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Case study: A springboard to success - experience of a Clinical Research Intern

The role of a Clinical Research Intern - and where it can lead

I graduated in Medical and Pharmacological sciences, and finished my degree with an interest in drug research and clinical trials. Before starting this internship, I worked in various pathology labs within the NHS. However, I wanted to start in a role where I was directly involved in the research delivery process, which is why this internship interested me. 

I was based in the cardiology team, more specifically within stroke research, where I was involved in the delivery process of multiple studies. This included both administrative work and also getting some exposure to the patient side of the role. Screening patients, discussing potential recruits with the Consultant, alongside analysing medical notes and various scans was one of my favourite parts of the internship. I also went onto wards and into clinics, where I saw patients being given information and consented onto trials.

Shadowing in different areas of the hospital, such as pharmacy to get an insight to how clinical trial drugs are prepared, has also been a great opportunity. I worked with a variety of people, such as Principal Investigators, research nurses and clinical trial assistants. One of the people that I worked closely with was a clinical research practitioner, who showed me a lot about the role and has really helped to develop my skills. 

This internship has allowed me to see the possible roles in research and the areas which I would like to explore. I did come into this wanting to have a career in clinical trials, with a focus in the drug research industry. However, I have been thinking about other options, such as completing a masters or even postgraduate medicine, as seeing the Consultant's role was really interesting. I enjoyed the experience and making use of every opportunity, so I will definitely keep research as a focus in my career. 

Following the CRN Internship I applied and was successful in gaining a Research Project Officer role in the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust Research and Development Innovation team, and the job is going really well!