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Anna Draper

she/her
SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

Co-op Work Term Number
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Story Faculty

With the goal of becoming an occupational therapist in mind, I was seeking a co-op placement where I could get hands-on experience in clinical research and was lucky enough to find a 12-month placement at BC Children’s Hospital in the division of rheumatology as a research assistant. What excited me about the role was the opportunity to work directly with children and their families, as well as to be a part of a multidisciplinary team where I could learn more about the roles and expertise of different professions in an outpatient clinic and research setting.

The division of rheumatology at BC Children’s Hospital cares for children and young adults with rheumatic diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, juvenile dermatomyositis, vasculitis, and other systemic autoinflammatory diseases. This team has several outreach clinics across the province, cares for children staying at the hospital, and runs the rheumatology outpatient clinic at Children’s Hospital, so I have gained a lot of insight and knowledge into how outpatient care works. Along with clinical care, the division also has a strong research program with the goal of expanding current knowledge and improving treatment for children with rheumatic diseases.

Over the past 2 terms, my work has been focused on approaching and enrolling eligible patients for various research projects. I have been working on a registry study for children with systemic autoinflammatory diseases, as well as on a study examining clinical and biological data with patient-reported outcomes from children on biologic medications to manage their arthritis. By working on these projects, I have learned a wealth of information about what goes into clinical research, as well as the specific conditions that are seen in pediatric rheumatology. I have been able to use my communication and problem-solving skills from my previous work with children, as well as develop new skills, such as the basics of REDCap and learning how to screen patients for research. Applying knowledge from my SFU health sciences classes in a real-world setting has helped solidify my understanding of and appreciation for research methods and ethics.

Overall, I have found working as a research assistant very rewarding, and my favorite part of the job is interacting with patients and families! I am excited for my final term in the division of rheumatology this summer to continue to learn and develop skills that I can utilize in the rest of my education and future career.

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Anna Draper

she/her
SFU Student Undergraduate
Health Sciences
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op
visibility  78
Apr 10, 2024