I'm a Clinical Research Nurse, AMA Watch

Charlotte's Web
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For background info, I've been working as a Clinical Research Nurse for a little over two years now. I work within the pharmaceutical industry carrying out clinical trials and my role is 100% patient facing.

Ask me anything to do with nursing, clinical trials, drug development or anything else you'd like to know
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ecolier
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
...
Why do you want to be a nurse in the first place?
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by ecolier)
Why do you want to be a nurse in the first place?
Funnily enough, I initially thought I wanted to be a doctor

However when I did my work experience in a hospital in year 10, I realised that the role of a doctor wasn't actually what I thought it was. It was a lot of decision-making and then moving on, with very little time to bond with the patients build a relationship which is what I really enjoyed. Once I shadowed the nurses for a couple of days it became clear to me that that was really the role I wanted all along. I'd previously had a very old-fashioned view of nurses, and was genuinely surprised to see that they were really the main point of call to the patients and had a lot of responsibility for their wellbeing and overall care.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
...However when I did my work experience in a hospital in year 10, I realised that the role of a doctor wasn't actually what I thought it was. It was a lot of decision-making and then moving on, with very little time to bond with the patients build a relationship which is what I really enjoyed.
Tell that to the GPs! They have an extra long lasting (sometimes too close!) relationship with their patients :giggle:

Once I shadowed the nurses for a couple of days it became clear to me that that was really the role I wanted all along. I'd previously had a very old-fashioned view of nurses, and was genuinely surprised to see that they were really the main point of call to the patients and had a lot of responsibility for their wellbeing and overall care.
Of course, they are much more important to our inpatients than the doctors!

Thank you for doing what you're doing! :hugs:
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by ecolier)
Tell that to the GPs! They have an extra long lasting (sometimes too close!) relationship with their patients :giggle:



Of course, they are much more important to our inpatients than the doctors!

Thank you for doing what you're doing! :hugs:
What I do now is probably a lot more similar to working in a GP practice than any other area so I definitely understand the feeling! Sometimes I struggle to walk to the coffee machine in reception without patients chatting to me, which is not a bad complaint to have I guess.

Don't tell any surgical colleagues that!
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ecolier
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
...Don't tell any surgical colleagues that!
We don't really talk to surgical colleagues :rofl:
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shadowdweller
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Charlotte's Web what are the best and worst things about your job?
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by shadowdweller)
Charlotte's Web what are the best and worst things about your job?
I'd say the best things are:
1. The working hours. I work 08:00 until 16:30 (16:00 on Fridays), Monday to Friday. I have a much better work-life balance. I have a diary during the day but also have some time where I can get other jobs done, so I do have some flexibility in managing my day which is good.
2. I get to have more of an academic interest. Each time a new study starts, staff get training on that area, so I've learn a lot since starting here about conditions and treatments I wouldn't otherwise have done. I've also been able to do a supported masters, which I almost certainly wouldn't have been able to do in another role.
3. We get to see patients regularly so we get to build a bit of a relationship with them. We also have lots of patients who enjoy coming to see us so much that they do multiple studies, which is nice.

The worst things are:
1. There's a lot of paperwork and admin. As we are testing investigational drugs on volunteers, everything is documented in minute detail and everything is accounted for.
2. We work in the lab one day per month. While this is a useful skill, it just isn't something I particularly enjoy.
3. There can be quite a bit of travelling involved. Sometimes this is fun, but most of the time it's a lot of waiting around in airports and train stations. Most of the time we are travelling at short notice and when we get to our destination we often don't get much/any free time to enjoy it.
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shadowdweller
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(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
I'd say the best things are:
1. The working hours. I work 08:00 until 16:30 (16:00 on Fridays), Monday to Friday. I have a much better work-life balance. I have a diary during the day but also have some time where I can get other jobs done, so I do have some flexibility in managing my day which is good.
2. I get to have more of an academic interest. Each time a new study starts, staff get training on that area, so I've learn a lot since starting here about conditions and treatments I wouldn't otherwise have done. I've also been able to do a supported masters, which I almost certainly wouldn't have been able to do in another role.
3. We get to see patients regularly so we get to build a bit of a relationship with them. We also have lots of patients who enjoy coming to see us so much that they do multiple studies, which is nice.

The worst things are:
1. There's a lot of paperwork and admin. As we are testing investigational drugs on volunteers, everything is documented in minute detail and everything is accounted for.
2. We work in the lab one day per month. While this is a useful skill, it just isn't something I particularly enjoy.
3. There can be quite a bit of travelling involved. Sometimes this is fun, but most of the time it's a lot of waiting around in airports and train stations. Most of the time we are travelling at short notice and when we get to our destination we often don't get much/any free time to enjoy it.
This is really interesting, thank you! You mentioned travel - is this something you have to do a lot? How far afield do you have to go? :eek:
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by shadowdweller)
This is really interesting, thank you! You mentioned travel - is this something you have to do a lot? How far afield do you have to go? :eek:
It really depends. When we have a new study starting they have an Investigator Meeting, where a selection of the doctors and nurses worldwide will attend a meeting to learn about the study and network. Sometimes they're within the UK but I've also been to Switzerland and Italy. Generally it's within Europe, although one of my colleagues got to go to Florida for a week a couple of years ago, lucky thing!
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Amanda92
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Your job sounds really interesting! How did you make the move into clinical research? I left nursing five years ago to bring up family. I'm now looking for a course to update my knowledge for a possible career change so I'm looking for advice/inspiration. Did you need any specific skills or qualifications for your role?
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by Amanda92)
Your job sounds really interesting! How did you make the move into clinical research? I left nursing five years ago to bring up family. I'm now looking for a course to update my knowledge for a possible career change so I'm looking for advice/inspiration. Did you need any specific skills or qualifications for your role?
It was totally by accident! I was working in a job I hated and was looking at literally anything that was hiring nurses. At that point I didn't even really know what the role entailed but went for an interview and thought it sounded interesting. When I applied I remember the job description stating you needed a 'breadth of experience'. I think I'd have struggled in this role without having a bit of post-registration experience, and I was fortunate to have been given a good mix of placements when I was at university which helped to prepare me.

