The knowledge and skills of clinical trials nurses in Australia
The importance of clinical trials in the development of new approaches to treatment is widely recognised. In recent years, peak bodies within Australia have increased funding for infrastructure support, including additional Clinical Research Nurse (CRN) positions. Surprisingly little is known about this rapidly growing workforce, their knowledge and skills requirements and potential career pathways.
As background to the development of a new postgraduate course in clinical trials at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney (Master of Clinical Trials Practice from 2010), the perspectives of CRNs were identified as integral to the development of the new curriculum.
A pilot survey of cancer CRNs was conducted across the state of New South Wales on knowledge, skills and training in clinical trials. 41 cancer CRNs completed the pilot survey. Survey results highlighted variation in the knowledge and skills of the respondents. Areas were identified where CRNs felt knowledgeable and skilled like informed consent, patient recruitment. Areas were identified where CRNs felt less confident in their knowledge and skills e.g. Case Report Form (CRF) design and statistical considerations. Information generated from this survey has contributed to the development of the new curriculum.
The study is being extended nationally to CRNs also working in other disease disciplines and the implications for career path development for clinical trials nurses explored.
Dr Kathleen Scott, Professor Kate White, Catherine Johnson (Calvary Mater Hospital, Newcastle)
Dr Kathleen Scott, +61 2 9351 0582