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Jasmine Mikovic, Study Coordinator Intern during COVID-19

During 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.

After a period of adaptation, the SKILLED clinical trials internship program continued during the year, resulting in participants securing ongoing roles in clinical trials units.  

Jasmine Mikovic (pictured above, back row, far right) has been enjoying life in regional Victoria during 2020 and is in the final weeks of the SKILLED program. On completion, she will be continuing in her role as a study coordinator with the Ballarat Health Services clinical trials team.

Before the internship, Jasmine had no practical experience or exposure to clinical trials. “My background is in nutrition and skeletal muscle physiology and researching preclinical models. The internship has opened my eyes to the intricacies of coordinating and conducting a clinical trial. I have gained a thorough understanding of the role of ethics and governance, the regulatory environment and safety reporting in clinical trials, and my responsibility as a study coordinator.”

The SKILLED internship gave Jasmine access to content and training not typical of study coordinator roles such as understanding the emotional response to cancer; plain language workshops; ECG training; managing protocols; eviQ courses, and VCCC webinars and events.

“All the extra training gave me the confidence to perform tasks independently, and know that I was completing the job well. This access to educational resources ensured that I was continually upskilling at an advanced rate, making me competitive for jobs by the end of the internship. I have a much better appreciation of, and competency in managing essential documents, appropriately recording and storing source information, protecting patient privacy and dignity, and conducting research with integrity.

Great time to be in a regional placement

“My placement at Ballarat Health Services (BHS) has resulted in long-lasting friendships and alliances with people from multidisciplinary backgrounds. I have been welcomed with open arms at my site and gained practical skills in line with the clinical trials competency framework.”

Improving clinical trial awareness in the hospital and the broader community is an important aspect of expanding clinical trials in Victoria.

“As part of the internship, I was able to undertake a needs analysis and identify opportunities for improvement. I got to develop a clinical trials newsletter and redesigned website content. In my continuing role, I will be conducting clinical trials, and leading projects focused on improving our exposure, expanding trials, and enhancing trial recruitment.

We asked Jasmine what she would say to someone considering applying for an internship.

“I encourage anyone considering applying for an internship to go ahead and apply. It is a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into the industry, gain exclusive access to training resources, and develop highly sought after job skills. These experiences and skillset can be used to transition into the job or be transferred elsewhere. This program was an opportunity for me to consider a new career path in clinical research, gain valuable industry experience, and develop skills that are highly desirable in a variety of industries.

“I encourage anyone considering applying for an internship to go ahead and apply."

Acknowledgement

The SKILLED Clinical Trials Internships program is part of the MTPConnect Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative funded through the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund. 

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