Glasgow Memory Clinic Intern Programme 2022
This summer we launched our first ever Intern Programme, providing opportunities for new graduates to experience the research environment first-hand.
Sophie, a Neuroscience graduate has spent the past month with us and has documented some of her intern journey here…
“As a recent Neuroscience graduate, I was eager to gain experience in a Clinical Research environment, so when I saw the advert for Clinical Operations Intern at the Glasgow Memory Clinic it seemed like an opportunity I could not pass up. I was delighted when I found out that I had passed the application process and was very much looking forward to getting stuck into working with the great team at the GMC.
On arrival everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and I was shown round the lovely office and clinical spaces here. As part of my role, I was assisting and shadowing the Study Coordinator. This involved helping with the everyday tasks required for clinical research management as well as setting up a new study at the site. I was also given the responsibility of summarising serious adverse event reports for the Doctors, crosschecking database entries and was allowed to sit in on a strategy meeting. This experience allowed me to develop my admin skills, sharpen my attention to detail and also gave me an idea of the day-to-day workings of a Clinical Research Site. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to chat with the Study Coordinator and ask questions about careers in Clinical Research as well as talking through the challenges that face the search for effective Alzheimer’s treatment.
During my time at the Glasgow Memory Clinic, I obtained NIDA Good Clinical Practice certification as well as the IATA Dangerous Goods qualification. I was also given the opportunity to shadow some of the Doctors and Nurses during participant clinical assessments. It was very interesting to see the memory assessments of healthy and cognitively impaired participants as well as assist with an EEG and observe a lumbar puncture. Through this I have gained a fuller understanding of the screening process for memory trials as well as of the assessments utilised to test memory and cognition. I was also able to assist in the clinic lab where samples such as blood and CSF are processed and prepared for shipping to test sites.
I also spent some time working with the onsite Pharmacy team at the clinic where I gained an understanding of the variety of different study drugs currently being tested for Alzheimer’s as well as how they are stored and prepared. It was interesting to see the pharmaceutical point of view of clinical trials in terms of blinding protocols as well as specific drug administration and preparation protocols. I also spent time with the admin assistants and gained an understanding of electronic data capture as well as patient management and site file organisation.
Overall, my main takeaways and observations from my time at the Glasgow Memory Clinic are:
1. The importance of patient care and participant-centred clinical trials especially in relation to memory impairment.
2. The intricacies as well as the scale of clinical trial management.
3. That the reality of office life is not always glamorous and there is always more paperwork!
I was surprised and grateful for the flexibility in this role as I could request more patient-facing experience as well as vocalise anything that I wished to focus on during my internship. It is completely invaluable experience to have observed the workings of clinical trials from every angle at the world class Glasgow Memory Clinic. From participant assessments to data entry to drug infusion to sample processing through to study coordination and even accounts and business forecasting. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the GMC and am excited to utilise the knowledge and experience I have gained here as I move forward into my postgraduate career.Posted 28th July 2022