Throughout the course, I have encountered a variety of new tasks and assignments that have helped me to develop a range of abilities that I previously lacked. Some were relatively easy to develop, while others took more time. Overall, the abilities I have gained allow me to address five major tasks:
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- Critically analyzing current practice to formulate researchable problems: During the course, I had to analyze multiple medical practices involving specific issues. I have previously encountered such tasks, but they often presented clear problems that did not require a thorough analysis. However, during the course, I encountered problems that were harder to formulate. This gave me the ability to engage a more critical view of practices. Sometimes I still struggle with defining the variable relationships of a problem, but I believe that with time, this will not be an issue.
- Evaluating research as a basis for decision-making to improve outcomes through translation into evidence-based practice: I have always valued decisions based on evidence, and now I make a point of always searching for reliable sources on a topic before making a decision. For example, I have learned to seek out literature reviews to gain a comprehensive idea of the information that is available. If I encounter a task that deals with personalized medicine, I can use a review published in BMC Medical Ethics to gain a better idea of the subject (Schleidgen, Klingler, Bertram, Rogowski, & Marckmann, 2013);
- Synthesizing an understanding of the research process through the development of a proposal to address a nursing problem or focus area: The course involved creating a proposal, which helped me to understand how I have to structure my thoughts and ideas to properly address an issue. As a frame of reference, I used a paper that had been published on this subject, and this helped me to create a quality proposal (Duggappa, Sudheesh, & Nethra, 2016).
- Investigating ethical issues related to the conduct of scientific research, including informed consent, data management, data analysis, and protection of human subjects: This is one of the most important abilities that I have developed during the course. I had to examine a variety of papers on this subject, and these were instrumental in the development of my understanding of medical ethics. I have previously considered this topic to be of the utmost importance, and now, I feel that I can evaluate these issues with better clarity.
- Exploring national and international initiatives and research priorities: Some of the course assignments forced me to pay closer attention to various research initiatives that exist on both the national and international levels. Some of the most important include research initiatives proposed by the National Institutes of Health, such as the Cancer Moonshot initiative aimed at cancer prevention, detection, and therapy. By analyzing the available initiatives, I was able to conclude which topics are the most important for medical research.
During the course, I have acquired and honed a multitude of abilities that I now see as essential for my work. Although some of them still require more practice, the work I have already done helps me to understand how I can improve them in the future. Now if I should encounter a problem that calls on these abilities, I would feel confident that I can solve it.
Duggappa, D., Sudheesh, K., & Nethra, S. (2016). How to write a research proposal?. Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, 60(9), 631.
Schleidgen, S., Klingler, C., Bertram, T., Rogowski, W., & Marckmann, G. (2013). What is personalized medicine: Sharpening a vague term based on a systematic literature review. BMC Medical Ethics, 14(1), 1-12.