An interview with the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 2016 Best Paper Award winner

Since its launch in 2013 by SAGE and the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS), the JFMS Resident Best Paper Award has sought to identify and reward innovation in veterinary science research. From skin grafts to urethral rupture, the award is actively supporting early-career researchers in getting their work recognised and engaged with.

Courtesy of Utrecht University

We are delighted to announce the winner of this year’s award as Sara Janssens, a surgeon at the University Clinic of Utrecht. Janssens’ study “Middle ear polyps: results of traction avulsion after a lateral approach to the ear canal in 62 cats (2004–2014)” examines the best practice for removing inner ear cysts in cats, finding that a combination of two approaches resulted in low recurrence and complication rates. To find out more about her research, and to discover her top tips for other early-career researchers looking to get published, we’ve caught up with Sara:

What impact do you hope your research will have in this area of feline surgery?

I hope that first-line practitioners feel confident to choose this technique instead of traction avulsion (TA). Traction avulsion lateral approach (TALA) is a simple, time efficient and effective method that has a lower recurrence rate compared with TA and less perioperative chance of complications than described for ventral bulla osteotomy. A learning curve is necessary to achieve a low recurrence rate.

What would be your top tips for a clinical resident embarking on their first publication?

Of great importance is an early start in determining a topic for your research paper and collecting data from the beginning. Contact with my supervisor for this article (Gert Ter Haar) on a weekly basis helped me to write the paper. If there is too much time in between meetings/corrections, writing will become difficult as it seems that the paper progresses very slowly. Stay in the flow so there is no time for writer’s block!

What might be next in terms of your own clinical research?

We are performing clinical research on the laparoscopic skills of residents and diplomates, which will be compared before and after a training programme. It should be a very interesting study as laparoscopic surgery in animals has recently received a lot of attention.

SAGE is thrilled to be able to champion the high-quality work of early-career researchers through awards such as these, helping to establish and promote their work within their respective fields. As both the education and research landscapes rapidly evolve, it is increasingly important to support young researchers, providing them with access to forums, research and debates where they can help shape the direction of their research fields – in this case, bringing clinical and health benefits to the field of veterinary science.

Find out more about the JFMS Resident Best Paper Award here.

Sara Janssens qualified in 2008 from the University of Ghent, Belgium. She started an internship at the Department of Medical Imaging and Orthopaedics at the University of Ghent, whereafter she worked as a general practitioner at two busy general practices in Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2012 Sara started her residency in small animal surgery at Utrecht University. The residency was completed in 2015, and she has remained working as a surgeon at the University Clinic of Utrecht. Her main interest is soft tissue surgery, with a focus on head and neck surgery and minimal invasive procedures.

Read the study for free here.

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