Ternty twenty one

Authors: Robert Hirst / Codes: CC20, HAP29, SLO10 / Published: 03/02/2021

Good morning! Today’s TERNday post is a little precis of what we talked about at the Trainees Research Engagement Day in January. It was a great day, full of some incredibly engaging speakers. In this, we hope to provide a short little summary of the year ahead. You can stay abreast of what we’re up to on our website, our Twitter, or our mailing list

CERA

CERA study stands for COVID-19 Emergency Responsiveness Assessment. This project came about when we discovered SHED was going to be postponed the first time. It sought to examine the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline doctors working in anaesthetics, emergency medicine & intensive care medicine. It was undertaken in collaboration with PERUKI, ITERN, RAFT & TRIC.

We collected data on distress, trauma, and a variety of personal & professional factors associated with these two. We delivered three surveys, timed to coincide with the acceleration, peak, and deceleration of the first wave of the pandemic.

You can find our preprint here which was featured in The GuardianThe Times, the Irish Examiner and a fewother newspapers. We were also on the radio and on RCEMLearning. We have sent out a further survey to those surveyed in the first wave to capture the current feelings of doctors working in this wave of the pandemic – if you were surveyed initially, keep an eye out in your inboxes and spam folders around this. If you want to find out about the study, we wrote about the findings here

SHED

SHED – or Subarachnoid Haemorrhage in the ED for the uninitiated – is a study examining the investigation of subarachnoid haemorrhage and looking to validate the 6-hour CT head rule-out pathway, validate the Ottawa subarachnoid haemorrhage rule & examine the sensitivity of CT head across time. It’ll be on the NIHR Portfolio. 

It was due to start last April, but was sadly postponed due to the first wave of the coronavirus. We had planned to restart in October, but given the state of most R&D departments and the overall uncertainty we chose to defer it until 2021. 

Now, sadly, it does looks like we will be delaying it further. I’ve emailed the PIs and those involved in SHED to let them know. With the crisis going on in London & the South East and a number of other areas around the country, we will not be able to continue with our February/March start. 

We are aiming to resume the study in September/October 2021. This will give time to get the vaccine disseminated, and we’ll be able to have PIs in place for the duration of the study and won’t lose weeks of recruitment in the middle due to the August changeover period. It speaks to the flexibility and adaptability of TERN that we can defer it like this. It will mean some amendments, and emails, but we want to give it the best chance of succeeding. 

Committee

You may have seen this post in December advertising the Committee positions. We’ve had three appointments to this who can be found on our newly updated TERN Biographies page! Welcome Celestine Wegenaar & Rajesh Chatha, our new education leads, who can be contacted on our new Education email – tern.education@rcem.ac.uk. They will be taking on the job of developing the educational component of TERN. Welcome to Hridesh Chatha, who will be taking on the role of TERN Treasurer and guiding us through the new research funding landscape.

Educational Projects

Now that we’ve got two new education leads with us, we’re planning to further develop the educational work of TERN. We’ll be having more posts on academic careers and research methodology, and plan to make RCEMLearning more of a hub for critical appraisal and research education. We are planning to run a national journal club, as well, to align with the new vision of Critical Appraisal as an ongoing process for our portfolio. Watch this space for the first few events! 

ACS:ED

ACS:ED is the next TERN Study we have funding for after SHED. It stands for Acute Coronary Syndrome in the Emergency Department. 

We are looking at the different ACS investigation strategies and pathways are used, comparing the length of stays in the ED and assessing the index AMI rate & distribution of alterative diagnoses in the ED in the UK. 

All being well, this study will be taking place in Summer 2022, recruiting over the course of a week all adult patients presenting with chest pain requiring testing to rule-in or rule-out cardiac chest pain. It will also be on the NIHR Portfolio. Watch this space for further details! 

Delphi Study

If you follow the TERN twitter – that’s @ternfellow – then you’ll have doubtless seen me spamming you asking for your input into this. 

At TERN, as a trainee research network, we are interested in the research questions you have in your day to day lives. A Delphi process is a structured group facilitation process that explores a problem or topic through an iterative process of determining consensus across invited panellists. You may have read our post here.

The panellists are invited, the initial questionnaire is undergoing review and will be distributed to panellists later in February. This process will go back and forth until consensus is generated. This process will be documented, written up and we will aim to publish this. 

STERN

Something a little more germinal I’d like to talk about is Student TERN, or STERN. 

We think the aims of improving access to research opportunities, demystifying clinical research and trainee development shouldn’t simply begin once you’re a doctor. We’re interested in getting people started early. 

It can be hard to get research opportunities as a medical-students, and we think if we can get people acclimatised to the world of research and developing research skills, then they can put those skills to good use when they begin working as doctors. 

Early exposure to research makes people more likely to seek out academic careers, and those who do are more successful in applying for careers in academia. Encouraging early exposure to research is just another way in which we can reverse the decline in UK EM academic output. 

I mentioned this is quite germinal – we are reaching out to different universities offering undergraduate degrees in the urgent & emergency care sphere. How TERN can work with your university will differ according to each course’s circumstances, as these are varied. We’re speaking with two different universities currently, but if you’ve any links to a course, drop us an email as we’d love to see how we can work together. 

Thank you, everyone, for your continued engagement and enthusiasm. 

Cheers, Rob

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