Clinical research “used to be a lot less complex than it is today…[but] it’s no longer an industry that you can dabble in,” says Jeff Kingsley, DO, CPI, MBA, MS, FAAFP, CEO of SERRG.
Presenting alongside Terri Hinkley, RN, BScN, MBA, CCRC, deputy executive director of ACRP, about “An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Next Steps in the Professionalization of Clinical Research” at the ACRP 2016 Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, Ga., Kingsley told session attendees that they are in the midst of an historic transition in terms of clinical research eventually becoming universally recognized as a profession.
Because of this ongoing transition, “We have to think differently about how we are preparing the future workforce” to conduct clinical trials, Hinkley adds.
Kingsley and Hinkley described five “action items” that clinical research coordinators (CRCs), clinical research associates, principal investigators, and regulatory administrators can pursue right now to accelerate professionalization in the field:
- Demand credentials and/or certification in your existing workplaces
- Change research-related job titles to reflect levels of professionalization (i.e., reserve the CRC title for coordinators who are certified)
- Create apprenticeship programs so that new entrants into research are not given full research titles until they have graduated from the program
- Pursue regulatory and/or compliance approval of research roles in your institutions through their credentialing bodies
- Write continuing education mandates into your human resource policies specific to each job description to elevate the status and the demands of each job title
Thirty or 40 years from now, Kingsley says, it will be as clear that taking such steps led to professionalization in clinical research as it is today what the historic steps were that led to, for example, nursing being considered a true profession.