Maintaining Currency & Competency: Reading (and Understanding) Research

If you look at your ED physician colleagues, so often you will see them with a journal laying on the desk somewhere, and in spare moments perusing said journal. The medical director in my former program *always* had a journal article with her. Staying current and competent is not a passive activity; you cannot wait for someone to make you that way. You must actively take an interest in the science on your own. I may be preaching to the choir here, because the hundreds of regular readers of this site clearly do take an active interest in staying abreast of the rapidly evolving and emerging information related to our work. But you can also help your team members and colleagues become more invested in the science, as well. We toss around the concept of “evidence-based practice”, but unless you are constantly reading and learning, there’s no way you’re practicing evidence-based anything.

Having gotten that rant off my chest, let me pose the idea of journal clubs once again. I think this is such a useful tool for us, and it’s a great use of staff meeting time, state chapter meetings, or any other professional gathering (like an optional lunch at a conference). It can also be done online, and if people have an interest, I would be thrilled to host a journal club through FHO. But I need to know from you all if that’s something you would like. In the meantime, if you’re unsure about how journal clubs work or how to digest the research, I am posting some good resources that will provide a general foundation.

Journal Clubs

How to Develop a Successful Journal Club (International Transplant Nurses Society) [PDF]

Ten Steps For Setting Up an Online Journal Club (abstract)

Reading Research Articles

How to Read a Paper: Papers That Go Beyond Numbers (British Medical Journal, 1997)

How to Read a Paper: Assessing the Methodological Quality of Published Papers (British Medical Journal, 1997)

How to Read a Research Article (Sage Publications)

Evidence-Based Practice

What is Evidence-Based Practice? (Duke University Medical Center Library)

The Cochrane Collaboration

Evaluating Research (Template)

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5 replies on “Maintaining Currency & Competency: Reading (and Understanding) Research”

You really brought this issue home. I read many journals and do find it difficult to get each months journals completed before the next months start…but is is necessary. No one wants to be on the stand and have either side ask about current research and you can only respond with “I haven’t read that yet”. A journal club is a great idea. Thanks much

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