BMMS Science Day - Presenting A Poster!

Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Dec 21, 2019

Thanks to everyone who's written in with their feedback about last month's BMMS Science Day. It really is appreciated! Here's Dr Pete Colledge with his thoughts about submitting a poster. It's worth reading as he was one of this year's Poster Prize winners!

"The British Mountain Medicine Society (BMMS) Science day was unlike any other conference. There was no pretention, or atmosphere of cut-throat academic competitiveness that most of us junior doctors imagine conferences to be so full of – the kind of place you would feel stupid asking questions after a presentation. Instead, as others have already commented there was a  strong l feeling of community and a shared love of the mountains.

It was attended by medics and non-medics alike with people of all ages and at all stages of their careers. People from across the spectrum of experience in research and the mountains, came together with boundless amounts of enthusiasm in what felt like a reunion for those who have merged a love of science and knowledge with the mountains. For someone like me, it felt like hitting the jackpot!

You could argue that it has never been easier to have the flexibility in your career to follow your own avenues of interest. There are a plethora of expedition companies needing medics, research in mountain medicine is becoming more mainstream and universities are offering diplomas in mountain, wilderness and marine medicine. Despite this, you still need to get your foot in the door, to get out and meet people and to get involved!

More than 15 posters were presented at the BMMS Science Day. Joint winners of the Poster Prize were Pete Colledge, Denzil Broadhurst and Chris Smith. Congratulations!

Presenting a poster at a conference is an established way of doing that. It provides a way to show your skills in research analysis and presentation of data, as well as helping you to engage with other participants in a relaxed and non threatening way. But it can still feel like there are barriers to getting involved – I don’t have any original data or the ability to present novel research. Will other people be interested in what I have to say? These can feel like big obstacles, especially for a first timer. So here at the things that I learned, presenting my first poster and why I’d urge anyone interested in a specific area of study to present one too.

Original and interesting research findings are the holy grail, but don’t be put off if you are not in a position to collect or analyse data. Without contacts in the field it’s hard to achieve. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create a worthwhile poster that will be useful to others.

The key point is finding a subject that you are interested in and where increased awareness about the subject could have a big impact on your target audience. For example, I chose to present a poster on the field management of frostbite because: 

1.) Frostbite is a common problem

2.) It is becoming more prevalent due to the rising popularity of adventure sports

3.) The consequences of severe frostbite can be life changing

4.) it should be easily avoidable / protected against. 

For these reasons, it is a subject that warrants highlighting and where increased visibility and learning can have a positive impact. As a rule of thumb, if you learned something from researching and writing it, others will learn from reading it, so don’t feel like a well presented review of the current literature isn’t worthwhile. Just get writing!

As Pete says, frostbite is a common problem and can have life changing consequences. For further information on frostbite try thisDo you know about non freezing cold injury? If not, take a look at this.

Once you have researched your topic and identified your most salient points, make them as striking as possible. Try to think of as many ways to make the information stand out. There will be lots of information up on the walls at a conference for people to read in a short space of time. If yours draws people in and is easy to digest then it will make it memorable and more likely to have the desired effect. Also, don’t crowd your poster with information, it’s the take home messages that you want and then you can talk around the subject.

Finally, if you are thinking about submitting a poster, but you are not quite sure, or a little apprehensive about it, why not get in touch with the organiser and see if they have any smart subject ideas? Presenting a poster definitely helped me to network during the BMMS Science Day and has led to some interesting connections and potential future collaborations – so the hard work does pay off!"

More about the 2019 BMMS Science Day can be found here.

Pete has recently written a fascinating post about identifying and treating osteoporosis in those heading to the mountains. It can be found here.

For more details take a look at this!

Would you like to take a look at something from the archive? Why not try this?

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