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Not so smooth sailing

Incredible art by: Nunzio Paci check out the rest of his stuff, he’s super talented!

When we last left our exhausted student/medical professional he was anxiously awaiting the meeting that was scheduled for today. It was a rough ~24 hours, but here we are on the other side of the meeting and now there’s a firm(er) plan in place moving forward. So what does that mean for our haphazard student? Well, it could be worse… probably… maybe?

I’ll get straight to the point, we still have no clue what’s going on. The hospital IRB hasn’t responded to the request for clarification yet and we’re literally harassing them at this point. They have been going through things, so it’s not super surprising, just super frustrating. Also horrible timing, but I guess any time would’ve been horrible timing. However, it sounds like we have a plan and it won’t keep me from getting started, assuming they don’t throw a fit about it, I should be clear until close to the end of the year, or plenty of time to get approval.

For those who don’t recall (here) I met with surgeon-PI and our lab manager (who is incredible by the way, shout out to her even though she doesn’t read my blog or even knows it exists). I lost sleep over this meeting because I wasn’t sure what the hell would happen, so it’s been a rough week. Like really bad. But the meeting went well and it turns out after the phone call I got from surgeon-PI out of the blue, he reached out to her to set up a meeting for us all to sit down and discuss the situation.

We all agreed that I do not have months to wait for the IRB approval to start collecting my data. Because it could literally not even get approved this year with how things are going. It’s backed up, only going to get worse before it gets better, and even surgeon-PI is questioning doing research now because of it. The good news is that there is a small, but manageable workaround for the time being and until I start working with a clinical population (vs. neurologically intact participants) I should be clear to do the work at school only without sharing data or basically anything else with surgeon-PI.

In short, he can’t touch anything on the project until we get the agreement between the school and the hospital approved and since that won’t be happening anytime soon, I am (probably, not 100% certain) clear to collect data myself, in my own time, outside of the hospital setting. I cannot (and wouldn’t anyway) work on the data while I’m at the hospital, I can’t use hospital resources or computers to work on the project, basically work and school need to remain separate and since that was the plan already, it shouldn’t be an issue for me.

The issue is surgeon-PI now, since he cannot touch the data in this situation. I mean theoretically he could, but since we’re not 100% sure we need the hospital IRB, we’re just going to pretend we do, get the IRB, and in the meantime keep him away from the project. Since 95% of what I will be doing will not require his help that shouldn’t be an issue. If I wanted him to refer patients to me who are interested in the experiment, which I’m hoping will happen, then we will need the IRB approval from the hospital. The good news there is school-PI already said he had other contacts who could refer people to us, so it shouldn’t be an issue even if the hospital IRB drags the process out.

So for now that’s the plan and that’s how I will be operating. Until we get word from the IRB one way or the other, we are working under good faith and the fact that I’m keeping school and work separate so there’s no conflict. If the IRB says otherwise then we will revisit the situation, we really don’t want to start problems, so hopefully they will confirm that this plan is acceptable, but again the lab manager (not her actual title) said she’s confident that it won’t be an issue and I trust her, so it looks like things are back on track for the time being.

As for the rest of the stuff, I’ve got two of the six members of my committee responding to my request for a date for my dissertation proposal defense already! I sent out the email yesterday morning so that is surprisingly quick turn around and there was some slight issues with the poll I made… oops, but I managed to get that sorted out. As of right now it looks like I’ll be defending the middle of April (the week of the 18st) sometime assuming the other four have a similar availability. Tomorrow I’m meeting with school-PI to go over my prepared slides (I’m up to five I think at the moment and hopefully by tomorrow I have the bulk of them ready). So a lot of things happening all at once.

It’s a lot. Like a lot a lot.

Once I have the date set, since it’s the digital age, you’re all invited to attend virtually, of course. Because why not and there are a lot of regular readers who have already invested so much, you might as well get to hear about super secret technique directly from the guy who came up with it.

On a side note, how about that header image?! I’m not normally an “art” person, whatever that means, but this particular series really spoke to me. I love the mix of x-ray, human, and plant. It’s just incredibly beautiful to me and I wanted to share when I saw it (even if it doesn’t exactly fit the topic for the day). Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the artist sells prints of that particular work, which is a shame because even though I’ve got no money, I would still order. Maybe it will be a future tattoo idea since I’m a tattoo collector, who knows.

In any case, I wanted to share a little unexpected beauty, I came upon the series very unexpectedly. Maybe that’s a good omen though.

2 responses

  1. Well that sounds good. I’m glad you’re probably cleared to get started. But I’m sorry you ended up having a bad night waiting for it. Especially since I know you probably had to work on your slides in the middle of that. It’s really too bad that you have so little security.

    Even given the issues you described (new software, staff shortage) it feels weird that they could end up nine months behind, and be too busy to answer a question for weeks!

    Why are the presumed requirements different for Surgeon PI than for you? Does his part in the project have him doing things on the hospital’s time, or functioning as its official representative in some way?

    I’ll look forward to watching your defense. I assume I’ll be able to, since as long as I get my 40 hours-per-week in, there aren’t any firm constraints on when I work.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 31, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    • Thanks, it’s been a tough week, but at least I’m on the other side of it now. I already have school-PI’s go ahead to collect the data for the project and he stands to lose a lot more than I do if he’s wrong so I trust his judgement. Plus surgeon-PI is new so he’s probably just being overly cautious since he’s not used to our system and collaboration agreements.

      The requirements are different because I have a dual appointment at the school (as a researcher) and the hospital (again as a researcher), but surgeon-PI is only affiliated with the hospital so anything he does on the project is considered hospital work if that makes sense.

      I was hoping you would be able to attend! It will unfortunately be short notice because getting 6 PI’s to agree on a single day and time is like herding dozens of cats, in theory you can do it, but in practice I may not have a date set until days before the proposal defense time rolls around! I’ll post about it the second I have a firm date though.

      Liked by 1 person

      April 1, 2022 at 10:54 am

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