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Case study: Q&A: Fran Terry- Clinical Trials Assistant at CRN Wessex

An interview with Fran Terry, CRN Wessex Clinical Trials Assistant about her first role in research and what she's enjoying most so far.

The new Direct Delivery Team (DDT) at the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex will play a pivotal role in facilitating research in Dorset, Hampshire, South Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.

In this Q&A, we speak to Fran Terry, CRN Wessex Clinical Trials Assistant (CTA), about her experience of working in the DDT and what she's enjoying most about her role.

When did you join the CRN Wessex Direct Delivery team?

I started at the end of October 2021.

How are you settling in?

The Direct Delivery Team (DDT) are a great team and I’ve settled in well. The team is still expanding within the wider Wessex CRN team who have all been really welcoming too.

Please tell us a little bit about your role within the team. What does it involve on a day to day basis? Can you provide some examples of activities you have been involved in so far?

My role as a Clinical Trials Assistant involves helping set up and run studies which have mostly been COVID-19 Vaccine Research studies so far at the Portsmouth Research Hub. I’m involved with all areas of the study from preparation to welcoming and symptom checking participants, and conducting study visit which involves performing clinical observations, venesection and quality control checking of data.

Is this your first role within research? If so, what inspired you to get into research? 

This is my first role within research. Before this I primarily worked in administration for the national governing body of Sailing and in Veterinary Practice. I wanted a new challenge and the positive impact of research on the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how prevalent and exciting clinical research is!

What have you found most rewarding, enjoyable or interesting about your role so far?

I am surrounded by friendly, supportive and enthusiastic colleagues who bring a wealth of research knowledge. I really enjoy being involved in the development and unprecedented roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine programme- it is an amazing time to be involved in research and be able to help give something back which is really rewarding.

Tell us about a time a participant or member of the research team has made you feel inspired or proud to work in research.

A time a patient thanked me for taking time to explain the study clearly and answer all their questions to help them make an informed decision if the study was for them.

Receiving feedback from my colleagues that I make other supporting/new colleagues and patients feel very welcome when arriving at the vaccine research hub.

What have you found challenging about your role so far?

There is a lot to learn within clinical research! I’ve been well supported and the whole team are enthusiastic about facilitating learning opportunities and everything being interesting!

How would you describe the role of the Direct Delivery Team?

To help support the delivery of research in primary care and the community as well as helping support the research vaccine hubs across CRN Wessex.

How do you think the Direct Delivery Team will benefit/enhance health and social care research in the Wessex region?

That we can help take research to the wider community and especially in more under-served communities.

What are you most looking forward to career wise in the next six months?

Gaining more research skills such as receiving valid informed consent. I’m also looking forward to studies that bring in wider patient populations such as social care.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about you?

I enjoy spending time with friends and family, going for walks and to the theatre and live music.