After finishing my Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2014 I started a Master of Pharmacy at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. As part of this master program I have had to complete six months of pharmaceutical related research, which I am undertaking at the Behavioural Sciences Unit (BSU). After finishing my project in Sydney I will have to study another 1.5 years at the University of Utrecht to complete my education.
What is your current role?
I am currently completing my research internship at the BSU, Sydney Children’s Hospital. In collaboration with the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) at UTS I’m analysing data from the long-term follow up study of childhood cancer survivors. My research is about “Finding determinants of quality of life in paediatric cancer survivors”. For this research project, data has been gathered from 320 paediatric cancer survivors and 150 parents of paediatric cancer survivors. Using demographic and clinical information I will try to find which characteristics are important in determining the quality of life of (parents of) paediatric cancer survivors.
What are the ‘best’ parts of your current role?
The best part of my internship is that I work at two different locations. At CHERE and the BSU the working environment is very flexible. This means that I can work at any location during the week depending on my needs for SPSS, Stata or specific feedback of my supervisors (Joanna Fardell, Richard de Abreu Lourenco, and Christina Signorelli). Also, living in Australia for six months gives me the chance to see another part of the world, something that really adds something extra to my experience as an intern.
What are the most challenging parts of your current role?
During my internship almost everything I had to do was completely new to me. Organizing, cleaning and analysing a dataset with statistics software Stata/SPSS is something I have never done. Learning these skills took some time and effort in the beginning. Gradually becoming more and more comfortable with the statistics in my project I got more experience in analysing the different variables in my dataset. The good part of all of this is that, in the past six months, I have learned a lot of new skills that are helpful if I would like to work in research after I finish my study.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
My main priorities in the next few years are finishing my master and deciding which area of pharmacy I would like to work in. After finishing my study I can end up in public pharmacy, research, medicine development or in a pharmaceutical company. In the past six months I have been experiencing what the field of research is like and it is definitely an option for my future plans.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow a similar path in terms of their study/career?
For people who would like to do a study like pharmacy, there should be an intrinsic interest in chemistry, mathematics and the manufacturing of medicines and the effect of medicines on a human body. Other topics that come across in the bachelor and master are social contact between patient and pharmacist. Any advice on determining a study/career path is to explore and experience different jobs/internships in your fields of interest before deciding which direction you would like to go in the next coming years. For me this is the best way to find out if which direction suits me best.