· “All my classes are online so I can’t meet with professors to talk about research.”
· “Due to COVID-19, we can’t provide as many services at my rotation.”
· “There’s very little time to do a project and complete a poster for Midyear.”
I have heard them all in the past few weeks. The above statements are true – partially. Depends on how you look at them. What if you rephrased them?
· “All of my classes are online so I will ask professors to meet with me virtually to discuss research.”
· “Due to COVID-19, we can measure the affected economic and patient satisfaction outcomes with providing less services.”
· “There’s very little time to start a long-term project but I can ask my preceptor/professor/advisor/mentor if they have an ongoing project or a short-term project that I could help with – and turn into a poster.”
Research ideas are all around you but you have to be open to seeing them. It’s not supposed to be easy – if it was, then everyone would have multiple projects, posters, and papers.
Here’s how to start:
1. You have to WANT to complete a research project. You have to be INTERESTED in the subject. Your intentions will carry you through the long nights of data collection and poster formatting.
2. Don’t wait for a project to land in your lap. Look around at everything that has been DISRUPTED in our environments and study something about it! (e-learning, drug shortages, and no vaccine administration are just some ideas)
3. You have to ASK people around you for help. Research is not a one-person endeavor. Ask your friends, ask your coworkers, ask your classmates, ask your boss, ask the drugstore on the corner, and ask that professor you liked from 2 years ago.
4. Realize it does NOT have to be a double-blind placebo-controlled RCT. It does not need a large sample size. It does not need to be done at a major academic medical center. It does not need to have perfect outcomes. It has to be enough for you to have a defined role with a research team/investigator/advisor.
Tell us how you got started in research as a pharmacy student in the comments! I guarantee you will inspire other students to follow your lead.
Thanks for reading! If you haven’t heard our podcast, we have interviewed students from all over the country! Was your school featured yet? www.21stcenturypharmd.com/podcast