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Career Advice From Clinical Research Pros

November 23rd, 2020

In an industry with many roles, seek out the one you love, the one where your passion lies.

career steps

That's good job advice for all seasons and all professions, but in this it refers to finding your niche in clinical research.

It's among a wealth of career advice from industry veterans, published in two parts this month on the ACRP’s Clinical Researcher site. These professionals describe their own career journey, offering up anecdotes and advice for both those new to the field and those looking to take the next rung on the ladder.

In part one, trustees and Fellows of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals share such career counsel as saying “YES! Yes to every opportunity afforded you. The more experience gained, the more useful it will be in your future.”

Sergio Armani, vice president for business development, North America, with Advarra and a trustee of the Academy of Clinical Research Professionals, echoes that advice. He entered the field after 22 years in financial services, so, he said, he had to “keep an open mind, raise my hand to volunteer for as many assignments as I could handle and be willing to learn as much as I can.”

Similarly, Elisa Cascade, MBA, executive vice president with ERT and an academy trustee, advised, “When an opportunity to work on a special assignment arises, take it. In addition to expanding your skill set you will gain visibility to a broader network of people, which in turn may open the door to new career options.”

Part two participants answered a call for veterans to provide career advice, with several describing their own experience explaining honestly and in detail how they came to the job they now have.

Laura Menck admits falling into clinical research, beginning as a back office medical assistant at a practice that did studies to today holding the position of senior manager of clinical operations at Philips.

“Twenty years in and I could not be more proud and happy that I found such a rewarding career!” she says, before providing a series of bullet-pointed suggestions for those looking to enter the field, move between roles or advance in their chosen niche.

Learn about various roles, earn an advanced degree and network, she says. And like the thought leaders in part one, she adds, “Take on stretch goals and assignments.

“Ask your manager if he or she has some task they have just not gotten to yet that you can help with. Yes, you are probably already drowning in your own work, but if you can make time, this can give you an opportunity to demonstrate what you can do outside your usual tasks.”

Passion, too, is important. Says Christine Senn, PhD, chief implementation and operations officer with IACT Health and a trustee of the ACRP, “What I would advise people new to the field is to discuss their strengths and the activities that give them passion with someone else in the field to see what the best fit might be.”

Writing her advice in verse, Joy Jurnack, research program director, Innovo Research and an Academy member, concludes the two parts of the career advice with this:

“Write blogs, publish papers, give lectures galore,

Collaborate with work mates, join committees, share your knowledge some more;

Don’t keep it to yourself, share your newfound smarts with all,

And volunteer! Volunteer! Volunteer cause it’s a ball.”

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