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My Experience as the Professor William Campbell Student Scholar

on Monday, 28 September 2020. Posted in Latest News, Medical Research

My Experience as the Professor William Campbell Student Scholar

Gearoid McGeehan 2020.jpgReceiving the Professor William Campbell Research Student Scholarship was a special honour. Every single aspect of the opportunity it gave me this summer was as enjoyable and rewarding as the next. I applied for the Professor William Campbell Research Student Scholarship in order to broaden my knowledge of and gain an invaluable experience in the field of medical research, one which I hoped to take with me into my future career in medicine.

Under the tutelage of my advisor Mr Michael Sugrue, Surgeon, I carried out an eight-week research project at Letterkenny University Hospital. My research project was a
systematic review and meta-analysis entitled “Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on Wound Bundles to reduce Wound Infections following Emergency Midline Laparotomy incisions”. It is an important research topic for many reasons but primarily due to the sheer prevalence of wound infections, which can occur in up to 35% of patients undergoing emergency abdominal surgery.

I experienced a degree of apprehension at first, feeling somewhat unsure of myself in the face of an undertaking that, if completed correctly, would have a real and beneficial impact on the field I soon hope to practice in. However, I was incredibly fortunate to have the expert guidance of Alison Johnson and the whole DRCA team who soon dismantled these barriers. A prime example of the excellent help I received from them was the short lectures given by previous students who explained how to navigate some of the more challenging aspects of meta-analysis. This guidance from past students was accompanied by the constant direction of Mr Sugrue, whose vast clinical experience and detailed knowledge of the relevant research pointed me in the right direction and made sure I stayed there, so that we could produce a high-quality project.

Thanks to the DRCA, I carried out a meta-analysis that adhered to the PRISMA guidelines. Over the course of eight weeks, I gained a critical insight into how vitally important evidence-based medicine is and how exactly research papers can be harnessed in order to answer a particular clinical question. Our study identified the rate of Surgical Site Infections in emergency midline laparotomies and the interventions that are used to lower such rates.

The Professor William Campbell Research Student Scholarship has been a fantastic learning experience and the support I have received from the Nobel Laureate of Medicine and Physiology will stand to me throughout my years in medicine.

I would like to thank Professor William Campbell for his continued generosity to Donegal’s medical students over the years and say how personally grateful I am for such a wonderful opportunity.

I would also like to thank everyone at the Donegal Clinical Research Academy once again for their unwavering support this summer.