Earlier this month we announced 5 new student committee members following a very competitive application process.
Emily Mills is a 3rd year medical student at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She had the following message for any student interested in STARSurg:
Hi, my name is Emily. I was appointed as late local (regional) lead this year for Brighton, in order to assist with the OAKS2 project, a follow up audit from a previous project regarding outcomes after acute kidney injury. The application process was straight forward and had a quick turnaround. As a third year medical student, I had no prior experience in research/academics outside of the medical school curriculum. I’d been in the committee in my Surgical Society at medical school but didn’t have much opportunity to get involved in research. Despite this, with support from STARSurg I found it easy to register and gain approval for the audit. This involved contacting the audit department at my trust and obtaining approval for data storage and collection. I also used the e-learning modules provided to understand the importance of data protection within a research environment. My role and tasks were clearly defined and I found the Steering Committee extremely approachable and helpful. I appointed another student as a collaborator and approached a consultant general surgeon to be my supervisor, who was also extremely helpful and answered any concerns or queries I had.
I have now recently obtained a position on the Steering Committee, with one of my main roles being to support local leads in future projects. This means that several members of the Steering Committee have been in your role and experienced the same challenges, and so will understand and expect you to ask them for help. I faced very few challenges within my role, and when I did I simply asked for advice and resolved them.
I would strongly encourage any student interested in research or surgery to apply for a local lead position, as it is a unique opportunity to independently gather knowledge about how audits and research are initiated, carried out and finalised. This is all whilst feeling completely supported by others and never left without help.
There is no need to worry about time commitments, the role is perfectly manageable alongside your studies and other interests or hobbies if you are proactive and focused. We are looking for those that will be dedicated to the role and are looking to join an ever-expanding network that has links across Europe and the globe. Not only will this role give you an opportunity to contribute to the academic side of clinical practice so early on in your career but it will also enhance your CV and future applications (AFP especially!).