|Gastroenterology/hepatology fellowship is eye-opening in many ways. During these three years you will 1) acquire robust clinical and procedural skills to prepare for practice, 2) delineate career and life goals, and, for some, 3) cultivate an expertise in research. Most importantly, fellowship is a time to be true to yourself and carve out a meaningful path. Although we generally associate “publishing” with academics and investigation, publishing is a key element during fellowship for all trainees, regardless of whether you pursue a clinical vs. research or academic vs. community practice path.
Publishing helps with the “process of elimination” required to determine the depth and breadth of research interests. For some, doing research as a fellow unexpectedly reveals a passion and strength for investigation, while for others, it confirms that their time is best spent in clinical care. In addition, publishing equips us with important skills that are not routinely taught in our prior 20 years of education and training. Transforming tables and p-values into a well-written manuscript, struggling through multiple draft revisions, and receiving peer-review feedback strengthens our methodologic, writing and communication skills. Additionally, it prepares us to critically interpret the literature—an essential skill for all physicians, as evidence-based medicine is the backbone of practice.
Furthermore, publishing is a gateway to the scientific community. Linking your name to a body of work identifies you with a particular field. This facilitates collaboration with others who share common interests, recognition by leaders in the field, and is a conduit to further opportunities. Similarly, publishing is a critical component of your academic portfolio at all phases of your career. This is important to always consider since most employers are seeking individuals who offer unique expertise or skills. Performing just one literature review can distinguish you as an expert in a certain field. In essence, publishing is a unique mechanism for fellows to disseminate their work, increase their visibility, and put their stamp on a clinical niche.
Publishing as a fellow can be a struggle or a catapult. Every fellow should consider two essential factors in order to successfully publish:
All fellows should consider this checklist when preparing a manuscript:
Finally, keep in mind that there is more to publishing than submitting a manuscript! All fellows should peer-review, either independently or co-review with mentors. If interested, seek out opportunities on editorial boards and publications committees. We encourage all trainees to peer review for ACG Case Reports Journal and to apply for yearly openings on the editorial board. These are invaluable experiences!
Rena Yadlapati, MD
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