May 11, 2001

School of Nursing offering clinical research training

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Dr. Denis O'Day

School of Nursing offering clinical research training

The need for more trained clinical research professionals has prompted the School of Nursing to create a four-course seminar directed at the fundamentals of the clinical research process.

The Clinical Research Professional Development Series, offered twice a year, will assist nurses and other health care professionals in establishing or furthering their careers in clinical trial management as research coordinators, consultants, managers or educators.

“There are no formal programs at Vanderbilt or anywhere to train research professionals,” said Debra Wujcik, RN, MSN, AOCN, director of Clinical Trials Training and Outreach at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and project coordinator for the Clinical Investigations Program at Meharry Medical College.

“There are review courses that help prepare people for certification exams, but there is nothing available to help train and update research professionals,” said Wujcik, one of the instructors for the series. “The regulations and requirements are changing so fast and extensively; it is unsafe to learn on the job. Through our courses, we will introduce the right way to do clinical research.”

The courses are available for Continuing Education Units, as a Post Master’s Certificate Program or as an Elective Concentration in the Health Systems Management MSN Program. In addition, applicants may also enroll on a course-by-course basis.

Each seminar is offered in a concentrated format – a four-day/24 hour course, offering two graduate credits hours. An optional course, a 70-210 hour supervised practicum, is also available.

The first seminar, “Concepts of Clinical Research,” was held in February, followed by “Concepts of Epidemiology and Data Management” in April.

Upcoming seminars include “Concepts of Project Management,” May 26-29, and “Intensive Clinical Research Practicum” – arranged.

“This is definitely a new career path for the master’s-prepared nurse,” Wujcik said. “It opens up pathways for specializations. Advanced practice nurses have the clinical, management, organizational and communication skills which are key qualities that clinicians and research facilities are looking for.

“The increased need for well-trained research staff also comes from the fact that patients are so much more educated about clinical research. They are asking to be included in clinical trials, which creates a greater need for professionals to manage the increased patient population, data and outcomes.”

For more information about the new seminar contact Wujcik at

To register for any of the courses, contact Karen Stevens, director of marketing and student recruitment and director of the Center for Career Planning and Placement by calling 322-3800.