You will hear your lecturers talk a lot about being an 'evidence-based' practitioner, but what does it really mean? One of the most widely-known definitions comes from Sackett et al (1996) in this article, and they describe evidence-based medicine as "the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients". They say an evidence-based practitioner will use a mix of their own clinical skills and the highest quality 'external' evidence.
What does this mean for you? Well, as you progress throughout your course, it means you need to engage with current research in your field, and become familiar with the language and practice of research. Here are some sources to help you get started:
How to read a paper
- This book is a classic text in evidence-based medicine and will help you to become familiar with the world of clinical research and understand research papers in journals.
- Ben Goldacre's website (based on his column from The Guardian newspaper) in which he debunks dodgy research. Also check out his TED talk below:
NHS Behind the Headlines
- This NHS website picks apart health stories in the news and looks at the research behind them.
- This is the online newsletter from the Cochrane Library, a database of evidence-based research.
Students 4 Best Evidence
- This educational blog was started by a group of medical students interested in evidence-based practice.