Episode 24: What do I read, and how do I do it?

by Bob Stuntz in , ,

In Episode 24, EM Res vets Drs. Kaminstein and Kochert return with Dr. Becker's debut to talk about how residents should approach reading medical research articles.  Do you need to read everything?  What should you read?  How do you do it?  All this and more in the first of a series on reading original research for residents.  

The first thing you need to know is that if you are an intern, and maybe even a second year, it is ok if you are not keeping up to date on the latest and greatest in original EM research.  The most important thing you can do during this time is to cover the basics.  Develop your basic knowledge and skills in EM.  

Once you do delve into research, pick one or two journals to start out with.  Annals of EM and Journal of EM come to mind (full disclosure: I am on the Annals Social Media team, and on the AAEM YPS board).  Once you have a journal or two, skim the titles and see what interests you.  If you see an interesting title, read the abstract and see if the full article is worth your time.  

Remember, once you start reading, the discussion is the writer's chance to slant their results as they see fit.  There is a reason this section is last - it should be the least important part of your analysis.  

Think about articles in PICO format.  

P: What type of patient are they looking at/what is the patient population?

I: What is the intervention?

C: What is the control?

O: What are the outcomes?

This should give you the foundation to start.  This is the first in a series of podcasts where we will cover more advanced topics so that you too can be able to critically read and appraise the medical literature by the time you are done with your EM residency.  

Here are some great resources cited during our discussion:

The Skeptics Guide to EM

Emergency Medicine Abstracts


EM Literature of Note

EM Nerd

EM Journal Watch

EM:RAP paper chase


A few announcements:

  1. I have been away for the last month working on Emergency Board Review!  Go check it out.  Check out our latest review lecture on nervous system disorders.  Find the lectures on our podcast on iTunes, or any podcast software.  Check out the revamped website, rate the board review resources, and get involved.  Are you an upper level resident and want to help out with the Emergency Board Review project?  Get in touch with me at bobstuntzmd@gmail.com, or use the website contact form if you are interested in any of the open topics
  2. Want to write for the EM Res Blog?  Have an idea for an article, or even a series (US of the week, Image of the week…)?  Want to help with podcast episodes?  I want to expand the EM Res Blog and Podcast, but I need your help to do it.  Residents, educators, anyone anywhere - send your ideas to me at bobstuntzmd@gmail.com or @BobStuntz, and let's see if we can make this thing even better!
  3. Please go join our Google Community.  The goal is to have this be a place that EM residents and educators (you can help answer resident questions) can get together to discuss resident issues and questions, both clinical and non-clinical.  
  4. Allowed to use my podcasts for asynchronous learning?  Check out the test below!

Check out the podcast below, or go listen here

If you have gotten approval from your program director to use the EM Res Podcast for individualized interactive instruction (asynchronous learning), the check out the test below or go take it here