I think we can all agree that RESEARCH ROCKS . . . but how do we keep up with it all?!?! As a physical therapy student, I vowed to myself that I would “always” keep up with the latest research once I entered the working world. Journals, continuing education, conferences . . . I was going to do it all. Once classes, exams, papers and group projects were done, I thought I would have plenty of time to keep up with the research world. How could I possibly be busier than I was as a physical therapy student?!?!
After five years of working as a physical therapist, these thoughts make me laugh :-). I have come to realize that staying up-to-date with the latest research findings is a very personal and challenging journey for each of us. Finding a balance between family, friends, recreational activities and work can be demanding. With so many people, responsibilities, and activities filling each day, finding time to stay in touch with the research world can be difficult. It has taken me a few years of trial and error to figure out what works best for me. Here’s what I do:
· Skimming journal cover pages (JOSPT for example) as soon as I get them and highlighting the articles that are most relevant to the patients I am seeing currently. This helps me prioritize me reading/learning.
· Reading journal articles two days a week during lunch . . . often while riding a recumbent stationary bike. Starting to do this really helped me keep up with my journal reading.
· Attending continuing education courses and PT conferences as regularly as I can given time and $ constraints.
o Looking up journal articles cited by presenters at courses and conferences
o “Open Door” which is available to all APTA members is a great resource for finding journal articles in publications that you don't already receive
· Journal club – I work as one of two physical therapists at a university student health center. Putting together a journal club took some extra planning because our “Sports Medicine” journal club includes physical therapists, an athletic trainer, and primary care physicians. We meet once a month to discuss new articles and to work on our overall system of patient care.
· Talking “shop” with PT friends . . . sharing what we have learned
So fellow NPs, how do you do it? How do you keep up with the latest research while balancing family, friend, work, etc? I'd love some new ideas!