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My summer at Akron Children’s as a pediatric research scholar

This summer, I’ve had the pleasure of doing some research in Akron Children’s renowned Burn Center as part of the hospital’s Summer Pediatric Research Scholarship (SPRS) program, which is for college students interested in careers in medical-related fields.

I am a junior at Ohio State University, majoring in nutrition. Others in the program are planning careers as doctors, physical therapists, physician assistants, and nurses.

Each student is assigned a mentor and a different research project. We commit to working at least 24 hours per week and receive a stipend toward our education.

For my project, I looked at the safety and effectiveness of Akron Children’s protocol for procedural sedation, which helps ease the pain and anxiety that comes from a burn patient’s frequent dressing changes.

My study is retrospective, which means I’ve spent many hours looking through charts in Medical Records. I must say, the hardest thing was trying to comprehend some of the handwriting on those charts. It’s as if, after the white coat ceremony, medical students are ushered into an auditorium and lectured on how to write illegibly. But I digress…

Other projects this year focused on identifying obese patients in the pediatric intensive care unit, improving the turn-around time for ultrasound test results, neonatal outcomes, osteoporosis in children, acetaminophen toxicity, and factors that could lead to success in toilet training in children with cerebral palsy, to name just a few.

SPRS students also have the opportunity to shadow in departments – everywhere from the Emergency department to Hematology/Oncology. Recently, I got to spend some time in Sports Medicine with Dr. Julie Kerr and in the Locust Pediatric Care Group with Dr. Joel Davidson. Everyone is so friendly and extremely knowledgeable, and I’ve been able to watch doctor-patient interactions with everyone from kids with concussions to college soccer players to foster kids in for a check-up.

The 10-week program wrapped up on Aug. 17 when all the participants presented the results of their projects in Power Point presentations. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Akron Children’s this summer, and I would definitely recommend the program for college students interested in medical-related careers.

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