The transition from CRA to CRA II is a difficult but rewarding one. Radmila Krizova provides advice and a glimpse of what its like to be in this role.
Clinical Research Associate II
A Clinical Research Associate (CRA) is responsible for overseeing a trial and ensuring compliance. CRAs can work in a number of settings, including pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and clinical research organisations (CROs) like ICON, helping to identify, initiate and close-down clinical studies for both existing and new drugs.
A Frost & Sullivan report forecasts that the global CRO market will hit a value of $71.7 billion by 2024, attributing most of this growth to the rising demand for novel therapies developed for precision medicine needs. With the CRO market going from strength to strength, job opportunities are plentiful. We spoke to Radmila Krizova, CRA II in the ICON Strategic Solutions team, to get her insight into building a successful career in this industry and how to progress from a CRA to a CRA II.
1 When did you join the Strategic Solutions team at ICON?
I joined the Strategic Solutions team in December 2019. After changing my working status in LinkedIn to 'open to new opportunities', I was contacted by a recruitment consultant at ICON. I had a job interview with my potential line manager and decided that the Strategic Solutions team was the place for me.
2 Why did you join the Strategic Solutions team at ICON?
Before joining ICON, I worked at a medium-sized CRO where I was responsible for the complete conduction of the clinical trial, from beginning to end. This included feasibility activities, startup activities - including IRB/IEC submissions - negotiation of contracts, site initiation, monitoring and close-out. I realised that I wanted to focus on a certain part of the complete chain - on effective working relations with study sites from site initiation, through monitoring and close-out. I decided to join the Strategic Solutions team because the role I was offered gave me the chance to focus entirely on this part of the chain.
3 What was the biggest challenge when progressing from a CRA to CRA II
As a CRA, I was guided and supervised by a more senior CRA. At each initiation visit and some monitoring visits, I was accompanied by a colleague who was more experienced and I came to rely on their help and advice. The biggest challenge when I progressed from CRA to CRA II was learning to work independently and rely on my experience, my skills and my judgement.
4 What skills do you need to be a successful CRA II?
As a CRA II, I need to have strong interpersonal skills since I am in daily contact with site staff, representatives of sponsors, and vendors whose services are used for study conduction. I act as a link among the different parties, so I need to listen and reproduce the requirements. I also need to work well within the Strategic Solutions team since the sharing of information and observations can help my other team members to develop.
From experience, I’d say a CRA II also needs to have exceptional attention to detail. This ability is essential for the proper conduction of the study and obtaining reliable data.
5 What advice would you give to someone who wants to make this career move?
Becoming a successful CRA II requires a high level of knowledge and a lot of experience. To gain this, you need to remain patient and be open to accepting advice from people who have been in the industry for longer. Lastly, remember that everyone makes mistakes. The point is to learn from these mistakes and use them to improve.
6 What do you enjoy most about being a CRA II in the Strategic Solutions team?
What I enjoy most about being a CRA II in the Strategic Solutions team at ICON is that the Strategic Solutions team is a real “dream team” for me. Firstly, our team has a leader who values every person. Not only are they interested in each individual team member, but they also communicate well and solve problems when they occur. Our leader serves to motivate, challenge and draw out the best in us. Secondly, we are a team that holds each other accountable, and this drives us towards continued success and improvement. As a team, we are well connected and ready to support each other when they need it.
Are you ready to take your CRA career to the next level?
CRAs are naturally inquisitive and always looking for the next challenge. If you're ready to take your CRA career to the next level, then look no further than the Strategic Solutions team. At ICON, you will have the opportunity to build your career with the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, working on novel therapies that deliver real impact. Browse our CRA jobs and join our growing network of bright and talented professionals.
Or reach out and have the conversation that would change your life and the lives of our patients. Contact us, and our team of recruitment experts will provide the information you need.
To find out more about working in ICON Strategic Solutions, view our employee stories.