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Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!
Author:  Jean-Christophe
Date:  08-27-10 08:29am
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I've been a Field Monitor for 6+ yrs. and 5 yrs. as a Compliance Auditor. I have worked for both CROs (OmniCare, MDS Pharma) and biotech/pharma (AB Science Laboratoire, S.A., OctaPharma, Baxter). Finally, I am going back to the laboratory setting with my CLS (Clinical Laboratory Scientist) License-State of CA and work for the UC System. My shift will be from 7:00-3:30 PM, hourly pay, unionized and 3 wks. vacation for the 1st year. I can now go home and hit the gym and spend more time with my family and friends and no more working long hours on the weekends. And guess what? NO TRAVEL!!! NO MORE writing tedious monitoring reports. NO MORE constant updates to TraskWise/MediDATA databases. NO MORE doing tedious SDV with RECIST trials.

In my own personal opinion, a CRA job is way overrated and turnover is atrocious in the industry as many pharma/biotech do not have adequate training programs.

For Newbies that are in College right now I would advise for them to stick with Allied Health careers: Nursing, Pharmacy, Med Technology, Radiologic Tech, etc., as the demand is very high and salary is very good. For a licensed Medical Technologist with a CLS License, the starting salary is 31.94/hr. right out of college.

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  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 27, 2018, 07:05PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   After nearly 5 years in clinical research, and a full 3 years as an traveling CRA at 3 major CROs, I've finally called it quits. Here are my reasons:

-You will eventually realize as a CRA that your job is not necessarily about quality of the data or safeguarding subject safety, but rather a means of generating 'billable hours' for the CRO. Lots of bureaucracy in corporate...
-You will not always be welcomed with open arms during your onsite visits as a CRA. Despite your best efforts at maintaining excellent business relationships, many coordinators and PIs will treat you much like an auditor. My experience is the even the friendliest coordinators will at best keep you at a distance. The 'us vs. them' mentality is very real, and there have even been company-wide conference calls to address this issue among CRAs. Power struggles are very real as a CRA, onsite or at your home office.
-Along those lines your toxic site staff can drain you of your energy and make you dread doing your job/speaking up/reporting issues. You absolutely need to maintain personal boundaries and be psychologically strong to successfully make it long-term as a CRA.
-Leadership & management is an issue in this industry at the CRO level. I've quickly found that most clinical study managers are inexperienced, make poor decisions, and/or should simply not be managing other people.
-Home office environment-this is a much better arrangement than an open office, where I personally will not work, but it does get quite lonely at times.
-You will likely tire of the travel quickly -this is not as glorious as some make it out to be. At the very least it will probably get old and you will long for an office/home office job after a few years.
-Lastly, the job simply does not speak to me any more, and I have personally lost almost all passion for the job that I had when I went into it 3 years ago. 3-5 years is, not coincidentally, the average time that a CRO-employed CRA remains on the road before moving onto something else.

Keep in mind, all major CROs seem to always looking for CRAs. For current traveling CRAs or CRA hopefuls reading this post, I hope that the reasons I gave will give you the insight you need to look for alternative career options.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 05, 2017, 09:22AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   I'm glad this 6 year old topic was refreshed, I've been trying to advance from clinical research to management consulting for the last several years, with no luck. I didn't have an allied health background from before becoming a CRA, then a line manager, & I don't have interest in becoming a healthcare provider. I was fortunate enough to follow the path from CRA to CRO management, however has anyone succeeded in moving beyond the CRO/pharma arena in general?
  Author: anonymous Aug 25, 2017, 10:59AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   I got burned out from the travel, mirco managing, and being asked to do tasks that were border line a conflict of interest and possible illegal. 16 years and the managers treat you like a piece of garbage. You have to be in the right "circle" of in-crowd to get ahead. The level o knowledge and experience of managers, lead CRA's are being "dumbed down". I am getting back to the nursing side of my career. Just can't take the travel and the stress. The money is not worth the risks to your health.
It takes some work to get back to nursing just like it did to get into the CRA work.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 24, 2017, 09:25AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Hello I have just seen this and I have worked 6 years in Latin America and was great, then 4 years in the US and I am burned out to the bone. The travel is inhumane.
I am an RN, please tell me how hard is to back to nursing after being a CRA for 10 years.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Feb 18, 2011, 01:09PM
    getting back in   Log In to Report Post
   Getting away sounds good but what if one wants to return to the industry after about 2 years. Could the returning transition but me back were I left off 2 yrs ago?

