Editor’s Note: The Society of Hospital Medicine’s (SHM’s) Physician in Training Committee launched a scholarship program in 2015 for medical students to help transform health care and revolutionize patient care. The program has been expanded for the 2017-2018 year, offering two options for students to receive funding and engage in scholarly work during their first, second, and third years of medical school. As a part of the program, recipients are required to write about their experience on a biweekly basis.
The work onis moving along. Right now, I am collecting data from patients who had clinical deterioration events and unplanned transfers to the PICU in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital over the past year or so.
We are planning on collecting data for as many patients as possible, so we have yet to decide how far back in the timeline I will go to include patients. After that, I will focus on collecting data for age-matched control subjects. The timeline I prepared earlier was a bit ambitious, as I didn’t anticipate that data collection would consume so much time. However, the patients I am studying have several complex chronic conditions so it is understandable that it is taking more time than I thought.
My mentor has been very helpful in this process by setting up regular meetings with me and keeping communications open. He has provided me with some data from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that identifies emergency transfer cases, as well as clinical deterioration cases. This saves me a significant amount of time and decreases the potential for errors in the data, because I don’t have to go back and decide which cases were emergency transfers on my own. We are discussing some of the exclusion criteria for the study at this point as well.
I’m enjoying this project, as it is one of my first experiences with clinical research. In addition to the research experience, I am also learning a good amount of medicine as I learn about the care given to these complex patients.
Farah Hussain is a 2nd-year medical student at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and student researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Her research interests involve bettering patient care to vulnerable populations.