Maike, 32, and Nadja, 32, work as Clinical Research Associates (CRA) in medical research. They discuss what makes this job unique and why they enjoy working as CRAs.
Maike, how did your day start today?
Maike: I returned from Oslo last night, where I visited one of our trial sites. As a Clinical Research Associate (CRA), our main task is to monitor clinical trials to ensure that all relevant regulations and protocols are followed. This involves a lot of traveling around Europe. This morning, however, I’m enjoying the peace in my office in Berlin and wrapping up the tasks of the Oslo trip.
What does a typical working day look like for you, Nadja?
Nadja: A typical working day as a CRA involves a lot of communication and coordination tasks. We monitor progress at the study sites, check the study documentation, and are available to the investigators and study nurses as a point of contact. We also conduct regular site visits to ensure that study protocols are being followed correctly and data is being recorded properly. My work helps to ensure that the data collected is of the desired quality.
What challenges do you face in your job?
Maike: One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that everyone involved understands and complies with the applicable regulations. Dealing with unforeseen events is also a challenge. There can always be unexpected problems, such as technical difficulties or delays in recruiting patients, that affect the schedule or increase the budget. In such situations, flexibility is required, and we must be able to react quickly. Despite these challenges, working in a clinical research team is extremely rewarding. We have the opportunity to participate in important medical developments and contribute to bringing new treatments to the market. And ultimately, we know that if our work helps to save lives or improve people’s quality of life, every effort has been worthwhile.
We also play an essential role in reviewing trial documentation. We ensure that all adverse events and reactions have been properly documented and reported to the study. Through these reviews, we ensure that all relevant information is recorded and meets the required standards. In addition, we check that the safety of study participants is guaranteed.
In addition, we also review the study documentation.
What qualifications should you bring with you as a CRA?
Nadja: Besides a degree in the natural sciences or equivalent training, the job requires good communication skills and a good sense for people to maintain a positive working relationship. It is also challenging to keep track of all study details and data, especially in complex studies. We have to ensure that all data is recorded and documented correctly so that the study results are meaningful and can be used for future research.
Maike: Before I started at SCIRENT as a CRA, I did a Master’s degree in molecular medicine and then a PhD. I really like the job because it is very varied. It is also very important to me that I do something meaningful in my job that positively impacts the world.