The term clinician to most pharmacy-trained and pharmacy-inclined individuals usually refers to someone who is a health professional that works in a hospital setting to diagnose, treat, and care for their patients in a clinical setting. During pharmacy school, many of you endeavored to become clinical pharmacists: those that optimize medication therapy management, disease prevention, and promote the best health outcomes. I, too, strived to become a clinical pharmacist. And in my current role as a clinician in the pharmaceutical setting, while it may vary in a day-to-day variety versus the clinical pharmacist role in a hospital setting, I’m able to accomplish my early career dreams of having an impact on patient care clinically.
The overarching goal of the clinical research and development scientist in the pharma setting is to provide global care for patients’ disease states. We accomplish this by ensuring that the clinical trials for the future approved medications are robust, safe, and efficacious.
A day in the life in the clinical research and development department at any pharmaceutical industry company looks similarly to the following roles and responsibilities:
Coffee first, then a busy day
Many times, I am faced with the question of, “What is your day-to-day like?” The best part about my role is that not one day looks the same! It is not the answer that most people are hoping for, but to give you a better understanding of what the roles and responsibilities look like, I will give you an example of what my day looked like today (on a particular Tuesday in mid-February 2018).
Feel at home
While those descriptions and activities above are mostly applicable to most clinical scientist roles in the pharmaceutical industry, one of the reasons why I love this career so much is the variability and ownership of the clinical science that I am involved in. Not only do I have the ability to lead and own the particular study, and eventually transition into owning a strategy pathway for a drug, I am also afforded the opportunity to interact with and learn from some of industry’s brightest and best leaders, strategists, and colleagues. Everyone makes you feel like you are at home and an integral part of the pharmaceutical family.
There are multiple ways for a pharmacist to continue to be involved and tap into their clinical side post-graduation. Becoming a clinical scientist in the pharmaceutical industry is one great transitional career path for those that are seeking a more global and unique opportunity to impact patient care!