Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Introducing the wonderful SITU Clinical Trial Managers: Stephen Jones (MACRO Trial Manager), Amy Jones (FUTURE GB Trial Manager), Lisa Poulton (PASHiOn Trial Manager), Ivy Raymundo (ORiF Trial Manager), Molly Glaze (NEON Trial Manager), Jo Cook (ARTTROMBONE & PENTAGONS Clinical Research Coordinator/ Interim ProMOTE Trial Manager). 

We asked Stephen...

What is it like being a trial manager during Covid-19?

It's like having the best excuse ever for not hitting predicted targets! It's a completely unprecedented situation that has probably impacted on all clinical trials, the scope of it may never be repeated. Although not being guided by monthly recruitment rates, the team have been able to focus on a lot of other 'behind the scenes' administrative tasks. Hopefully this will ensure the trial continues to run efficiently when we do reopen recruitment. I do miss the atmosphere of working in the office, but feel that the team and I are functioning well remotely.

WHAT WAS YOUR PATHWAY INTO CLINICAL TRIALS AND HOW DID YOUR PATHWAY LEAD TO YOUR ROLE AS A TRIAL MANAGER IN SITU?

It certainly wasn't premeditated. I graduated with a Media Production degree and then meandered between creative projects and Mcjobs during my twenties. If I had any intent, it was to work towards something that was for the greater good and not be involved in sales. In my early thirties, I took a part-time administrative role working for the Nuffield Division of Anaesthetics and, without any obvious ambition, progressed to trial manager via NPEU, OCTO, and now SITU.

Two random facts about steve:

  1. I wrote the script for a short film called 'Tenants', a fictional account about a group of Squatters, that was shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
  2. I was at school with Britpop rockers, Supergrass. Their breakthrough hit 'Caught by the Fuzz' encapsulated every Friday night out in Wheatley, the village where we went to school.

 

WE ASKED AMY...

WHAT WAS YOUR PATHWAY INTO CLINICAL TRIALS AND HOW DID YOUR PATHWAY LEAD TO YOUR ROLE AS A TRIAL MANAGER IN SITU?

I was a research assistant on various behavioural research studies since I graduated university, working in that area for 12 years and getting my Masters in that time. This role taught me a lot about juggling conflicting priorities and work/life balance!

I sidestepped away from pre-clinical research after realising I needed a change and something else to tax my brain cells. So took a post in NDS working on a large observational cohort study at the John Radcliffe – this was mix of lab duties, patient facing work and trial administration. As that study drew to a close I felt like I wanted to take on a clinical trial, applying all my transferable skills from the previous roles into actual clinical research on a wider level, and here I am!

It’s been a roundabout path, but all of the bumps and hurdles on the way have taught me that my skills lie in organisation and managing large projects. Plus having worked in both labs, directly with patients and within the NHS means I have an understanding of how a lot of these nuanced systems function, all helpful when you’re getting sites set up or trying to help them with issues!

What is your current working routine?

I am up at 8am, I do a little yoga in the lounge to stretch out, then commute all of 2 metres to my desk, log in and then make the first coffee of the day while things connect. First thing I normally check, flag and file emails for the day and make a little to do list of what I need completed today. I spend a few hours answering emails and cross checking documents, punctuated by several more coffees and breakfast. Lunch is normally just a get up and stretch away from my desk, depending if I decided I’d rather have an extra 30mins in bed that day, I’ll do my morning yoga instead! Working from home doesn’t make getting out of your bed THAT much easier for me! Afternoons are also a lot of email responses – I’m in the process of closing 2 trials, so I’m spending most of my time arranging things with sites and collating documents for them. I have some weekly meetings which are always a nice break from typing and I get to see familiar faces. I try to finish about 5 and go for a walk to separate my day, but often can work a bit longer, especially if I’m determined to get an item ticked off my to-do list.

 

We asked Lisa...

What was your pathway into Clinical Trials and how did your pathway lead to your role as a Trial Manager in SITU?

I studied Psychology at the University of Leeds. My first job after Uni was as a support worker for adults with autism and with this organisation I was training to become a Clinical Psychologist. Care work was very rewarding but at times very challenging. I have a lot of admiration for people that continue in this profession and I would definitely recommend voluntary work to support vulnerable people if you can, as it has definitely shaped who I am as a person. However…long story short, I realised Clinical Psychology wasn’t the right career path for me. The Psychologist I was shadowing was most likely very relieved that I made this decision, as I would often get the giggles at the most inappropriate times and on a few occasions had to be told to step outside to compose myself! Thankfully now I am the picture of professionalism.

