Category: Housing

Two birds with one stone: physicians training in research

Combined training in addiction medicine and research is feasible and acceptable for physicians – a new study shows; however, there are important barriers to overcome and improved understanding of the experience of addiction physicians in the clinician-scientist track is required.

Addiction care is usually provided by unskilled lay-persons in most countries. The resulting care is inadequate, effective treatments are overlooked and millions of people suffer despite recent discovery of new treatments for substance use disorders. In rare instances when addiction care is provided by medical professionals, they are not adequately trained in caring for people with substance use disorders and, therefore, feel unprepared to provide such care.  Physician scientists are the bridge between science and practice. Despite large evidence-base upon which to base clinical practice, most health systems have not combined training of healthcare providers in addiction medicine and research. 
In recent years, new programmes have emerged to train the comprehensive addiction medicine professionals internationally.

We undertook a qualitative study to assess the experiences of 26 physicians who completed such a training programme in Vancouver, Canada. They included psychiatrists, internal medicine and family medicine physicians, faculty, mentors, medical students and residents. All received both addiction medicine and research training. Drawing on Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluating training programmes, we analysed the interviews thematically using qualitative data analysis software. We identified five themes relating to learning experience that were influential: (i) attitude, (ii) knowledge, (iii) skill, (iv) behaviour and (v) patient outcome. The presence of a supportive learning environment, flexibility in time lines, highly structured rotations, and clear guidance regarding development of research products facilitated clinician-scientist training.  Competing priorities, to include clinical and family responsibilities, hindered training.

Read more here:
Klimas, J., McNeil, R., Ahamad, K., Mead, A., Rieb, L., Cullen, W., Wood, E., Small, W. (2017) Two birds with one stone: Experiences of Combining Clinical and Research Training in Addiction Medicine. BMC Medical Education, 17:22

Top 10 tips for househunters in Dublin

Finding a nice apartment for rent in Dublin now is very difficult. Since August 2010, there are very few apartments available for rent for hundreds of interested applicants. Group viewings are the norm. Online advertisements for apartments are gone within hours. It’s a landlords’ and landladies’ market where no negotiation is accepted. Here are some tips to help you navigate these perilous waters.

1.            Secure it properly

Typically, a security deposit is required when signing the lease. These days, that’s too late. If you want to win your place in the competition, bring the deposit to the first viewing.

2.            Money talk, it’s the bottom line

You’re not the only one with the deposit in your pocket. Other people can’t wait to give it to the flat owner should they like the place. Have a little extra and be prepared to offer a higher deposit on the spot.

3.            Do your homework, get those references and send them by email

The best apartments are never viewed. They are taken as seen on the web. If you like the flat, contact the landlords/ landladies and offer to send your references and the deposit online. Hand signed references from previous landlords/ landladies are the best.

4.            Be on time, be proactive

Even better, come 15 minutes early. This will not only show your interest, but will make the difference between you and the 6 other people with the same interest, money and references as yours.

5.            Make them remember you, but not in a bad way

Some landlords/ landladies or agents prefer to take the references first and make the decision later. In this case, make your personality shine through during the conversation. Although competitive, it’s a human business after all and good impressions win apartments.

6.            Don’t mind the other 30 people viewing the apartment with you

Pretend that you’re the only person in the room. Check everything you want to check and see. Ask all the questions on your checklist. Take your time. This is your only opportunity to gather info for your decision and practice your group communication skills.

7.            Patience, it can take time

If you’re really fussy about your dream place for living, it can take time to find it, especially because there’s so few of them. You need to be ready to move in the next day or in six months. Detach from any delays.

8.            Follow the web, act immediately

Set up email alerts for new apartments in your location or check the web every hour. Checking the classifieds once a day is not enough. There are hundreds of people like you waiting for their ideal apartment who sit on the ads all day long.

9.            Decide on the spot, just take it or leave it

For many, this is the hardest part. However hard, the viewing is the only time where you can make your choice. You can’t go home and think about it. There’s no time for such luxury because the apartment will be gone tomorrow.

10.          Flexibility

Above all, be ready to make the most unusual compromises about your next flat. It helps if you think of it as an opportunity to exercise your flexibility and that you will come stronger out of it.

Life in migrant flats

People in my apartment block are mostly immigrants, like me, but they don’t greet me. I live here four years and I don’t have any friends among the expatriates. When I came back from my fellowship, I asked myself why this happens.

There is a lot of diversity in migrant flats. People speak different languages, cook different dishes and have different habits. Coming back from work, night after night, I smell all sorts of exotic foods on our floor. Yes, that’s the thing about emigrants – they like their own food which is missing in the local cuisine. Many have also little money to afford fancy exotic restaurants. The combination of a desire for a familiar dish, combined with low income, results in higher frequency of emigrant cooking compared to host nationals. On the other hand, Irish too cooked their stews during the massive exodus to US in the 19th century. Cabbage smell was a clear sign of the Irish neighbourhood.

I may expect too much from my fellow emigrants. Many of us live in tight conditions. Our living quarters are small, often packed with children and other close or distant relatives who need a temporary shelter in the new country. Our jobs pay low. Despite the job equality, the same level of education and experience don’t guarantee us the position, and locals get these jobs easier. Adjusting to life in a new country is tough. The intercultural differences make it hard to feel good and homesickness is common. Some cultures are open towards strangers while others are guarded. The culture motley obscures navigation in the interpersonal domain and staying quiet is the safest option. Apart from the cultural differences, language may be a barrier for some. These issues create a lot of pressure on the newcomers. Smiling and saying Hi to your neighbours may be just too much to ask. Emigrant’s life is hard and progress is slow.

I saw nothing of this until I returned from Portland, OR. The time and distance created a bird’s perspective from which I’m able to see life back in our flats differently. Before, this was the norm – now, I see that life can be different. People can interact differently. Talking to strangers is not a sin. The fellowship in U.S. taught me a lesson about openness and talking to strangers, getting to know them and making friends. It makes life nicer.