Health professionals and researchers you may see

A whole team of people work in clinical trials, and some of their roles overlap. If you join a clinical trial, you may have contact with some of the following people:

Cancer specialist

  • may be a medical oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist or haematologist
  • supervise your treatment, follow-up and overall care
  • usually the coordinating or principal investigator

Investigator

  • also known as researchers
  • develops and plans studies, and obtains, analyses and publishes results
  • may have a background in medicine, science, psychology, allied health, consumer advocacy or complementary therapies
  • the principal investigator has overall responsibility for conducting the trial at their hospital, ensuring patients are safe and that the trial is properly run; is usually a doctor with expertise in the field of research
  • the coordinating principal investigator oversees research taking place at more than one study site, e.g. at two or more hospitals

Nurse

  • may be a clinical trials nurse or a clinical research nurse
  • coordinates recruitment by talking to potential participants, making sure they are eligible and explaining the purpose of the trial
  • arranges appointments for tests, treatments or to see the specialist
  • makes sure all paperwork is completed once you have agreed to join a trial
  • provides emotional support
  • acts as a link between the patient and the researchers or the health care team
  • may also be the main contact person
  • larger clinical trials or hospitals have a dedicated clinical trials nurse, but smaller ones might not

Study coordinator

  • may be called a clinical research coordinator or clinical trials coordinator
  • has a science degree or similar
  • ensures the trial meets ethical and legal requirements
  • applies for grants and manages budgets
  • reviews the study protocol and organises study records
  • may be combined with the nursing role

Other professionals

  • a pharmacist will provide advice about medicines and monitor their effect on patients; may conduct laboratory research
  • allied health practitioners and complementary therapists may give treatment or advice in studies investigating the use of non-medical treatments such as nutrition, massage, physiotherapy, counselling, or acupuncture

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on clinical trials and research.


    Understanding Clinical Trials and Research

  • 298 kB

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This information was last reviewed in July 2018
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