My route to Clinical Trials was as simple as seeing a job advert to be a Data Support Clerk at Warwick CTU and being intrigued enough to apply. I then progressed as a Clinical Trial Administrator at OCTO before applying for a Trial Co-ordinator role and then Trial Manager role here at SITU, and I have never looked back!

If not a Trial Manager, what would your dream job be?

If I wasn’t a Trial Manager, I would probably be a world famous singer!

 

We asked Ivy...

What is it like being a trial manager during Covid-19?

Navigating a recruiting trial through COVID-19 has very much been unchartered waters. Despite my study being paused to recruitment, there have been plenty of other things to keep me occupied such as three trial committee meetings, central monitoring activities and amendment preparations.  Also, like a lot of other people in this situation, I have been using this time to catch up on work that has been on my to do list for far too long…

I have also been keeping up to date with guidance from the funder, Sponsor and other external collaborators such as the Clinical Research Network (CRN), as well as ensuring I stay in touch with our study sites. Doing this will hopefully ensure that once we are in a position to re-open to recruitment, this can be done efficiently, safely and in compliance with all requirements/guidance.  

What’s the best advice you can give to someone who just started their career in clinical trials? 

There are so many career routes you can take in clinical trials, whether it’s trial management; data management; monitoring; quality assurance etc. My advice would be: don’t rule out any of these roles  early on – try and get involved in as many aspects of trials as you can! There is a lot to learn (a never-ending list of acronyms is one of them!) and a lot of expertise to draw upon. Take the time to find out what you enjoy (and what you don’t!) and make the most of all training opportunities and mentoring available to you.

Two random facts about Ivy:

  1. Although I am by no means X Factor material, I love karaoke! Sadly, my hen do had to be cancelled (thanks COVID-19!) and karaoke (accompanied by plenty of cocktails) was my activity of choice.
  2. I am extremely competitive at Scrabble. There have been a fair few games during lockdown, much to my fiancé’s dismay, who is not as much of a fan - probably because I remain undefeated...     

 

We asked Molly...

What was your pathway into Clinical Trials and how did your pathway lead to your role as a Trial Manager in SITU?

I enjoyed my science degree and wanted to stay in research, but wasn’t convinced by a career in a lab. Clinical trials seemed like it would fit this niche, and I’ve progressed from my first job as a trials assistant.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your role as a trial manager?

There a couple of fans of call the midwife in SITU. In a recent series one of the characters stated that “orderly paperwork is the cornerstone of medical advancement.” I felt very seen and a little inspired!

WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR ROLE?

  • Favourite: I enjoy writing the protocol and the data collection forms for a study. You get to take a grant application and ideas from lots of stakeholders and map out how the study is actually going to work. It is satisfying to go from concepts to a concrete plan.
  • Least Favourite: I really do not enjoy nagging clinicians for important paperwork that they see as irrelevant!

If not a Trial Manager, what would you dream job be?

This is a terrible answer, but I really like the idea of something to do with recycling! Maybe designing new materials or processes to make it easier and more sustainable. Clearly I have a leaning towards practical applications of science.

 

We asked Jo...

What is your role as a Clinical Research Coordinator and as interim Trial Manager?

When I applied for the job advertised in SITU, it was as the ‘Clinical Research Coordinator’ - essentially supporting the Operational Lead - being the first person contact and welcoming visitors to SITU; as well as running a couple of small feasibility studies. The role was initially set up when SITU first started and as SITU grew and changed - so did my role and responsibilities. As more trials come on board they are allocated around my working hours. PENTAGONS is actually a small trial rather than a feasibility and one I am in preliminary. Talks with funding (ART) is nearly a full time role with over 3,000 patients (UK & International). As I was the research nurse for the Oxford centre they’ve asked me if I would be able to work on this in some capacity if it’s funded. If my trials workload reduces I have asked if I could spend some time working with our Development Lead, Lucy Davies, on the Trial Development side of things and grant applications.

My role is very fluid within SITU as it can change dependant on the situation and needs of the department. I’m a Trial Manager one day, and a Clinical Research Coordinator the next. Who knows what will happen as SITU grows and expands further!

TWO RANDOM FACTS ABOUT JO:

  1. If I had really put my mind to it, I would have loved to have been a singer in a band. In my 20’s I had a friend who had a band and I sang at a couple of gigs (in the loosest sense possible) with them. They performed at our wedding and I sang there too! When we were then on our honeymoon I sang with the band most nights (only 1 or two songs) but it got to the point where we had to sit at the back so they wouldn’t see me! I have video evidence which I may be brave enough to show one day....! So my hubby tries to avoid anywhere with karaoke now although my pipes aren’t what they used to be!
  2. I also thought about teaching but if the current home schooling situation with my 14 year old is anything to go by, I would have to say I would have massively failed!