Degree subject BSc Pharmacology, UCD (2006)
Job title Clinical Data Coordinator
I work in the data management department of a clinical research organisation and my role is to help organise and manage clinical trials on behalf of pharmaceutical companies. Day-to-day I collect and process data provided by the hospitals conducting the trials. The data is collected in the form of completed case report forms that present patient details, medical histories, and other data. This data is then processed so that it is available in a ‘clean’ (understandable) format ready for statistical analysis.
I first became aware of my employer during my studies and knew people who worked there. So, when I found a vacancy on the website I decided to send in my CV and a covering letter. I then had an initial telephone interview, which was followed soon after by a face-to-face interview with several managers – I appreciated the quick turnaround which lessened the wait! During the interview process I was given a lot of information about what the job would entail to ensure that I was not expecting to work in the lab and that I was suited to the computer-based role. I also had to complete a written examination, which again was aimed at testing my aptitude for the role. All in all, the process was very informative and geared at making sure that I was suited to the company and vice versa.
When I first started, I had comprehensive training to make sure that I was well prepared for my first few months in the job. Lots of graduates joined the company at the same time as part of its two-year graduate programme, so the atmosphere was really supportive and helped me to make friends straight away. CROs are getting bigger and bigger as more pharmaceutical companies are inclined to outsource clinical trials, so there are great opportunities for graduates and for rapid promotions. In a few years’ time, I’d like to be in a managerial position.
Tips for graduates
I’d definitely recommend that students consider the option of a structured graduate scheme. I’ve really enjoyed the process and found that it helped me ease into a working lifestyle. Interviews can be scary, but remember that you’re there because the interviewers wanted to meet you.