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  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Nov 11, 2010, 12:51AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   In 10 yrs of monitoring it would be a lie to say that there werent't some times like this. But in general that is not how it is for me. Different people work differently and have different experiences. Here would be a typical week for me:

Pack my bags Sunday night, prep 30-45 minutes for the visit, print boarding pass. Up at 5:15 Monday morning, drive to airport, fly 2 hours, pick up car, get to site and monitor all day. Back to hotel check emails for 20 minutes eat and go to bed. Repeat Tues and Wed. Fly home Wednesday night, work on report on Thursday, done working by 2PM. Work on admin tasks Friday, done by noon.

Yes, these are two very different pictures. And no, I did not slack. I have consistently been recommended, recruited, and paid top dollar for my services, providing enthusiastic, knowledgeable, detail-oriented, right-first-time level work consistently and long-term. Why? Time management, prioritization, discipline, efficiency, and ability to differente between what the "important" stuff is versus the "noise". And while Im being conceited here, let's just add in that brains and good looks never hurt anything either. *smile*
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 10, 2010, 08:53AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Actually, I've really enjoyed working (as a contractor) for the CROs I've worked for. They all treated me humanely, didn't have unrealistic expectations, and took the heat from the sponsor instead of rolling it downhill to the CRAs. Also, they understand the client-contractor relationship.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 09, 2010, 11:51AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   CROs work you to the bone. Doens't matter which one you pick.
  Author: Dear Jean Sep 08, 2010, 10:17PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Totally, and driving and working on that little sleep is scarey!
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 08, 2010, 10:04PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Sep 7, 9:43 I second the person asking what CRO you work for. Also, would you be willing to say how many years of experience you have?

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  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 08, 2010, 09:51AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   to Sep 07, 2010, 09:43PM

can you say where you work?
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 01, 2010, 07:26PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   You forgot the five reports you got back because 1) the lead is behind so gets you reports in batches and 2) doesn't like how you worded two lines.
  Author: Out of work CRA Sep 19, 2010, 12:17PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Well said. When there aren't enough CRAs on a study and doing the work, the quality of the CRA's work diminishes. So when many mistakes are made, pharma and biotech companies are reluctant to do repeat business with those CROs. The way CROs are doing business now is a lose, lose situation.
  Author: TC in NewYork Sep 18, 2010, 10:39AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Sorry to hear that Clinical Research Associates are becoming as over-worked as everyone else. It's a mystery why the industry does not want to let newly-minted CRAs into the indsutry; thie should alleviate some of the pressure on CROs and monitors.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Sep 07, 2010, 09:43PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Hmm.. Well I can say I have worked the long hours for a CRO company but found there are other CRO companies where your Sr. CRA status means more site management working form home and way less travel. You may not me 65 an hour but 55 an hour on salary for 40 hour weeks and four days of travel a month is well worth it. I don't even use my vacation time which is a generous 4 weeks a year. I was working from Manchester England for three weeks this Summer working from a home base I had rented out there. Came back to America when my next site visit was needed. I do all my scheduling of monitoring visits, have a corporate credit card for all expenses and the expensing is all done through email. I scan my receipts and that is. Reimbursed the next week to pay off the corporate card.

Plus, I have great health insurance, wonderful match of 100 percent up to seven percent of my salary a year.

So for those out there who are in the contract positions, it isn't worth the stress if you can get on with a great CRO that is salaried and caps your hours to forty every week with little travel. 100k may be less than 130k a year, but for the quality of life, i highly recommend it.

