What is a Clinical Research Coordinator?

Also known as: Clinical Trial Conductor, Clinical Research Administrator, Clinical Program Coordinator, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Program Manager, Clinical Research Manager.

Clinical research coordinators conduct clinical trials in the medical world. They are responsible for ensuring these trials are conducted in an ethical manner, using what is referred to as good clinical practice.

These coordinators are the organizers in the research lab. They enable quality clinical trials to be completed with comfortable subjects, organized information, and accurate reports. Coordinators make it possible for great strides to be made in the medical world by providing accurate proof of medical advances found in clinical trials in all areas from basic preventive care to curing diseases, and everything in between.

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What does a Clinical Research Coordinator do?

Clinical research coordinators make sure that all members of the research team are in compliance with rules and regulations that must be followed during the process of conducting a clinical trial, including informed consent. They must also ensure that the materials and supplies used in the trial are kept safely before and during the trial, as well as all documents recorded during the trial period. Clinical research coordinators work with the companies funding the clinical trials to set a budget for the research. They also recruit patients and subjects, maintain a high level of patient care, and submit findings to the company or organization once the study is finished.

Clinical research coordinators are the supervisors involved in all successful drug trials and medical research. Coordinators must gather patients for medical and drug trials by recruiting them and screening them to be sure they fit the guidelines of the trial. Coordinators are responsible for ensuring the trial meets all regulations including those regarding safety, government rules and regulations, and company or hospital ethics. The patients are kept track of by the coordinator in terms of health and progress, and the results are reported to the company. Coordinators may need to find funding for their research, whether through private funds or grants.

These professionals have to not only apply for and attain the grants and funding for the research; they must also figure out an amount for the funding they require. Cost analysis is a large part of this job, as the coordinator must put together a budget that includes how much the research will cost, as well as payroll, travel (for both professionals and subjects), supplies, technology (including internet, fax, and telephone costs), pharmacy costs, and other costs that will affect the budget of the trial.

In order to find subjects for the trials, clinical research coordinators must decide if there are enough willing participants that fit the description of patients necessary for the trials. Once this has been determined, the coordinators agree to take on the project and hire their research team. The coordinator is responsible for overseeing the work of their team during the entire trial process.

Clinical research coordinators must also keep a careful eye on subject care. Patients that participate in clinical trials must be given excellent medical care and evaluation to identify any adverse effects clinical trial treatments may have on their person.

How to become a Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical research coordinators should be individuals with strong attention to detail and a strong background in science and mathematics. Good organizational skills are a must in this field, as are honesty, integrity, and compassion. Clinical research coordinators must have the drive to make a difference in the world of science and medicine. They must be able to work as a member of a team with good communication skills and the drive to succeed.

Those who wish to be clinical research coordinators should have a foundational science background, such as chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, clinical research pharmacology, clinical research management, biomedical ethics, or health psychology. These classes are integrated into a Bachelor’s of Science in Clinical Research. This particular bachelor’s program teaches students not only the foundations of science and medicine; it also teaches how to perform accurate and organized clinical tests. Learning how to follow safety protocol in a lab as well as how to properly document findings are also key elements to the job taught in a clinical research degree program.

Many four-year universities offer programs in clinical research. Most students who want to go down this path must take core classes in science, humanities, and math before they can declare clinical research as their major.

After earning at least a bachelor’s degree in clinical research, many students will need to take the Clinical Research Professionals examination to achieve certification as clinical research coordinators. These exams are taken after a vocational course in clinical research is completed. The certification program is made up of 8 to 12 different courses that provide expertise in many different research areas including regulations, lab skills, coordination, management, communication, analysis, and pharmacology.


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