Written by Michael Causey, this blog originally appeared on the Association of Clinical Research Professionals website.
Frustrated by chronic turnover and the uneven quality of available entry-level candidates, the folks at the University of Florida (UF) Health Cancer Center’s Clinical Research Office took matters into their own hands by launching what’s turned out to be a successful intern-to-hire program.
“We wanted to find people who were excited about the prospect of doing research, and not just looking for a job,” says Leslie Pettiford, R.N., MS, OCN, CCRC, assistant director for study coordination and data management at UF.
After setting up the program—complete with strong educational modules for important clinical trial topics, including informed consent, ethics, and good clinical practices—they issued their first call for interns in October 2018. After going through more than a dozen applications, they selected the first two interns who hit the ground running January 2019.
The program has been an almost immediate success, Pettiford says. In fact, the first two interns hired stayed on with full-time jobs after the program ended. The UF team has since brought on four more interns who are active in learning about clinical research as they contribute to projects at the facility.
The intern program is helping UF stand out as an employer of choice in the market. “Around the time of my graduation, I was still looking for a way to gain experience during my upcoming gap year before applying to medical school,” says former intern and now clinical research associate Justin Lorentzen, BHS. “I came across the internship application on the University of Florida’s ‘Careers at UF’ website and thought the description of the internship is exactly what I was looking for: exposure to clinical research, patient contact, and learning about a complex field of medicine such as oncology.”
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