Of course, having the several years of experience is important to land a job like this. But if you have paid your dues, stop paying and take your years of experience to a CRO that appreciates your knowledge and ability to site manage with fewer trips monitoring every month.

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  Author: Jean-Christophe Sep 01, 2010, 09:36AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Hello again - - - Im not trying to discourage others who might want to try out working as a CRA. The pay was very good and even more if one has experience with Solid Tumor monitoring.

Let me give you some highlights of a Field CRAs daily routine:

Prior to companies utilizing CTMS Systems, I had to complete my expense reports manually - - that is, pasting original, credit card receipts onto an 8 x 11 then entering into an excel template and ensuring the numbers add up. I remember staying up until 1 or 2 AM completing these. And then I had to be up at 6 AM for a 1-hr telecon because I was on the west coast, Then I had to prepare for a trip from LAX to SMF for a same-day monitoring visit. On the way to the airport I dropped-off my expense reports and other regulatory documents via FedEX because the Sponsor would not allow home pick-up. Once arrived at SMF, I got a rental and went straight to my site and monitored from 11 AM until 7 PM. Then got dinner and checked into my hotel by 8:30 PM. Got unpacked, respond to tons of e-mails, started my 1st draft of the monitoring report and follow-up letter, reviewed additional data listings for another study because the Sponsor was in soft-lock phase and will submit the BLA soon. On top of everything else, I received a synopsis of a new Phase II study that will begin soon (I can read this on the plane next morning). That will make this my 4th protocol with this Sponsor. I am in bed by 12 AM and had to be up at 5 AM to catch another flight from SMF to IAH for an Investigator Meeting/Kick-Off Session for 3 days. While waiting at SMF, I am on the phone responding to questions from study coordinator(s) and follow-up with the Sponsors in-house project coordinators, and planning my travel arrangements (air, hotel, car rental) with the travel agency for my next monitoring visits for the next month . . .

Dear fellow CRAs, does all this sound familiar?
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 31, 2010, 07:34PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   I could not agree more. It's 10:30 pm and I just finished working for yet another "deadline", doing admin work. Why they would want to pay me $65/hour to do data entry is beyond me...What happened to a monitor actually monitoring and writing reports???
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 30, 2010, 06:47PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   I feel your pain, but I'm not NEARLY as sick of the road after five years as I was sick of the lab bench after just three. Three years of lab work was an absolute soul-suck.

I think in this economy, the lean aspects of all jobs and lack of perks mean there is no side with greener grass. Nurses and physicians are dealing with new challenges related to healthcare reform; academics are seeing their tenure possibilities dissolving; and education costs are putting parents & students alike in a lurch. I just take it one day at a time and try to be thankful I have any job.
good luck!
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 28, 2010, 02:21PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   You don't have to leave the field due to travel burn out. There are other options in clinical research.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 28, 2010, 07:47AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   So what if Nursing is not an allied health career. You are missing the point. Good luck to the poster. If you have found a career that gives you a better work life balance I am happy for you. As a CRA that is something you just do not have- no matter who you work for. I advise my SC's to think hard if they are thinking of pursuing a career as a CRA. But in this economy I am very thankful and blessed to still have a job.

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  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 28, 2010, 05:16AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Good for you! I feel your pain and appreciate your enthusiasm on "breaking free"! I totally agree with what you stated. I think CRA work is a great experience, and would be perfect for a single person with not many commitments. I'm planning on sticking it out another year or so, paying off some bills, then making a career change! Money is not everything. I think my quality of life would be a lot better if I got out of this industry. Not spending enough time with my family, living in constant stress and knowing every day I go to work is an "emergency" for a data deadline just wears me out. I may need to kick back and work at WalMart for a while! Lol
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 27, 2010, 06:53PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   Nursing isn't allied health.
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 27, 2010, 12:39PM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   We all have days like this :)
  Author: Anonymous Medzilla Reader Aug 27, 2010, 11:28AM
    Re: Getting out of Clinical Research!!!!!   Log In to Report Post
   You may call lab work desirable-- but to many CRAs like myself, we'd just call it boring.

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