Medical research assistants generally work underneath principal researchers or investigators. They often work on teams of researchers and assistants who are learning more about a topic or intending to prove a hypothesis, and may be responsible for gathering data from various sources. Data entry of gathered information is usually performed by the assistant, so it is important to have strong computer, typing, and ten-key skills and experience with database and spreadsheet software. Record-keeping and filing skills are also important, as the research assistant must keep comprehensive files and reports.
It is important that medical research assistants keep their files in a meticulous manner, and some may even quality-check the data of other staff members. In some cases, they will assist with simple data analysis; when research involves human patients, they may be in charge of outreach to patients and scheduling them for evaluations. They may also be expected to gather any materials needed for the research, which often includes keeping inventory and ordering supplies when they are low.
Some medical research assistant positions are open to college students, while others require a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience. Much of the work is done independently, so it is important to be self-driven and a good problem-solver. There may occasionally be be time-constraints which must be met, and strong communication skills, both oral and written, are important in order to work well with with other researchers and outside parties.
Research Assistant, Medical Tasks
May obtain informed consent of research subjects or their guardians.
Verify the accuracy and validity of data entered in databases.
Provide assistance with the preparation of project-related reports, manuscripts, and presentations.
Prepare, manipulate, and manage extensive databases.