In her role as coordinator of the clinical research program, Hamrick uses her psychology background to help physicians in Indiana University's Department of Anesthesia craft anesthesia research projects and, ultimately, get them published in peer-reviewed journals.
Career Path: She graduated in 2003 with her doctoral degree in health psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. After a postdoc in behavioral oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Hamrick sent her curriculum vitae to Indiana University's School of Nursing hoping to land a job in cancer research there. But instead, the anesthesia department called to ask her to head up a clinical research program.
Work schedule: Hamrick mentors the department's faculty and residents, who often have no formal training in research, to create sound studies. For example, she works with them on writing grants and developing study designs. She also offers her statistical expertise to help them analyze research data.
Besides that role, as an assistant professor she teaches an Introduction to Clinical Medicine class to first-year medical students on how to work with patients of various ages, religious beliefs and races, have good bedside manners and listen to patients' concerns.
Best part of her job: Hamrick enjoys helping physicians design medical studies--especially since, she says, they often have great ideas for research topics but just don't know how to go about studying them.
Many of these studies relate to psychology too. For example, one study she recently worked on looks at parental attachment and the advantages and disadvantages of having parents in a child's room before the patient is given anesthetic for surgery.
Furthermore, the job allows Hamrick to devote time to her own research on stress's effects on physical health--an area of study that first drew her to study psychology. For example, she is studying the effectiveness of faith-based stress management interventions for women with metastatic ovarian cancer and the validity of a quality-of-life scale for women with cancer. Hamrick's research centers on the social, behavioral and physiological factors that lead to increases in psychological stress and decreases in physical health.
How you can get her job: Have a strong research background and get your curriculum vitae out to many places, such as university departments outside of psychology, which may lead to jobs that you didn't even consider before.
"Don't think it always has to be a tenure-track psychology position," Hamrick adds. "You can still find success and happiness in other places."