CHESTThought Leader BlogHow to succeed in research during your PCCM fellowship

How to succeed in research during your PCCM fellowship

Dr. Christopher Erb

This post is a part of our Life as a Fellow blog post series. This series includes "fellow life lessons" from members of the Training and Transitions Committee Trainee Work group, who are current trainees in leadership with CHEST. 

  1. Choose a mentor before a project. The mentor matters more than the project.
  2. The project should keep you interested and allow you to learn methods, skills, and techniques and help make connections to others in your field during national meetings and via publication of your work. 
  3. Take maximum advantage of every meeting with your mentor … they are busy and so are you. Send an agenda ahead of the meeting and also send along drafts of your updated work so that they can review and be prepared to have a productive in-person meeting.
  4. Send meeting “minutes” after each meeting with your mentor to track progress, summarize plans, stay on the same page, and keep you both accountable for progress.
  5. Keep a “lab book” for your research, even if it’s not basic science bench work. This will help you keep track of ideas, conversations, references, findings, future project ideas, etc, and help keep you organized and on track.
  6. When you present your work at local or national meetings, keep track of the comments and feedback you receive, and write up a summary to share with your mentor. You may “take them or leave them,” but you might get really good ideas that could take your project in new directions or lead to new insights or new collaborations.
  7. Submit abstracts of works in progress to CHEST, ATS, SCCM, or other relevant societies early and often. The feedback and experience you receive by doing so will make your subsequent work better and more relevant to others with similar interests.
  8. If submitting case reports to scientific meetings or journals, try to link them to your research area. Youare trying to become an expert in your chosen area, both clinically and scientifically.
  9. Start writing early and keep writing often. 
  10. Use a reference software program like Endnote to track your reading and literature review. You don’t want to have to go back later and track down old references. This will increase your efficiency and your success!
  11. Consider writing “letters to the editor” or opinion/editorials when work is published in your content area. It’s practice writing and gets your name out there as someone interested in/working on the topic.
  12. For your journal clubs, choose articles related to your project, and consider writing them up for a journal’s JC feature. 

Dr. Christopher ErbDr. Christopher Erb is a third year PCCM fellow at Yale University. His academic interests include clinical practice guideline evaluation, outcomes among ICU survivors and family members, and house staff education in the ICU.