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About statistician , Jamie stokes...

I work in the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU) as a medical statistician. Whilst I work on various projects, ranging from systematic reviews to network meta analyses, I spend most of my time focusing on clinical trials as a trial statistician. This means that my job is to make sure we are collecting the right data to answer the trial questions and to analyse that data to ensure we make accurate conclusions from our findings. Fun fact – at the weekend, I enjoy exploring the rivers in and around Oxford in my kayak!

What trials am I working on and what do I do on a day-to-day basis?

I am currently working on five trials with SITU; these are NINJA, STIFF-F, SPINOUT-F, ORiF and ACL SNNAP. These trials investigate everything from patients with nail bed injuries to those suffering multiple rib fractures, so I always have something very different to occupy myself with!

What I do on an everyday basis really depends on what stage each of my trials are at. If a trial is in the process of being set up, then I might be checking all of the case report forms to make sure we’re collecting all the necessary data (and not collecting too much!), or I could be producing a random list to ensure all of our participants are randomly allocated to the trial treatments to minimise any bias. This stage of the trial is super important – we can’t answer the trial questions if we forget to collect the primary outcome!

If a trial is in the process of recruiting participants, then I could be preparing a report to the trial’s Data Safety & Monitoring Committee (DSMC) or just helping out with the every day queries that inevitably come up in trials.

Towards the end of a trial, my role is to collate all the data we collect over the course of the trial and analyse it to answer the trial questions. This is a really big job and can take several weeks, depending on the size of the trial. The analysis stage consists of writing a huge amount of statistical programming to prepare the data, perform the analysis and translate the analysis into interpretable results. Again, this part of my role is crucial – we can collect all the data we want, but if no one can understand the results that comes out of it then I’m not doing my job right!

What do I like about working with the SITU team?

The SITU team are excellent! All the trial managers I work with are brilliant at what they do, and they make my job so much easier. Before we all started from working from home, I’d often go up to the area where the whole SITU team sat and go around talking to my trial managers to ask if there was anything I needed to do, or if there was any updates on the trial. I’d say this is definitely one of the things I miss the most about being in the office – the SITU team are all great people to work with, but they’re also just lovely folks all around.