Ambitious workshops begin developing the next generation of researchers

BDRF-funded workshops giving medical students the skills to recruit patients into surgical trials have been hailed as a major step toward fostering a generation of research-ready junior doctors.

Med students currently receive no training on how to approach and recruit patients surgical trials, meaning many don’t feel confident doing this until years after they qualify. Randomised trials are widely seen as the best way of improving treatments, but too many patients miss out on entering one due to this gap in training.

A team of researchers have set out to change this, launching the GRANULE workshops in May 2016. These aim to bring consultants together with medical students to equip them with the skills and confidence to start taking a leading role in research from the moment they qualify. In the long run, this will develop a cohort of junior doctors who are ready to start leading research projects from day one, making research recruitment an everyday occurrence in the UK’s hospitals.

Twenty delegates were selected for the inaugural session, and hailed the opportunity to engage with consultants. All delegates were surveyed before and after the session – just 25% said they would feel ‘confident’ about recruiting patients into a research trial going in, but this number rose to 75% at the end of the course. One student commented that “The professional feedback from consultants was incredibly useful. I wouldn’t feel comfortable consenting patients without this course!”.

The workshops were designed and delivered by the STARsurg research collaborative, in collaboration with the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit and the Bristol Medical Research Council ConDuCT-II hub. BDRF provided funding to set up the workshop at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. A full report by the research team is available below.

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