A day in the life: Clinical trials nursing

Beth L. Postier, R.N., explains how research nurses support the nearly 13,000 clinical trials conducted at Mayo Clinic every year. Clinical research nurses work as advocates to ensure patient safety, create flowsheets to enact study protocols, and help researchers and participants through every step of their clinical trials.

About CRTU Staff

Patient safety is the primary concern of all Clinical Research and Trials Unit (CRTU) staff members. Clinical emergency response teams provide emergency medical coverage for the unit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Additionally, nursing staff members in the CRTU are responsible for the quality of patient care and clinical research conducted within the unit. All nurses undergo annual Mayo Clinic Department of Nursing competency and CRTU-specific competency evaluations. Due to the great diversity in research participants that come through the unit, the CRTU maintains a comprehensive, ongoing training program geared toward the unique demands of research.

Each protocol conducted in the unit is assigned a CRTU registered nurse (RN) coordinator to help facilitate protocol implementation and act as a resource for the investigator, study team and CRTU staff.

In addition to nurses, many other staff members play important roles in the research process:

  • Research support technicians assist with venous access, sample processing, ECGs and patient care activities.
  • Specially trained CRTU staff provide technical support for indirect calorimetry and body composition measurements.
  • Unit secretaries provide desk reception and participant flow management.
  • Schedulers work with study teams to schedule participants.