Author: Tom Roberts / Codes: SLO10 / Published: 28/02/2019


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Persistence wasn’t the message I expected to leave with after a meeting with Cliff Mann. Sitting and discussing TERN with the previous President of the Royal College, is a long way from data collection but it’s value was priceless.

Growing TERN is as challenging as consistently remembering the exact definition of a p-value. You think you’ve mastered it, can recite it perfectly, then 2 weeks go by and it starts to get a little hazy round the edges.

We have had an amazing response to TERN, but every time we focus on something else, the most important element – the network – loses focus. Gets a little hazy round the edges you might say.

So, this message of persistence really hit a nerve. Our aim, as always, is to demystify research but to achieve this we need to be omnipresent. TERN needs to be the place that us, as an EM community, reach to in all aspects related to increasing research engagement.

Our place on RCEMLearning needs to become a hub for knowledge dissemination and understanding. Our twitter handle needs to be a loud voice amongst the sea of shouting. Our studies need to be relevant and practice changing.

And where does persistence fit in all of these things? TERN is the chicken and egg scenario. To produce practice changing research with trainees, the studies need to be short and quick. To be short and quick we need 100s of sites. To get 100s of sites recruiting, we need to prove to trainees our research will be practice changing and worth their time. So, our methods are dependent on the outcome and the outcome cannot be achieved without the methods.

But this challenge is easily surmountable because we’ve got a great concept. Ideas fly when they are good. This idea needs to be re-iterated time and time again. The presence of TERN needs to permeate the beating heart of Departments. New research ideas should be shared at handover. TERN’s latest publication not discarded in an unread EMJ but discussed during the data collection for TERN’s next study.

So, when do we start getting persistent? Our visibility is about to increase as we begin collecting data for TIRED in the Spring. This is a huge opportunity to burst beyond the initial excited core of interested physicians. Constantly extending our reach will make TERN the persistent presence that will persuade, not just the mass of bubbling enthusiasts who have already joined but the others who need slightly more persuading.

With TIRED we will have our first success, our proof that TERN works as a model. Proof we can produce and publish high quality research and high-quality research that, as trainees, works for you. It aims to increase your knowledge about the research process, improve your CV and importantly persuade you that doing research the TERN way is simple and valuable.