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A Clinical Trial Assistant’s journey into ICON

Registered Dietitian Ana Hoffmann joined ICON after deciding to pursue a career in clinical research. Craving new opportunities and the ability to progress within an organisation, Ana joined us as a Clinical Trial Assistant. She spoke to us about her journey into ICON:

“When I decided to pursue a career in clinical research, some people thought I was crazy”

I had worked hard to earn my license as an RD, but I wanted new experiences and more opportunities to develop and progress my career. After speaking with a few family friends who worked for various CROs, I decided to make the change. After researching and applying for jobs, I gained an understanding of the types of roles I’d be suited for and learnt a ‘foot in the door’ would be the best way for me to gain industry experience and set me up for progression.

 “I liked the look of the company culture at ICON”

One of the things that first drew me to ICON was watching videos where team members spoke about their roles and why they loved working at ICON. Everyone seemed happy with not only their work, but also their colleagues and company policies. It was around that time that a position for Clinical Trial Assistant in the Durham, NC office became available. A family friend sent me the posting and I quickly sent my resume to the recruiter.

“The recruitment process was exciting and moved quickly”

My experience of the hiring process was that I felt welcomed and informed. While I was sad to be moving on from my time as an RD, I felt comforted by the fact that clinical research was a second career for my hiring manager too.

To many, the job roles of a CTA may seem somewhat boring. There is a lot of filing, detail-oriented tasks, meeting minute taking and so on. However, for me, a detail-oriented and organised person, I was excited. Knowing that I would be good at the job and that my success would lead to new opportunities made me feel comfortable and confident that the job was a good fit for me.

“My first day at ICON was filled with information”

I met my mentor on the first day of work at ICON, who helped me to settle in and meet co-workers. I went through HR procedures and learned about ICON’s mission, vision and policies. Over the next few days, I familiarised myself with the office, colleagues, managers and signed up to iLearn training, which filled by time with learning and training for the next week and a half. Some of the courses were introductory Clinical Research courses, describing guidelines and laws, while others focused on ICON policies and systems.

“After completing the introductory training, it was time to begin my job tasks”

I was introduced to my study teams two weeks after starting with ICON. Everyone was very understanding and encouraging of questions I had, and considerate in how they delegated tasks to me as I grew more confident in my role. As I learnt ‘on the job’, I found myself going back to iLearn and re-taking the courses as I now had a perspective of how I would be using the computer systems. I was also pleased to find that my clinical background made understanding the protocols and acronyms much easier. I was beginning to see first-hand how my education to become a dietitian would be equally as relevant in my new job. All in all, it was a good first month at ICON. 

“I feel welcomed and like I have a career plan”

Two months into my role at ICON, I meet weekly with my line manager to discuss my work, any concerns I may have and my long-term career goals. I have continued to learn a lot and have also grown confident in a number of my daily and weekly tasks. At this point, I would like to see myself progressing to a CRA and eventually a CTM; however, I continue to learn of new positions within ICON every day.

If you’re looking to enter the clinical research industry, or indeed are looking for your next opportunity in the market, we have a range of job opportunities that could be perfect for you. Take a look at our latest vacancies here.
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