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Guest Expert: Mary Fredericksen, CCRP: No Tricks, Just a Halloween Treat!

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2012

Please welcome Mary Fredericksen, CCRP, Study Coordinator, Mayo Clinic as our October, 2012, AccrualNet Guest Expert. Mary offers a unique and compelling perspective on Communities of Practice (CoP’s) as she has participated in two this past year: one for a specific prevention trial and one to help in the redesign of AccrualNet. Her story of switching careers into the research arena may sound familiar to lots of people. You might also have seen some of the positive changes that Mary describes. Most importantly, Mary’s message about engaging in a community as beneficial to practice is really a grass roots call to action. Is it time for you to start a community? We are here to help you. 

Now, enjoy Mary’s post – it’s the perfect Halloween treat!

Cathy Muha, RN, MS, AccrualNet Team Member

From Mary:

"After working in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for 16 years, I decided to change my career path and explore research. In 2001, I accepted a job as a research study coordinator. I had no prior experience to research studies, databases, recruitment, accrual, retention; it was like a foreign language. Training consisted of my Principal Investigator handing me a protocol and telling me to learn the ins-and-outs. I was then told to figure out the logistics so we could “Get ‘ER Done”. I was lucky to work along side another woman who had worked as a study coordinator for a little over a year. PI’s were often somewhat clueless as to what it takes to get a study up and running and then take it all the way to closure.  My institution did not offer much for training or guidance.  Most people just dove in and we learned from trial and error.

Eleven years later, we have seen a great deal of change in our research community. Institutions are offering more training.  More and more research staff are getting their certification in organizations like SoCra. We have better guidelines, resources and training.

Across the research community, some of the things we continue to struggle with are recruitment, meeting accrual targets, retention of participants, and recruiting from diverse populations. AccrualNet has been a wonderful resource for me and my coworkers. I participated in a Community of Practice (CoP). We formed a community with sites across America and Canada that were participating in a cancer prevention trial.  It allowed us to get to know each other on a more personal level. We could ask questions regarding the study and others could reply with things that worked at their site. It pulled us together as a team instead of one site vs. another. I have used the education portion of AccrualNet to refresh myself and to learn new things. I have also referred the site to new research staff. The site offers insight into all aspects of setting up a protocol. It really helped me put additional time and thought into accrual targets. So often, we have failed because we were not able to reach our accrual goals. We did not take all the inclusion and exclusion criteria into consideration. We would just look at the study population; we might have 100 people who come to our clinic that have a diagnosis of a certain disease but after going through all the criteria, only 2 of them are able to go on the study. AccrualNet offers a large variety of literature right at your finger tips to help with just this and many more sorts of accrual challenges.

We no longer have to stand alone on an island, fumbling along. AccrualNet brings us together, allowing for networking, learning and also gives us the opportunity to share what we have learned with our fellow researchers.   I welcome your comments and invite you to share what you’ve learned – it would be great to hear from you!"

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.  ~ Henry Ford

Mary Fredericksen

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