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Towards evidence-based medicine for paediatricians
  1. Bob Phillips
  1. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York Alcuin College, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bob Phillips, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York Alcuin College, York, UK; bob.phillips{at}

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Why bother?

It is probably not something that a reader of this section, let alone the Archives in general, would be thinking … but … there are some people out there who think ‘Why bother?’ when it comes to keeping yourself up to date with clinical research, and struggling to answer clinical questions with difficult answers. After all, there is so much new comes through, and some of it will be wrong, and frankly as long as you follow the guidelines, then you will not run into too much trouble.

Well. Sort of. And keeping up with local, national and international guidelines is definitely to be supported. But there is a benefit to the other stuff too.

Selfishly, the interrogation of cutting-edge clinical research and then struggling through it is appraisal and implementation can be an intellectual challenge. It is like Wordle (in that it often has unwarranted Americanizations) or a cryptic crossword (in that the words HAVE to have the answer in them, if only you could see it …), or one of those damned Escape Rooms where it takes a team of folks with different perceptual skills to get things sorted.

Beyond the self, it is an active ‘good’. It leads to you practising medicine in a way which puts the care of the individual patients you work with at the heart of your day. It means you have the best chance of maximising their quality of life, and that is why we all signed up for this role in the first place.

Perhaps above all this, think of it as a way of humbling us. Connecting us back to the uncertainties on which we practise, and undermining us when we have a sense of knowing it all.

Why bother? Simply because we, and our patients and their families, are worth it.


  • Twitter @drbobphillips

  • Contributors Written entirely by me, but inspired by my son who asked, 'Why do you bother doing research? It’s sooo much effort and sooooo boring.'

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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