Monday, July 16, 2007

Another Surgery and First Biostats Class

Friday was a quiet day. I went to the uniform room to pick up my scrubs, did some more reading about research ethics, and had another orientation about consenting patients. In this research group, consenting is usually done either by a social worker or by one of the residents. I'm going to be allowed to do it also after the social worker trains me. I'll be shadowing her either this afternoon or tomorrow afternoon when she meets with a patient. Basically, the purpose of these consenting meetings is to explain the research and protocol to the patients so that they can make a decision about whether they want to participate. In order to join the study, the patient has to sign a document attesting that they understand the study and that they are willingly agreeing to participate. This is the informed consent document.

This morning, I saw my second surgery. I had to come in at the crack of dawn again, but it was really neat. The patient was having a coronary artery bypass graft. I was there while they prepped him and obtained the veins from his leg. (They use those to bypass the clogged coronary arteries.) But I couldn't stay for the rest because I had my biostats class at 9 AM.

It seems like the biostats class is going to be pretty intense. We're going to have 18 two-hour morning sessions this summer and some afternoon group presentations every other week. So far things haven't been too tough as far as the stats themselves go, but I'm still withholding judgment about the statistical program we're supposed to use. It's called JMP, and the instructor told us that it was very easy to use. I'll get back to you on that one after I finish downloading this enormous file that I need in order to install it....the good news is that we have a TA for the class. He's a biostats PhD student from Case.

I had some free time in the afternoon, so I was doing some of the reading for tomorrow's class. We were assigned to read two articles about research ethics. I had been thinking about doing a research ethics class for my MS elective. But amazingly, I'm starting to feel like I'll have gotten more than enough exposure to issues of research ethics after this summer!

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