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What are the advantages of having a local research network led by trainees?


A true collaborative approach to research and audit requires a cultural shift in how studies are conducted and authors are recognised. As for any cultural change, this requires a group within an organisation to change practice and for these improvements to be adopted by others as the benefits begin to be recognised universally. I believe trainees are best placed to run a regional research network with the support of consultant mentors and make it a success because:

  • We are, in general, a large pool of motivated enthusiastic doctors who have developed strong relationships with both our peers and our seniors. This places us in a perfect position to work well as a team across a large geographical area (multiple trusts) and instigate the cultural change that is at the heart of a collaborative model

  • As previously mentioned, we migrate around our deanery. This means we are exposed to a wide variety of differing anaesthetic practice that allows us to have good insight into a) what questions need to be answered and b) how well projects will work across a deanery comprising of many different trusts

  • We have the time, motivation and opportunity to make a collaborative model work. Because of our training status we can spend work hours involved in research projects and collecting data. We have more to gain out of this arrangement than our consultant colleagues and will therefore approach it with a more open-minded, motivated and enthusiastic nature.


Research activity within anaesthesia is far from the norm, even within teaching hospitals. Research active consultants are busy, with few having dedicated research activity time within their contracted working hours. Yet trainees are interested in research, need to complete audits as part of their training, and are increasingly aware of the need to produce competitive CVs for consultant appointment. Mentorship by research-active trainees can provide up to date, practical information and advice for those wanting to take time out to do larger projects or higher degrees. Baton-passing of research activity will increase the project completion rate, and trainees undertaking shorter within-training research posts will be able to complete parts of on-going studies at various stages, such as funding applications, data collection and write up. By working as a team and employing information technology to aid collaboration, we hope to be able to carry out quality research. A trainee-led network can provide the infrastructure for trainees to increase the quality and impact of their audits; upgrading small local audits to regional and even national projects.