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Diary of an Intern – Nicole

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.
Nicole, a Pharmacology graduate spent August with us and shares some of her placement highlights here…


“After graduating in the summer with a BSc (Hons) degree in Pharmacology, I was keen to gain some experience in the clinical environment before continuing my academic career in September. I was very pleased to have been successful in my application to be a Clinical Operations Intern and was very excited to spend 4 weeks with the team at the Glasgow Memory Clinic.

Upon arriving, I was given a tour of the clinic and all the staff were so welcoming. My role here involved working with the Clinical Research Manager and helping with everyday tasks, including updating staff training records, documenting changes made to study protocols and trying to navigate the many study site files. This was very interesting as it gave me a better idea into life at a clinical trial site and allowed me to improve my technical skills whilst also having to pay close attention to detail to make sure everything was accurate. I also got to learn more about the studies and the process from site initiation to the first patient receiving the study medication, which was so useful to see how phase II and phase III clinical trials are conducting in a real word context. I really enjoyed my time with the Clinical Research Manager and being able to chat and ask questions about all the current and upcoming studies.

During my time at the clinic, I was also given the opportunity to shadow other members of the clinic team and learn more about what they do. I was allowed to sit in on some cognitive assessments (such as the ADAS Cog) and learned a bit more about how these assessments are scored and are used in terms of the study. I also got to spend some time in the clinic pharmacy, which was very interesting to see the difference between clinical and community pharmacy as I have a part-time job in my local pharmacy. The pharmacy tasks included preparing study medication for patients, learning about the blinded and unblinded tasks and learning more about the study medication itself (including its route of administration and how other medications may interact with the drug). This was very interesting as it put my knowledge of pharmacology to the test and allowed me to expand on my knowledge of the trials. On my last week at the clinic, I spent some time with the patient liaison team, who are the first contact for patients interested in taking part in a clinical trial and learned more about the process of booking appointments and the brief questionnaires about the patient’s details to determine if they are suitable for any of the current studies. I also got to learn a bit more about the admin side of the clinic and to see how the information from the patient study visits is used to update the electronic data capture systems.

I also gained some qualifications during my internship, including the IATA Dangerous Goods qualification and the NIDA Good Clinical Practice certificate, which were both useful training to obtain to learn the standard of work that is expected when involved in clinical research.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the clinic and have learned invaluable experience which will help me in both my academic and professional careers. All the team at the Glasgow Memory Clinic have offered me new information and made learning about the work of a clinical trial site both fun and insightful.


My key learnings over the four weeks are:

– The need for clear communication between all the departments of the clinic to ensure the safe and efficient running of the trials
– The importance of keeping all study documents (from consent forms to protocols) up to date and well organised
– And most importantly, that excellent patient care is always the focus during these trials, especially as most patients have a form of memory impairment

I can’t thank everyone at the clinic enough for making my internship enjoyable and an experience that I’ll always remember. I’ve enjoyed all aspects of clinic life and from experiencing all the different departments this has given me a better picture of what clinical research involves. I look forward to taking all that I’ve learned here forward into my career.

Posted 31st August 2022

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