EuroSurg Session Round-up - Part 2

Advice For a Young Researcher Panel: Ruth Blanco-Colino (ES), Michal Kawka (UK), Niall Brindl (UK)

Daoud Chaudhry (UK) kicked off part two of the EuroSurg session with a talk on How To Get Started in Research and How To Get Involved in Collaborative Research.

Daoud shared a wealth of reasons why surgeons should get involved in research, from its ability to improve the quality of care for patients, and improving surgeons’ understanding of the disease they’re working with, to gaining non-technical skills such as time-management, teamwork and presentation skills – skills that can be difficult to practice and master in clinical roles.

Daoud then shared his top tips for how to be successful in research, from landing upon the ‘why’ and ‘what’ for your study, to how to go about finding a good supervisor and how to plan and execute a good project.

Collaborative Research was coined a “cheat code” to achieving – or even bypassing – all of the aforementioned ‘needs’ for a research project, and was hailed “one of the easiest ways to get involved” and a “perfect way to get into research”.

Concluding the talk, Daoud urged the audience not to wait for a perfect opportunity to incorporate research into their lifestyle, and motivated them that, in spite of the time-consuming nature of it, research will in fact help to improve efficiency and time-management skills. 

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Next up, Frank McDermott (UK) gave an Editors’ Perspective on Surgical Research and Advice for Publication.

With his inside editorial knowledge, Frank outlined some of the important things for researchers to look out for and check ahead of submitting papers, for the best chances of getting them published.

His advice included reading papers that have already been produced to have a clear idea of what others are publishing and to see whether your topic has been covered before; seeking statistical advice early; and getting advice from experienced authors.

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He also underlined the importance of clear and concise phrasing, asking the audience to use short sentences, avoid colloquial terms and to have someone outside the authorship group to review it to avoid becoming ‘word blind’ and including unnecessary language.

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As he concluded, he observed the move towards open-access publication, and described it as a move that will help published literature get the international dissemination it deserves, enabling surgery to develop and patient treatment to improve.

Following his talk, Adele Sayers (UK) shared her insights on Social Media as a Tool to Promote Research and Advice How to Use it.

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Adele kicked off her talk by highlighting that 10 years ago, one in five UK doctors used Twitter on a daily basis – and it has only increased since then.

Her advice on promoting research through social media was to be strategic. Researchers must consider who they want to target, and choose their platform accordingly, as patients, healthcare practitioners, or a younger demographic won’t necessarily all use the same channels.

She then covered the topic of branding, explaining that logos, brand colours and style were essential in establishing the recognisability and legitimacy of your research project online.

And finally, her talk went on to share that, in order to grow followers and a community, it’s of paramount importance for accounts to not just transmit – they must engage, too, and seek feedback from collaborators.

Christina Fleming (Ireland) then stepped up to lead a passionate talk on PROMS & Patient Involvement in Research.

She started off with a call to redefine empathy, noting that it shouldn’t be about doctors putting themselves in patients’ shoes – rather it should be about listening to what that patient experiences are, and believing them even when it doesn’t match their experiences. In this point, she put across how patients and surgeons may view success differently post-surgery.

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Christina noted that there can often be a dichotomy between patients’ and surgeons’ desires, and urged the audience to make sure that all research with patients was collaborative: “research should be performed with patients, not on patients”. She emphasised that patients should never be involved in a tokenistic way, and that proper involvement will lead to research having more meaning as outcomes will answer the concerns of those who matter most: patients. Results will also be more likely to be shared wider, and therefore hold greater potential, as they are often disseminated through patient groups.

To round off the session, Will Xu (New Zealand) and Chris Varghese (New Zealand) gave a passionate talk about collaborative research as they discussed the EuroSurg Future Steps and Project.

In the first virtual presentation of the session, Will and Chris set out their exciting plans to launch a new study, APOLLO, with aim of understanding the variation in operative and non-operative management of emergency presentation of colon and rectal cancer globally. They also look to identify the risk factors for intraoperative and 30-day mortality and 30-day ostomy rates in patients deemed for active management.

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