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:
A few announcements:
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