The following tips are provided by our friend and colleague, Elizabeth Weeks-Rowe. Elizabeth is a published author, featured speaker and Clinical Research Trainer. This is phenomenal advice for all CRAs, but a must read for all of you Aspiring and New CRAs out there!

New CRAs: What Your First On-Site Monitoring Visit Says About You

The first on-site monitoring visit for a new CRA signifies the trust placed in the CRA by their organization; trust in their judgment, proficiency, and critical thinking skills!

The following are tips to facilitate an effective preparation process for your first on-site monitoring visit.

When scheduling the first monitoring visit, call the site to introduce yourself. Employ positive reinforcement. Let them know how pleased you are to be collaborating with them. Follow up with an email confirming the visit date, start time and what data you will need available (source, regulatory, IP) for the visit. Waiting until the last minute to schedule the visit and relying solely on the confirmation letter does not lend a personal touch nor display the courtesy that is so integral to building the site/CRA partnership.

Check your tools before the visit-whether paper notebook (GASP!), word document, spreadsheet, or One Note. I have seen excellent monitors that use only paper most effectively. I have also witnessed CRAs who were tech wizards for the sophistication of their tools. What matters most is what works for you and that it is organized.

Make sure you have collated site information in a central location: the site address supplied by the study coordinator, directions to the site if navigation fails, site personnel contact information-cell phones, your hotel address, your flight itinerary, etc. The apps and websites are critical, but a paper back up is your fail safe.

Unless local, arrive the night before the visit. Flying on the morning of the visit is unpredictable. I have had the misfortune of flying in the morning of a visit, and the flight is delayed, or canceled, leaving everyone inconvenienced and affecting deadlines.

If possible, drive to the site the night before the visit to confirm location, parking coordination, etc. This will ensure a smooth arrival.

Bring water/snacks to keep yourself hydrated/nourished.

Arrive early for the visit. Even if you must wait a little, this demonstrates punctuality, respect for others time, builds confidence and sets an appropriate tone for the ensuing relationship development.

Bring the study FAQ. No one expects you to have all the answers, but being able to answer site questions on the spot will lend credibility and build trust.

Make sure all access to site systems is confirmed before the visit (e source, e regulatory, and other electronic drug accountability systems). 

Going to be speaking while On-site?

Check out one of our very popular Podcasts titled “Overcoming the fear of Public Speaking” where Elizabeth and our Head of Recruiting, Angela Roberts, provide CRAs advice on how to become competent public speakers.  

Want to know why learning how to be an effective public speaker is critical when it comes to progressing your CRA career path? Check out this article by Elizabeth too.  

Still have questions? Contact us – we will do what we can to help.