Atlantia Clinical Trials is 10 years in business this year. We wouldn’t have achieved this milestone without our team. Our employees’ commitment to the delivery of high-quality studies is what supports the sponsors and ensures the integrity of the data and the results of the trial. Do you want to learn about clinical research job functions? Some team members have joined us on this occasion to give us their perspectives and describe their experiences of working in clinical trials in Atlantia.
Keep reading to hear from Andrea, Saoirse, Aoife, Shane, Onthatile, Lauren, Mary, and Shauni what working in clinical trials looks like.
Clinical trials jobs
Atlantia is a vibrant, dynamic company with an ambitious, highly skilled and educated workforce. Our team includes operations staff such as Clinical Trials Assistants, Clinical Research Associates, Clinical Research Coordinators, Project Managers and Operations Managers. We also have a team in Science, Data Management, Biostatistics, Laboratory, Quality, Participant Recruitment and Sales & Marketing. Not to mention our essential Medical Doctors and Nurses! Our employees really are the cornerstone of our success, and we place huge value on their contribution to our business – highlighted Mary Wall, Atlantia’s HR Business Partner.
Roles are very varied and carry multiple functions from the beginning to end of a trial. Check our available opportunities in our careers page. For example, QA Coordinators are responsible for maintaining Atlantia’s Quality Management System (QMS) by ensuring Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and Work Instructions (WI’s) are developed, reviewed by subject matter experts and that the information is communicated with relevant staff via training sessions – as explained by Atlantia’s Quality Assurance Coordinator, Saoirse Creedon.
Project Management is key to the smooth running of a trial. Atlantia’s Senior Project Manager, Aoife Lonergan, explains how Project Managers work closely with study sponsors and other departments on the operational aspects of study start up, conduct and close out to ensure studies are run successfully, on time and on budget.
Clinical Research Coordinators’ responsibilities include managing day to day activities on studies, training, and overseeing the trial team and updating clients on the progress of the studies. Atlantia’s Clinical Research Coordinator, Shane O’Connell, describes his role as “really engaging and dynamic. I enjoy the work immensely. I take great satisfaction in what I bring to the role and enjoy problem solving and resource planning to ensure all our work is completed on time and to an excellent standard”.
Medical and clinical aspects relating to patient safety throughout clinical trial participation are overseen by a Research Physician. Atlantia’s Medical Study Manager, Onthatile Serehete shared her typical day:
“A typical day would include being an investigator delegated to the studies and performing physical assessments, reviewing blood results and eligibility criteria to ensure that each participant is safe to enroll in our trials”.
She is also involved in study start up and close out activities which include liaising with the science team when drafting protocols by reviewing the inclusion and exclusion criteria and at close out she performs safety data reviews to make sure clinical data is represented correctly. She is also a member of the Blinded Data Review team.
The overall monitoring of the trial is carried out by the Clinical Research Associate. CRA’s ensure that trials are conducted in compliance with the approved protocol, SOPs and WIs and in line with Good Clinical Practice. Atlantia’s Clinical Research Associate, Lauren Buckley explains that her key focus is participant safety and data integrity. This requires monitoring of informed consent forms, correct randomization of participants and monitoring of the primary endpoint of the trial. In addition, she develops monitoring plans during trial set up.
Clinical trials career progression
Atlantia supports the development of undergraduate research skills, hiring Interns from universities each year for placement and supporting them through their undergraduate research in their final year. This fosters their interest in clinical research and prepares them for a career in the industry. Atlantia’s CEO, Andrea Doolan, says: I feel if they're ambitious, motivated and enjoy what they do, there really is opportunity across all different departments. It doesn't necessarily mean that our employees have to stay within their starting roles.
For example, Saoirse began her Atlantia journey as an Intern, then a Clinical Trials Assistant. She then moved into the Data Management department, then joined the Quality team and now works as a Project Manager. Aoife joined the company as a Clinical Trials Assistant. She worked in the Cork office and then moved to our Chicago office where she worked as a Clinical Trials Assistant for a year.
“Atlantia is a great place to grow your career, evidenced by the fact that when I returned from Chicago I was promoted to Project Manager”.
Lauren also followed a parallel path. She joined the team as an Intern, then after college she continued as a Clinical Trials Assistant. After 18 months she progressed to a Clinical Research Coordinator role. “A few months later the role for Clinical Research Associate was offered and I have spent the last year in this role” Lauren explained.
Andrea explains: “I'm very much of the mindset of empowering the team, to give them the opportunity to develop and grow their careers. Once someone starts working with Atlantia, the world really is their oyster”.
Our Philosophy and Culture
Mary Wall says that Atlantia hire employees into their multi-disciplinary team from a range of backgrounds including nutrition, research, science, medicine, and marketing. “We are very proud of our diverse and inclusive company culture, with a large variety of nationalities represented amongst our staff. We want all employees to feel well and happy at work, and we place a lot of emphasis on this. We offer a range of resources to promote our employee wellness philosophy. We also have a very active and popular Sports & Social Club, with a variety of events and social occasions throughout the year”.
A recent employee engagement survey showed that Atlantia employees are very proud to work for Atlantia. They value the sense of camaraderie, mentoring, continuous learning, equal opportunities, and leadership. “What’s great about Atlantia is that management encourages people to find what they are interested in and will always do their best to find a role within the company that suits their interests. I have been given so many great opportunities and I really value the dedication Atlantia has to encouraging and mentoring their staff” Saoirse added.
Atlantia provide ongoing learning and development opportunities and supports to our employees, to help them to advance their careers in their area of expertise and interest. “Atlantia has allowed me to complete courses and training in order to develop my career. I recently completed and passed my CRA exam with the ACRP and I am now a Certified Clinical Research Associate” says Lauren. Onthatile explained how she has gained a lot in terms of both soft skills and technical skills like protocol drafting and review, document creation, sponsor communication, collaboration and MS Excel skills (which have since tripled). There is always an opportunity to grow and learn in Atlantia.
Saoirse emphasised that everyone in Atlantia is really helpful, friendly and open to input and suggestions from other team members regarding their projects, which really encourages teamwork and learning about all aspects of the company. “We’re so lucky in Atlantia that we have such a great team of people on board that make coming to work every day so easy and so enjoyable!”– Aoife added. Working at Atlantia really is a team effort! As described by Shane, “Atlantia goes from strength to strength In the relatively short time I’ve been with the company, I have seen processes and strategies implemented that improve the efficiency and quality of the trials, with all teams working towards the same goal, and it’s great to see the results of that work come to fruition. Andrea summarises, “it's important to mention as well that we're only as good as the people around us. So, by building a stronger team who bring additional skills to what you have is key to the success of Atlantia”.
Our goal with this article is to allow the general public to enter into the clinical trials job functions for one day. We thank our team to have shared their career path at Atlantia as well as the aspects they value the most, such as mentoring, teamwork, continuous learning, equal opportunities, leadership and the wellbeing and the social aspect.
Atlantia Clinical Trials is 10 years in business this year and with that we are focused on commemorating our achievements and milestones to date, our current capabilities & the future of Atlantia.
We will be producing Atlantia community centric content over the coming weeks in the form of videos and articles. Last week we had a dive into Atlantia’s story. Next week we will focus on Technology and Innovation. Stay tuned!