Over the past 3 weekends, I attended the ‘An Introduction to Surgical Research’ Course, a Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) accredited course run by Mr James Lee, a Specialist General and Endocrine Surgeon at the Alfred. This course was targeted at medical students and junior doctors, aiming to teach participants practical skills in conducting research, through a series of interactive, hands-on workshops.
Prior to this course, I had little understanding of research. Having had little guidance from supervisors, I had my share of rough experiences and found that I was wasting large amounts of time producing work of poor calibre. I saw this course as an excellent opportunity to upgrade my skills. My desire to getting a head start in research prior to commencing internship and to learn from the amazing faculty on board had me sold.
After attending the course, I can say that my perspective towards research has taken a 180-degree turn for the better. Everything that I had wanted to learn had been ticked off, from study design to organising and analysing data. Each session was well-paced, with adequate amounts of content covered each week. The engaging speakers and the interactive nature of the workshop kept me constantly on my toes. The invaluable advice the faculty shared, and even personal tips and tricks to avoid the mistakes that they had made in their years of experience, was incredibly insightful.
For me, the highlight of this course would be the tutorials of statistical concepts and use of STATA. Every question was entertained and information was delivered in a structured but relaxed manner. The tutorials on STATA were easy to follow, and relevant skills were taught using a hands-on approach. I appreciated this entirely as an IT novice, and feel more confident of my skills now.
Due to this course, I have managed to see a research project through, from formulation of a question, to writing of a paper, simply by applying the skills taught at every session. This was not only incredibly satisfying for myself, but also for my supervisor who was impressed by the speed at which I was able to work. I definitely owe this to Mr Lee and his team.
Having reaped enormous benefits from this workshop that would propel me further in my surgical career, I strongly urge students to attend this course. Particularly for those who had chosen not to do a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) year, this would present an excellent opportunity to upgrade your skillset and stay competitive.
Adele Lee (MRSS international representative, 2017 participant of the ‘Introduction of Surgical Research’ Course)
For additional information about the course, visit https://www.monash.edu/medicine/healthed-institute/courses/an-introduction-to-surgical-research