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Compliance In Focus
Posted by John Lehmann on Thu, Jun 28, 2012

CRA Retention: Four Tips to Consider

Retain CRAsAs questioned in this issue of the Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices - why does the clinical research industry have such a high turnover rate for clinical research personnel?

This question could be asked of two sets of research personnel- the clinical research associates (a.k.a. monitors) from the Sponsor or CRO, and the research coordinators at investigational sites.

From the monitors’ perspective, an article published on ClinPage focuses on what a Sponsor or CRO can do to maintain their CRAs.  From the article, the following tips are suggested:

  1. Be upfront about the amount of travel required of the CRA for that particular study or site.  This travel requirement, of course, will vary between Sponsors and CROs, clinical projects, specific sites, etc.
  2. Allow the CRA to have influence over which therapeutic area he or she is working in.  This was noted to be a critical aspect in CRA retention.
  3. Assign workloads that are not excessive.
  4. Provide CRAs with proper equipment and current technology to effectively perform their jobs.

As monitors, we hear about CRAs who consistently travel every week from Monday through Friday, causing a rapid “burn out” and we hear about those who are “merged” into a new and unfamiliar therapeutic area without regard for the CRA’s expertise, etc.  A quick Google search for “clinical research associate turnover” brings up a host of blogs and comments on the subject, and why CRA turnover typically occurs within a few years of monitoring.

From the site’s perspective, having several monitors throughout the course of a research study can be both frustrating (having to re-explain site policies repeatedly to new CRAs) and confusing for them (which monitor do I have for that study now?).  Research coordinators have mentioned to me that it would be much easier if they had one monitor for an entire study; or, if a Sponsor has multiple studies at that institution, that they would have the same monitor for all of those studies, instead of three or four different monitors.

Have you been in the shoes of a “burned out” monitor, or on the side of a frustrated research coordinator?  Do you have any suggestions to improve CRA retention?

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds

Topics: CRA Retention, Clinical Research, Clinical Monitoring


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