A Q&A with Krittika Bali

Danica Erickson with Krittika Bali - 07 October 2021

Our latest featured learner, Krittika Bali,  joined the Department of Family Medicine as a research student during the summer of 2021. We recently spoke to her about her experience and what she wants other learners to know about research.

Tell us about yourself, Krittika.

I’m an Edmonton girl through and through. I was born and raised in Edmonton, obtaining my Undergraduate degree and now my Masters degree from the University of Alberta. I am currently in my second year of the Masters in Medicine program.

Who did you work with this summer?

My work was supervised by my graduate supervisor, Dr. Andrea Gruneir. Through our countless zoom meetings, I became more familiar with the care provided in the nursing home (NH) sector and the village of interdisciplinary providers involved in the scope of care as well as performing quantitative data research. I am excited to apply what I have learned both about the field of health services research, and the importance of patient centered care to my future clinical endeavors and beyond! I also had the opportunity to meet, learn, and network with various other professionals who worked in similar areas. The work I completed this summer not only improved my research skills and competence, but more importantly, broadened my understanding and increased my interest in the field of medicine.

What is the project?

My project is looking at the association between access to medical care and resident outcomes in nursing homes. In this context, despite policy actions to contain its provision, as Canada’s population ages, there is an increasing need for nursing home care. Ensuring quality of such care remains paramount. This project used data from the Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC) longitudinal study and the routinely collected Resident Assessment Instrument – Minimum Data Set version 2.0 (RAI-MDS 2.0) to test the association between the availability of physicians and nurse practitioners in nursing homes (NHs) and clinically-relevant resident outcomes of antipsychotic medication use without indication of psychosis, physical restraint use, issues surrounding polypharmacy, and hospitalization and emergency department transfers.

All of our research took place virtually this summer but Dr. Gruneir ensured I had a meaningful learning experience, nonetheless.

What attracted you to this work?

By participating in secondary data analysis research, I was able to see how patient data is transformed into meaningful conclusions about health, disease, or the healthcare system. From my research experience, I have come to appreciate the value of networking and collaboration in these few months as a summer student.

What is the most unexpected thing you  learned?

Although I wouldn’t describe it as unexpected, I learned the importance of networking and collaboration in research. Up until this point in my career, I did not have the chance to network with other trainees and professionals in the field of medicine. However, after experiencing the value of networking and the number of doors it has opened for me, it is something I will continue to engage in and carry forward with me the knowledge that I gained.

What do you want other students to know about research?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on residents of nursing homes, patients, staff, and learners. That said, I think it is important to highlight research that reflects the sentiments of those with lived experience as well as engaging citizens in priority setting exercises that identify the concerns of research end users, those with lived experience, and citizen partners as experts in their own lives.