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I see quite a few posts from people who are having a particularly good day, usually accompanied by a soft focus photo, with the hashtag ilovemyjob, or something similar. My reaction is always “yes I love my job too!”
I’ve been in clinical research training for more years than I’m prepared to admit to publicly, and it’s a hard job to explain to people I meet, and nobody outside the clinical research world can ever quite remember what I do. I vividly recall trying to explain my job to a good friend who then said “That sounds really boring”. He’s a high school maths teacher, which sounds like my idea of hell, so I guess it takes all sorts to make a world!
So why do I love my job so much? Here are a few reasons:
- The people. I did a degree in pharmacology many years ago and spent my final year project mushing up rat kidneys in a walk in fridge. I loved learning about drugs and how they work, but I hated the lab and that’s when I decided to go into clinical research, so I could work with people rather than bits of dead animal. I know many people love lab work and we really need them, so I’m very glad they do. I loved being a CRA, but training clinical researchers is even better as I get to keep with the science but work even more with people, and a lot of different people at that. We work with people from all over the world, in every sphere of clinical research: industry, academia, health services and charities. They all want to make a difference to patients’ lives, and to do the best job they can in the place they’re working. It’s inspiring.
- I love GCP, which may sound like an odd thing to say, and I know a lot of people think it’s a boring necessity. But for me GCP is the essence of what we do in clinical research. It’s about protecting the subjects of our research and ensuring the quality of the data we generate, and everything we talk about in our training comes down to one or both of those principles. One of my favourite things in my job is when someone comes up to me at the end of a course, as they often do, and says (usually with a note of surprise in their voice) “Thank you, I really enjoyed that, it was very interesting”. When you really understand what GCP is about then it becomes a help rather a beaurocratic hindrance.
- I feel as though I’m making a difference.
There’s a story about some important person (I forget who) visiting the Kennedy Space centre in the run up to the moon landings. This VIP was having a tour of the facility and at one point was introduced to one of the janitors. He asked janitor “What do you do here?” to which the janitor replied “I’m helping to put a man on the moon”. My driving ambition is to help clinical researchers to conduct clinical trials in a more ethical, more efficient and more effective way. In doing that I’m helping to bring new, important treatments to the market, thus saving and improving countless lives.
Of course every job has some boring bits. Some of the legislation and guidance documents I’m forced to read and interpret test my patience and motivation to the limit, but the great bits of my job outweigh all of this, so on balance I wouldn’t want to do anything else.