Clinical research assistants support research - generally involving human subjects - in clinical settings. They may use a wide variety of laboratory and medical equipment depending on the nature of the studies on which they work. These assistants may be involved in administering treatments during a study, conducting interviews or follow-up surveys with participants, or analyzing results and data. Some clinical research assistants may deal primarily with administrative duties such as administering and tabulating the results of surveys, while others may perform laboratory tests on samples and specimens.
Clinical research assistants generally work under the supervision of researchers, who may be physicians or medical or social scientists. They often work with laboratory technicians, nurses, and physicians not directly involved in their study. In many cases, they also interact with study subjects, who are typically members of the general public.
The hours and shifts of a clinical research assistant may vary widely, depending on the type of research they are involved with. Some clinical research assistants work eight-hour shifts, but they may work a variety of other schedules. In some cases, longer shifts may be required or workers may need to work at night or on weekends.
Clinical research assistants typically hold at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as biology, chemistry, or psychology. In some cases, licensure as a registered nurse may be required; other positions may require a master's degree in an appropriate technical field. In some large-scale studies, clinical research assistant can be a post-doctoral position, requiring a Ph.D. in a technical or social science field related to the research being conducted.
Clinical Research Assistant Tasks
- Write, update, and maintain study documentation and reports.
- Enter and verify data, including adverse events and patient compliance, to create reports.
- Process, document, and analyze results of laboratory tests or experiments.
- Support clinical research, including recruitment, scheduling, patient care, and transportation.
- Set up and maintain experimental or clinical equipment.