Team Science Competencies are Vital for Clinical Research Professionals

Jessica Fritter, MACPR, ACRP-CP, Associated Faculty, Clinical Instructor of Practice, The Ohio State University

A leveled approach to support staff satisfaction and effectiveness.

The complex and varied tasks involved in running clinical trials require clinical research professionals to work successfully across disciplines, departments, and systems. Fully mastering the skills needed to support these collaborations can support professional development and help reduce high burnout rates.

“In reality, clinical research professionals navigate their roles within a matrix of multiple complex departments and relationships as they collaborate across research sites to accomplish research tasks,” says Carolynn Jones, DNP, MSPH, RN, FAAN, a Clinical Professor at The Ohio State University. “Think of interconnected triangles in 3D. Team science skillsets can help ensure that goals are effectively accomplished through these interactions for ethical, safe, quality clinical research practice.”

As Jones explains, clinical research professionals require a range of tangible skill sets – such as how to draft informed consent documents and complete the consenting process, and how to track the investigational product – and all these skills and activities require collaboration with networks of trial stakeholders, as well as study participants and their caregivers. Team science can enhance a clinical research professional’s ability to perform this essential role.

“However, team science competencies for clinical research professionals are poorly defined, with little published information,” states Jones. “The Joint Task Force Competency Domains for Clinical Research Professionals lack sufficient emphasis on team science, though it is briefly included in leadership and professionalism (#7), and communications and teamwork (#8).”

“In response, we set up a workgroup to define clinical research professional team science competencies, including skillsets for individuals and teams,” says Jessica Fritter, MACPR, ACRP-CP, an Associated Faculty in Clinical Instructor of Practice at The Ohio State University. “We based these on competencies defined by Lotrecchiano, et al. (2021), using the Delphi approach, a systematic process of forecasting using the collective opinion of the group. Our workgroup applied five individual and eight team competencies, developing four to six smart skills for each of those, and with corresponding leveled skillsets (fundamental, skilled, and advanced).”

Team Science Competencies for Clinical Research Professionals: A Leveled Approach

Join Jessica and Carolynn at ACRP 2023 [April 28 – May 1; Dallas, TX], where they’ll highlight team science competency building as an important element for staff satisfaction and effectiveness. View complete schedule.

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“This effort has been part of a larger project looking at team science across the clinical trial lifespan for investigators, other site staff, and trainees, and including individuals involved with community research,” notes Fritter. “The workgroup is excited to contribute a new team science competency building toolkit for further discussion and input. We are hoping that our completed work will provide a basis for future training for clinical research sites or groups doing research, helping secure the importance of team science as a way for clinical research professionals to work across disciplines and functions.”

“Mastering team science and effective teaming can support the clinical research professionals’ daily workstreams and help their professional development,” concludes Fritter. “This can effectively enhance staff satisfaction, development, and job effectiveness – in turn helping with both recruitment and retention.”

Author: Jill Dawson