucy Monro

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