ashley-parker

Ashley Parker, PhD

Ashley has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and is a research engineer in the healthcare field by day. She also writes about grad school, research, and productivity at PurposefulPhd.com and @PurposefulPhD on Twitter.

http://www.purposefulphd.com

Information Overload? Go on an Information Diet

  Is your brain mush at the end of the day?  Med school or grad school introduces an overwhelming amount of information. How can you make sure that the important stuff stays in your head and not what happened on the latest episode of Scandal instead? My answer is to go on an information diet.   We are bombarded by info overload on a daily basis, from every angle.  Twenty-four hours news ensures that there is always something “important” that you need to hear.  It’s draining and eventually your brain can’t retain all this information.   An information diet makes sure that you are absorbing what’s actually important- not what everyone else tells you is important.  Here are some steps to set up an information diet for yourself.   1. Decide what information is important to you. Do you need to know all the news where you live or is it not important to you?  Do you like to read political opinion articles or do you hate all politics?  You have to decide what’s important to you and what you can live without.  But remember, it’s a “diet”. Don’t only remove what’s easy.   2. Set restrictions on the unimportant. For whatever you decide is off limits, establish your boundaries.  Does that mean outlawing TV or reading blogs? You decide what your restrictions means.   3. Set limits on everything...

How to Stay Up To Date on Research in Your Field

  If you are in any research field and are currently working on a project, you’ll need to stay up to date on published research.  But how do you find the newly published research literature without doing manual search after manual search?  There are few different options.   Subscribe to the RSS feed of your search. Conduct a search for your topic of choice on your favorite database (Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect, etc.) You sign up for a RSS feed of any type of search you make (i.e., title, author, etc.) Each database should have a link to subscribe to the RSS feed for the search.  Once you have the RSS feed link, open your favorite reader website (I use Feedly) and paste your RSS feed link into the add content option.  When a paper is published that shows up in your search, it will automatically populate into your blog reader.  Then when you have time, you can browse the latest published work on your research topic.   Subscribe to the RSS feed of your favorite journals. Many journals offer a RSS feed option that you can also paste into your reader.  Be selective about which journals you subscribe to, otherwise you might just be scrolling through article after article that is useless to your research.   Sign up for search or journal alerts. This is similar to subscribing...

6 Tips For Women PhDs or MDs to Gain Respect in the Workforce

As a women with a PhD or MD, there are a certain set of challenges for maintaining the respect you deserve in the workplace.  Sometimes these challenges are associated with others’ attitudes and opinions, but often they are often caused by our own behavior. What are some things you can control that will get you more respect at work?     1. Stand Up for Yourself Obviously this one is pretty self-explanatory.  If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?  You have to back yourself up- don’t let others walk all over you. People don’t respect a push over. You don’t have to be extraordinarily aggressive or rude about standing up for yourself, but have a strong backbone.   2. Stand Up for Others While it’s important to stand up for yourself, it’s also important to stand up for others.  You will be seen as only self-serving if you never back others up.  If your co-workers, employees, or boss know that you will stand up for them, they will have immense respect for you.  Some of the best bosses I’ve ever had were those who would go to bat for me.   3. Don’t Succumb to Imposter Syndrome Imposter syndrome is an issue for everyone, but women seem to be especially affected by it.  Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you don’t have what it takes, i.e., you are an...

5 Ways VuMedi and The Doctor’s Channel Can Help You Become A Better Doctor

    VuMedi and The Doctor’s Channel are video education websites for physicians, fellows, residents, or members of the allied health community. The main difference between the two websites is that VuMedi is restricted to members of the allied health community and to use the site, you must sign up for an account. According to VuMedi, over 100,000 doctors use the website for education and improving their practice and patient care. However, you do not have to make an account to access The Doctor’s Channel.   How can these websites help you as a medical student and future physician? 1.Watch surgical videos.  Are you studying a specific topic right now where watching a surgical video would help? Or are you on your surgery rotation?  The specialties on VuMedi include anesthesiology, cardiovascular, dental, neurosurgery, oral maxillofacial, orthopaedics, pediatrics, plastic surgery, podiatry, primary care, radiology, and urology. There are often videos of different approaches for the same surgical technique. Watching these surgical videos could help you understand the differences between the approaches. The Doctor’s Channel offers short informative videos on a variety of topics, including cutting edge research, case studies, and pretty much any specialty you can think of. If you need to know information about a topic, the Doctor’s Channel might be a better choice for a video.   2. Watch presentations conducted by the world renowned physicians.  In addition to...

10 Steps to Set and Actually Achieve Your Goals

  You don’t have to have goals in place to actually get things done.  However, they can push you to get the important things done and help you track your progress. Revisiting my goals regularly reminds me what I want to accomplish and helps me say no to things that aren’t working towards them.  Here is how I actually set goals and what works for me.   1. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but set SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.  This is actually easier said than done.  I’ve known about this principle for years, but I still have a hard time doing this.  The measurable and realistic parts are normally my sticking points.   2. Set goals for different time periods. I set SMART goals for 1 week, 3 months, 1 year, and 3 years.  Seem a bit excessive? I don’t have too many goals for each time period, but having separate goals helps me stay on track of what I want to accomplish and what is actually achievable.  That leads to the next point…   3. But don’t set too many goals. Setting too many goals will lead to overwhelm and not being able to track your goals.  Pick a few important goals that you can remember and keep up with and leave it at that.   4. Break them down into manageable pieces...