“Using a sports metaphor, clinical research work reminds of my time playing basketball in college,” said Julia. “We have to practice and participate as a team. Even though everyone has a different position, we are all motivated by the same goal: to win the game.”
Julia sees the “wins” in clinical research with every interaction she has with her colleagues at Covance, with the sponsor and at the research sites.
“In my earlier clinical research career, I worked in a hospital research site and I understand the working environment and how to interact with physicians,” she explained. “As CRAs, we are someone from ‘the outside’ who is evaluating a site and its processes. That’s why I believe CRAs must work to develop trust with their sites and emphasize that we are all working together. This helps create a collaborative relationship.”
Welcoming new challenges
Julia moved into clinical research after working as a laboratory technician and making use of her degrees in medical biology and neuroscience. With experience gained in a study coordinator role and a certification program in clinical research, she made the transition to become a CRA and site monitor.
“I learned about different areas of oncology and took on challenging tasks like adaptive risk-based monitoring and management of key risk indicators at each site,” she said. “But I joined Covance because I wanted to improve my knowledge,” said Julia. “Although I had already learned a lot, I hoped to expand my experience into new fields.”
Now, Julia is working on trials with ophthalmology, medical devices and gastroenterology. “At first, it was very challenging to learn about these new fields,” she said, “but this experience is also what keeps me motivated and passionate about my work.”
The importance of training
To address the challenges associated with expanding her knowledge, Julia stresses the importance of training.
“CRAs need to be prepared and ready to handle any issue or urgent situation,” she explained. “When I first arrived at Covance, I was completely supported by my co-workers to get the information I needed. Now, I’m able to serve as mentor for our new hires and can help them. I hope to continue to build my leadership skills and become a manager in a few years.”
Improving patients' quality of life
Staying active is still a big part of Julia’s life outside of work as she attends CrossFit®, enters running races and plays soccer. She uses these experiences as inspiration for her current work as a CRA.
“As you know in sports, you can’t score by yourself. You need the team to win ‘the battle,’ which, in the clinical research field, means improving our patients’ quality of life.”
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