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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 236-237

Integration of research with clinical skills for house surgeons

Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Date of Submission17-May-2021
Date of Decision17-May-2021
Date of Acceptance18-May-2021
Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nandini Varma
Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kjo.kjo_115_21

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How to cite this article:
Varma N. Integration of research with clinical skills for house surgeons. Kerala J Ophthalmol 2021;33:236-7

How to cite this URL:
Varma N. Integration of research with clinical skills for house surgeons. Kerala J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 30];33:236-7. Available from: http://www.kjophthal.com/text.asp?2021/33/2/236/324208

Dear Editor,

I agree with your editorial titled, “The science of research and the joy of discovery” published in the Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology, 2021, that intrinsic motivation and the excitement of discovery with new findings are major factors for research.[1] Medical education is a lifelong process that involves the development of pattern recognition and analytical, cognitive, and reasoning processes to appropriately interpret clinical signs and symptoms. The lack of development of these skills leads to faulty research, research waste, and a lot of research work that is accepted as oral presentations but does not stand up to the more intense scrutiny of publications.[2],[3],[4] House surgeons are at an interesting phase in their medical development as their transition to a more practical, pragmatic, hands-on application of the theory and concepts they have assimilated during the undergraduate course. I believe that the integration of research skills at this phase will help improve the clinical and decision-making skills of house surgeons and will help them when they move on to postgraduate residency programs.

One must overcome a multitude of hurdles on the way of successfully coming up with a research question, let alone completing one, as a house surgeon. The lack of appropriate knowledge about how to properly conduct a research study or about its positive effects on subsequent career paths and choices is a limitation. We have a brief exposure to research during our community medicine group project, following which research is often drowned among increased focus on achieving academic excellence alone. Our first, and in most instances, only exposure to undergraduate research is as a group project, and the technical know-hows, especially research logistics, ethical committee clearance formalities, data analysis largely remains unclear. A high score in the entrance examinations alone suffices, at least in the Indian medical scenario, to get admission into a postgraduate residency program; hence, research opportunities put forward by organizations such as ICMR go largely unnoticed. After this rather unsatisfactory initiation, our next exposure comes only when we must work on a postgraduate thesis, by then we limit ourselves only to small area of an assigned specialty and focus on the completion of the thesis rather than the quality of research. Hence, the undergraduate and house surgency period must be considered the ideal time to lay the foundation of clinical research when there are not any restrictions in terms of research topics or any time limits as such.

Funding is an essential prerequisite for research; unfortunately, national initiatives such as ICMR do not extend their research support to house surgeons. Limited access to research libraries and portals, data collection, and analysis software is also a major hindrance. Any successful research requires undivided attention and dedication. This might be nearly impossible for house surgeons, owing to untimely working hours, duties, and rapid rotation between services. In such a situation, the integration of research skills with the bedside clinical evaluation can help improve the decision-making skills and excite more interest in the house surgeon to pursue clinically meaningful research.

Every house surgeon must be encouraged to do a few research studies as part of the program. These could include a case report, a case series, or an original research study that can be completed in time. Co-opting house surgeons into ongoing studies and using the opportunity to integrate research and clinical skills are options that must be considered. Periodic classes or seminars and journal clubs must be arranged to help both undergraduate and postgraduate students understand how to integrate research methods and findings with clinical skills. More platforms should be set up for house surgeons to present completed studies, and official certificates are offered as an incentive and acknowledgment of research-related activities.

In conclusion, I think that medical education programs must actively consider a pathway with active mentoring that encourages house surgeons to develop as clinician-scientists.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Sudha V. The science of research and the joy of discovery. Kerala J Ophthalmol 2021;33:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Altman DG. The scandal of poor medical research. BMJ 1994;308:283-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Glasziou P, Altman DG, Bossuyt P, Boutron I, Clarke M, Julious S, et al. Reducing waste from incomplete or unusable reports of biomedical research. Lancet 2014;383:267-76.  Back to cited text no. 3
Dhaliwal U, Kumar R. An observational study of the proceedings of the all India ophthalmological conference, 2000 and subsequent publication in indexed journals. Indian J Ophthalmol 2008;56:189-95.  Back to cited text no. 4
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