Since secondary school, when I first became acquainted with the complexity of the human body, I have been fascinated by medical science. In 2010, when I still was in secondary school, I learned how to prepare for surgery, scrub up, and generally how to act in an operation room. This was the first time I assisted in an operation. These experiences in a hospital as a child as well as my fascination of the academic approach to the human body and mind, was a determining factor for the years to come.
Since then, I have been working determined to become a medical doctor. When I finished high school in 2013, I was convinced that my interests for the human being, combined with a distinct sense of order, an eye for the detail, an interest in all human beings regardless of age, gender, and social class, as well as a passion for creativity – both in terms of music, design, and writing – would perfectly suit the career as a health care professional. To me, the devotion to the medical practice has always been a calling – you have to put away your own needs in order to fulfill the duties in respect of the patients, whose lives you have chosen to intervene in. As a reward, you get the gratitude and the respect from your fellow human beings. Everyone can become a health care professional – if you succeed in becoming a good one, your approach to the work has been the determinant. At least that is how I look at it.
These were also the thoughts that made me engage in research activities during my studies. I started in medical school in winter 2014. Here, it rapidly became evident that my approach was different from that of my fellow students. During my bachelor, I kept my interest for the devil in the detail, getting to know every single little channel in every type of cell that I was presented for. This is practically impossible given the time that is available in a semester, as well as the fact that I am equipped with a totally average intellect. This combined with my belief that solving previous exam questions was the same as to study for the exams and not for the clinical life – despite the repeated advices from my father (an orthopeadic spine surgeon) as well as several other doctors – resulted in an awful lot of re-examinations. However, I have also met doctors who were of the same opinion as myself, including Professor J. C. Djurhuus, to whom I owe my way into research. He often made use of the phrase “sapere aude” which means “dare to know” or “dare to learn”. In my opinion, these words describe the fundamentals of studying or investigating, which should be practiced as a life-long activity.
I first became involved in research activities in 2015 during my third semester of the medical bachelor. Here, a PhD student invited me to take part in her experimental study, in which she aimed to evaluate robot-assisted laparoscopic versus open cystectomy in a porcine model. First during my fifth year, in april 2016, I approached Professor J. Michael Hasenkam to discover the possibilities of engaging in research activities within experimental cardiac surgery. Professor Hasenkam took me in as a medical student to become a part of the research environment at Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery. When becoming a student in the experimental cardiac surgery group of Professor Hasenkam, it is usually practice that you are given the role as the project manager of a project, being responsible for all parts of the study, including writing the protocol, applications, data collection and analysis, as well as writing the first draft of the article and presentations. This to create independently working researchers. My first project was a clinical project, evaluating an intelligent stocking for continuous quantification of edema in the lower legs, potentially being a device to monitor patients suffering from heart failure. However, as everything in research it takes time to do a clinical project on your own, especially when you have to reinvent the wheel in every matter. However, eventually you will master each part of the research process, having learnt from your own failures, which gives you the possibility to think and work as a researcher.
Since my first engagement in research activities, I have become increasingly enthusiastic about all parts of research – both when everything is on track and when it is more of a bumpy road. I have become aware of the academic responsibilities, pursuing a medical career ensues. Both as medical student and as medical doctor, basic research skills should be acquired to be able to practice evidence-based medicine. Insight into basic research methodology, like various research methods, study designs, and statistical measures and how to interpret them and the results of others, are skills that is considered essential as a medical doctor. To practice for the postgraduate life as a medical doctor, one should be engaged in part-time research concurrently with ones studies or alternatively engage in a year full-time research.
During my time as a medical student, I have been part of the Danish Society for Medical Student Research (www.studenterforskning.dk). The society organizes a national conference for Danish students conducting research within health sciences to participate with a poster or an oral presentation to practice presentation in a friendly atmosphere. Furthermore, the society also arranges courses and other events, and it has been involved in political questions regarding conditions for undergraduate researchers. During the participation in the society, I got an idea of an online portal for researchers, no matter the level of experience. The online portal should provide an unified entry to information about the research process and universe. In 2019, I presented the idea for the Department of Clinical Medicine, and in 2020 the project was officially endorsed and the portal named Medical Research Hub (www.medicalresearchhub.com).
As my involvement in the Danish Society for Medical Student Research and Medical Research Hub proclaims, I have a passion about sharing and passing on knowledge and experience in research conduction. This is to enhance the learning process and research skill development for the young aspiring researcher or the medical doctor who wants to familiarize themselves with research methods and interpretation of results, as well as to provide established researchers with a tool to improve their skills and knowledge and the quality of research in general.
I find the most important qualities to be possessed by humans to be; hard work, initiative, persistency, and dedication. Anyone who pursue a career in research should be aware that research is not without challenges. However, seeking new ways to overcome any challenge that might arise during the process would be the action to take. Personally, I strive to investigate clinical questions, since you never know what you will find. Yet, you will provide contribution to the development of new knowledge, which ultimately will benefit patients.
Last updated 9 August 2022