You do need qualifications in various things like Good Clinical Practice, transport of dangerous goods (if you're involved in sample processing), Good Manufacturing Practices etc. however these were all provided by my employer once I started. You also need to be fully trained on any study you may work on - you really need to know the drug, therapeutic area and what the study involves inside out. You need to be trained up to understand the research process and mindset - it took about 6 months before I actually felt like I was being a useful member of the team. I spent about 2 months just shadowing and training before I saw any patients. Obviously it does therefore depend whether the employer has the facility to offer that sort of intensive training to someone with no research experience. Essentially in terms of qualifications it was really just my nursing degree and experience.
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FutureMissMRCS
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What does your job entail, what do you do everyday?
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bbbbrrrrrrrrrr
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are you a nurse because you weren't smart enough to be a doctor?
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by FutureMissMRCS)
What does your job entail, what do you do everyday?
Each day is pretty different but I'll give a bit of an approximation of an 'average day'.

08:00 - Arrive at work. Get changed into uniform and check my diary to see which patients I have booked in. I'll then go to the lab and get all the equipment I need for the day, such as blood sample kits or any specific study-related equipment.

08:20 - Seeing a patient for their first visit to the site to discuss a study and try to determine whether they are suitable. This is a really important visit as it's the first impression they get of us and the site.

08:50 - Quick blood draw visit for a patient to see if they may be suitable for an upcoming study.

09:00 - Enrolling a patient onto an osteoarthritis study. At this visit we are ensuring that the patient meets all the criteria for the study, and doing basic health checks to make sure nothing will put them at risk in terms of their participation. They need blood pressures, temperature, height and weight, ECG, blood tests (lying and standing). We then get the patient signed off by the doctor and administer their injection.

10:00 - Ongoing visit for a patient on a cardiovascular risk study. They return all their medication which is counted, documented and we calculate their compliance. We do blood pressures, check that the doctor is happy for us to proceed and then dispense more medication. Each bottle is accounted for online and in paper notes - as it's an investigational drug we need to know where each and every tablet is at any given time.

10:45 - Fitting a 24 hour ECG monitor for a patient on a diabetes study.

11:00 - A patient calls to report side effects - we need to document these extremely accurately.

11:30 - Another few visits for patients to see if they are suitable for studies and to explain what it involves. We do a lot of these!

12:30 - Lunch hour! I tend to sit in my office to eat although there is a small kitchen. During this time I'll often listen to a lecture for my masters and do a bit of uni work.

13:30 - Site Initiation Visit for a new study. This involves a representative from the sponsor (drug company) coming to site to present a new study to us and provide training on it and all the systems we may need.

15:00 - Online training session on cannulation techniques.

15:30 - Query resolution time. We have a team of data coordinators who check all of our work and upload it onto the online systems. This time allows us to fix any issues, clarify information and also do things like check in new arrivals of drugs.

16:30 - Home time!
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by bbbbrrrrrrrrrr)
are you a nurse because you weren't smart enough to be a doctor?
I don't know. I'm not smart enough.
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ecolier
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(Original post by bbbbrrrrrrrrrr)
are you a nurse because you weren't smart enough to be a doctor?
This is very insulting to nurses. They have a completely different role to us and people applying to nursing usually have a seperate set of skills to those applying to Medicine. I for one will know that I can never be a nurse, or do their job.

(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
I don't know. I'm not smart enough.
That's not true! :hugs:
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Themysticalegg
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Has there been any particularly memorable moments (good/bad) whilst you've been on the job?
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Charlotte's Web
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(Original post by ecolier)
This is very insulting to nurses. They have a completely different role to us and people applying to nursing usually have a seperate set of skills to those applying to Medicine. I for one will know that I can never be a nurse, or do their job.



That's not true! :hugs:
Not to worry, I was just being facetious!


(Original post by Themysticalegg)
Has there been any particularly memorable moments (good/bad) whilst you've been on the job?
One of the highlights was definitely going abroad to a meeting in Milan earlier this year. When we go to these meetings we get to see staff from the rest of the UK sites who we don't often see and we really have a great time whenever we meet up. Because we are outside a work setting everyone is a lot more relaxed which is nice! Obviously a lot of the day is spent in meetings, but we always find time for dinner and (quite a few) drinks. Myself and one of the research physicians used a few free hours to go into the centre of Milan and see the Last Supper painting - it was amazing and totally spontaneous, and something I would never have done on my own.
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Future Physics
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Have you published many research papers? If so, how did you shape your mindset to be research orientated?
(Original post by Charlotte's Web)
For background info, I've been working as a Clinical Research Nurse for a little over two years now. I work within the pharmaceutical industry carrying out clinical trials and my role is 100% patient facing.

Ask me anything to do with nursing, clinical trials, drug development or anything else you'd like to know
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