Talking Research with Katie Keeley, Part 2

Stories in: Research

Last time we spoke with Katie Keeley, Clinical Research Coordinator II at Lurie Children’s, she told us about how her managers push her to excel, what an average day is like, and we found out what the String Study is and how it's helping patients.

In this installation, Katie tells us about her team, the value of research, and why YOU should join the research team at Lurie Children's.

Here's what she had to say:

What is the research team like?

"We all kind of dabble in each other's work to help provide coverage. I don't necessarily go to every clinic, but if someone's out, I'm there to help. Everyone's very supportive and always giving tips and pointers on how to survive clinic and not be pushed to the side. With our new manager, she’s really given us a voice. We’re a young team, the average work experience for our GI division is probably two-three years, so we’re all really new and learning a lot. Everything was for the first time when you would see stuff here and there. The entire team is there to help you learn.

We’re always going out for peoples’ promotions or birthdays. We’re trying to enact epic burger Fridays, so we always make it a point to go grab a burger every Friday. One of our managers is actually running the Chicago Marathon for Lurie Children's, which I did back in 2015, so I’ve been a big cheerleader for her. I love running and working out, so I always try to get people together for a workout class and get people to sign up for the next Lurie 5K, which I’m already signed up for! It’s definitely a good culture and people are always willing to have fun."

Why is research so important?

"I worked with research in college a little bit, but not in a hospital setting. When I learned about clinical research in the hospital, I loved it. I love having a purpose, and you can truly see the purpose of your research here–especially with the String Study. You get to see the benefits of your work firsthand and meet the families that have gone through the procedures so many times, and you’re helping them not have to go through that again.

Clinical research in general is very raw. You can’t fib the numbers, it either works or it doesn’t–that’s what I love about this job. I also love seeing all of the physicians that love research as much as I do and seeing how it impacts their work. They want to see stuff change, so they present the research question, then we get it going. It’s a very straightforward and raw thing, it’s not something I saw in the research I had done before, so it’s a nice change."

Why should someone want to join the Lurie research team?

"The draw to Lurie Children's itself is that research is such a big part of the organization. They fund us because they really want us to make a change. When I saw how Lurie Children's is teaching hospital and how much focus was on research, I knew it was a perfect fit. Almost all of the physicians I work with are also teachers and they’re always teaching the residents, fellows, and myself because we believe in endless learning.

I love that I have such a purpose and that my purpose of work is so evident–I see it firsthand from families and different research projects I work on. Parents have told me, ‘what you’re doing every day is so good, you’re doing good work’. Having parents tell you that is just so awesome. So, hearing that and seeing the supportive group I work with definitely keeps me coming back every day."

Describe the ideal candidate

"I would say the ideal candidate has to enjoy science in some way. You’re going to be working with human bodies in one way or another, so hopefully you like learning about it. Another quality is not being afraid to ask questions and knowing the right questions to ask. A lot of the people in the clinical research world are learning, so you have to have the background, but asking questions helps you excel in your role."

If you fit the script of the ideal candidate, love learning, and are always asking questions, apply today to join the research team at Lurie Children’s!