Former nurse finds new calling in clinical research ::

Former nurse finds new calling in clinical research ::

This article was written for our sponsor, NCBiotech.

According to a recent Indeed survey, 49 percent of people say they’ve made a career change. The average age for this switch comes at age 39, but on the heels of the pandemic, more people are rethinking their career path sooner rather than later.

For those in North Carolina, opportunities in the quickly growing life sciences industry are ripe for the picking.

Sherry Huber had over 20 years in the nursing field before deciding she was ready to make a change. Now, she serves as a clinical research nurse coordinator at Duke.

“I met some people here in the Triangle that did research, and I thought that sounded really interesting. I wondered if I could do it, or if I was too old to learn a totally new field of nursing. I enjoy learning new things, and thought it would be rewarding to be on the cutting edge of new technologies or therapies or drugs coming to market. So I did the research to find out if I could,” said Huber. “The people I work with now are anywhere from right out of college to people who are at the age of retirement or past retirement, but love it so much that they keep doing it.

“I thought it sounded too technical and challenging, but once I got into it, I found that there was plenty of support and places to get your answers and ask questions,” she finished.

. In North Carolina, programs like the clinical research certificate and Associate at Durham Tech and or Masters programs at UNC Wilmington and Campbell help prepare people for a life sciences career.

Since Huber pivoted her career during the pandemic, trainings that would normally be in person were online, including the Engagement, Recruitment and Retention Certificate Program she has taken through her employer. Still, she felt that they left her more than prepared for her new career.

“They’re very thorough,” said Huber. “Then once I got on the job, I worked with people who were experienced, and they helped me along the way.”

Now that she’s been on the job for awhile, one of Huber’s highlights is connecting with and helping patients who are in desperate need of new treatments and therapies. Since many patients come in repeatedly to undergo treatment, nurses are able to get to know the study participants.

Additionally, since new therapies and treatments are always in the works, Huber’s work schedule is always full of variability.

“I work for the Vaccine Institute, and we are still doing COVID vaccines. Right now, we’re working on those with kids through a blinded and unblinded group, drawing their blood and finding out if they’re eligible to get the study drug, then assigning them either an active drug or placebo through our computer database. Then we send the information to our investigational drug services and pharmacists, who make them up and send them to us,” said Huber. “Tomorrow’s a little bit different with a pivot to dermatology. We’re starting a new study for a rare disease and it’s interesting because I only speak English and our participant speaks Spanish. So we have a translator come in to help me review consent with this participant and go through all the screening process.”

“It’s nice to have that variety,” she finished.

As the field continues to grow, there are plenty of opportunities for career seekers of all ages and experience levels. Huber emphasized that even those who may not imagine themselves in the field could be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities available.

“I love it. I had no idea what this job was going to be like, but I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. For people who are considering it, I would say the most important thing is to do your own research. Look at some YouTube videos, and find out what a clinical research coordinator does or a clinical research associate and so on,” said Huber. “You can also talk to people, especially in this area. There are so many people in the research community who have been doing this work for six months or 20 years.”

This article was written for our sponsor, NCBiotech.

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Kassie Hoffman
Kassie pens down all the news from the world of politics on ANH.