I'm a big fan of Julia Child and I love watching re-runs of 'Cooking with Julia' on PBS. You have to smile at her devil-may-care attitude about adding an extra pat of butter and another glass of wine to any meal. I especially love watching Julia roll out pie dough. What a master of the art of baking she is--her dough never sticks to the rolling pin, the dough magically finds its way to a perfect round shape and even thickness, and Julia's crust is never soggy. This mastery is the product of years of practice. As Julia described in My Life in France, she diced piles of carrots to practice her knife skills and roasted a farm-full of chickens to practice and perfect her technique.
When I was young, I played the clarinet (nerd!). Somewhere along the way, practicing my clarinet turned from drudgery to joy--a personal quest to play as well as possible. I began to appreciate the concept of practice. Doing the same thing over and over, trying to get better and finding the lessons of consistency, purpose, focus, awareness. The repetition necessary to achieve proficiency is wonderful journey. Now I practice yoga. Even though I've done the same poses hundreds of times, each experience in the practice is new. If I keep practicing, I know I will eventually master that illusive crow pose.
And so it is with the practice of recruitment. Through practice, we gain experience, examine results, make adjustments, and get better.The ability to effectively communicate with potential participants is a skill that is practiced and honed over time. Practice may be a solitary activity--like mentally rehearsing how you will present a new trial to a patient. In the area of clinical trial recruitment, practice is informed by literature, evidence, and the experience of others. The annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting was held in Chicago earlier this week. Numerous exciting study results were presented--again, bringing to mind the concept of practice. The diligence and persistence of scientific teams to practice and refine complex techniques. Clinical research teams 'practice' all of the necessary operational steps before implementing a trial. Practice and acheiving proficiency is a necessary element in the research process. I would guess that it is also at the root of our professional satisfaction and joy in our work. What are you practicing? And what is your practice teaching you? From pie dough, to crow pose to patient recruitment-practice makes perfect! As Julia said, "no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing."